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LA REPUBBLICA MARINARA

7 AGOSTO 1192

might interest you...

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Monte Ursino Castle, from a watchtower to a fortified building

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Dante's Way,

nature near the sea

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The Church of S. Paragorio, one of the main city landmarks

 

Noli is one of the most interesting medieval towns in the whole Liguria, from a historical and cultural point of view. This is partly due to today's urban planning, that is still very similar to the medieval one, but mainly to the importance of the historical and economic role played by the town in this side of the region during the Middle Ages. Despite the confirmation lack of ancient documents, the archaeological finds made recently give us the evidence of a first town settlement in the last period of the Roman Empire. During the early Middle Ages, Noli fell under the control of the neighbouring Marquis of Finale. Thanks to the abilities of its merchants and sailors, the town was able to organize an independent and efficient fleet, which made Noli one of the most important maritime centre of the region with Genoa, Savona and Albenga. Its role and an increasing economic strenght enabled Noli to take part in the First Crusade (1099); this brought to the town special benefits and privileges, ratified in several treaties (one, for example, with the King of Jerusalem). Due to this economic power, the 7th August 1192, during a ceremony in the Church of Saint Paragorio, Noli bought its freedom from the Marquis of Finale. This independence was further sealed in 1196 by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI, and Noli became a free municipality, with a government of consuls, elected among all town householders. The rules and laws included in the statue of the new Republic are among the oldest in the whole Liguria. The nearby existance of two such enemies as Savona and the Marquisate of Finale was the cause of economic problems, especially as far as the maritime trade was concerned. For this reason, Noli decided to sign a strong partnership of cooperation and protection with the very powerful Republic of Genoa, bitter enemy of Savona. During the war against the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, Noli fought on the Pope's side; subsequently, in 1239 Pope Gregory IX rewarded Noli for its help against the emperor by granting it its own bishop and diocese, that went on until 1820. As world trade changed over the centuries, Noli suffered from an economic crisis, mainly caused by its geographical position, that prevented a renewal of the city's sea trade. For this reason, over the years, the people of Noli became peaceful fishermen. In the following centuries, several wars with neighbour towns and attempted invasions from other lands (the Duchy of Milan, the Spanish Kingdom, barbarians, etc.), caused the beginning of a decline of the Republic. The final moment of the decline came in 1797, after the conquest of the town by the french army of Napoleon Bonaparte.