In order to defend themselves from the enemies and the incursions of the Barbary pirates, watchtowers and imposing castles were built which we can still admire on the coast and inland.
The Saracen tower of the east is now municipal property and cultural events and exhibitions are held there while the sixteenth-century west tower is incorporated into the Canevaro castle.
Torre del Borgo, originally born as a watchtower and defense, the Civic Tower, with an adjoining splendid “Genoese” garden, is a museum dedicated to the Slate Art Gallery, “Black Stone of Lavagna”.
The ceramic finds found at the Tower during the last restoration campaign and the Civic Archaeological Collection Alloisio are displayed on the top floor of the gallery.
Torre dei Doganieri (Customs Tower) is now home to exhibitions and an exhibition of art objects.
The ancient castle on the sea is undoubtedly the symbol of Rapallo and was declared a National Monument by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. It was built on the sea in the 16th century to defend the city from the Saracen raids and it is possible to visit its interior as it often hosts photographic, painting, numismatic, philatelic, model and mycological exhibitions and is home to the famous cartoonist exhibition that takes place every year in Rapallo.
Santa Margherita Ligure
The Castle was built in 1550 at the foot of the hill on which the famous Villa Durazzo-Centurione stands following a resolution by the Senate of the Republic of Genoa in defense of the frequent incursions of the Saracen Pirates and was repeatedly strengthened until the beginning of the 17th century . From the eighteenth century it lost importance due to the cessation of pirate invasions to the point of risking destruction in favor of other buildings. It was restored at the end of World War II and dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Great War.
Castel Dragone or Dragonara is an imposing 12th-century irregular structure built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea in defense of the country from the devastating Saracen and Turkish pirate raids. It is surmounted by a large, squat tower, equipped at the top with round guardhouses with a domed roof, equipped with slits. Over the centuries the castle was used as a prison and then as a warehouse for supplies.
In 1950 it was restored, two loggias and a room in the lower area were created.
The Castle was built between 1146 and 1147 to defend the fortified citadel of the seaside village of Clavari, today’s Chiavari and the surrounding valley. He was a witness and protagonist of wars and sieges: damaged several times during the violent struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, he was rebuilt several times and further fortified with a wall with seven gates and fourteen watchtowers. When its defensive aim was lost, it was partially demolished: today the tower upstream remains intact, a fortified parade ground on the opposite side and two cisterns that guaranteed a supply of water during the sieges, while only a few sections of the walls remain .
The Fieschi Castle is located in the northern part of the so-called “Borgo Rotondo”, was built by the feudal lords Fieschi in medieval times in defense of Varese Ligure. The structure consists mainly of the two towers built between 1435 and 1472. It is however privately owned for events and exhibitions.
Santo Stefano d’Aveto
The Castle stands in the main square of the village, surrounded by the highest peaks of the Ligurian Apennines. The imposing structure, in exposed local stone, has the shape of an irregular pentagon delimited at the corners by towers (the main four are protected at the base by wedge-shaped ramparts, while the fifth, smaller tower, was perhaps intended to function as sighting only), while a taller round tower stood inside the walls: today only the base remains. Inside the building, the various administrative and military activities of the feud were carried out in rooms obtained in the walls themselves (they included the lodgings of the Podestà and the guards, the chapel, the armory, the horsewoman, the mint, the prison with room torture, the court of justice, an oven), arranged on three floors whose access was guaranteed by colonnaded balconies (now collapsed and unrecognizable). A well located in the center of the courtyard, still visible, was used for water supplies. The entrance door, in a rather small proportion, is located about three meters high, and was accessible thanks to a sort of mobile wooden bridge, defended by a wooden guardhouse. Attacked and sacked in 1796-97, the castle was later used as a warehouse for agricultural material, and then abandoned.