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Riva Ligure


Town in the province of Imperia, on the coast of the Riviera Ligure di Ponente near Mount Grange. It is divided from the neighboring center of Santo Stefano al Mare by the river Santa Caterina. The local economy in the past was based on agriculture, shipbuilding and sea-related activities, whilst at present it is mainly to tourism.
After the discovery, west of the center, of Bronze Age finds, there is evidence that the territory, adjacent to today's Riva, was inhabited since ancient times and that only later, probably with the advent of the Romans, the inhabitants, moved from the hinterland to the coast. These important archaeological finds were accidentally discovered in the area called Costa Balenae, in the first half of 1800. The excavations have continued almost to the present day. The excavation have brought up the remains of buildings associated with Christian worship: a church and an octagonal shaped baptistery, tombs of the VI century and other Byzantine ones of the VII century.
The name Costa Balenae is often repeated in many itineraries of the Roman era, also due to the fact that a Roman settlement was built here. However it is still not clear why this village disappeared, probably destroyed by the Lombards in 643 when they took possession of the area. The cultural and economic development of the territory with the first crops restarts thanks to the Benedictine monks who settled in the nearby town of Santo Stefano al Mare. The important cultivation of vegetables, cereals and vineyards gave major difficulties to Santo Stefano and the Benedictines, that were often in conflict with the local lords who claimed the ownership. The presence of the monks was fundamental as the local historians narrate that an abbot drafted the first statute already in the XIII century. Around 1300, some new centers were built along the coast, including Riva. The territories of Valleregia became the property of the Doria and were transferred to the city of Genoa in the middle of the XIV century, then the lands became part of the Taggia Podesta, and the town was named Riva di Taggia. After the numerous raids of the pirates during the second half of the XVI century, in the XVIII Riva tried to proclaim itself independent, but only after the unification of Italy, the town obtained these rights.

Not to miss:
The Shrine of Nostra Signora del Buon Consiglio, appointed for the first time in an official document of 1205. Inside the building preserves a painting of the XVII century, depicting Saint Maurice of the artist Giovanni Battista Cambiaso.

The Oratory of St. John the Baptist, built in the XVII century and reported in official records. It was built near the Parish and features a single aisle. Inside it preserves a wooden crucifix of 1400 and fine murals.
The Church of San Maurizio, located in the main town centre, whose construction was decided in 1693 and funded in part by the inhabitants themselves. Inside there is a selection of sculptures of Anton Maria Maragliano and paintings of Aicardi.
The tower barbaresca, built in the XVI century, in cooperation with the inhabitants of Taggia, to defend the territory from frequent violent attacks by pirates.


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