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Porta di San Giovanni

The rectangular tower (13th century) around the town gate is 22 metres high and is built on strong pillars made in local stone, surmounted by gothic arches. An interesting peculiarity is that the tower leans by 80 centimetres towards the town centre. Under the arcade stands the original wooden door, one of the most important heritages visible in the historical centre. The tower is set in the previous city wall, at the end of which a stone arch connects to a small defensive tower: the Tower of Sant'Antonio.


The current Via Monastero (the first street out from the town wall) was a mule track, the ancient way of communication to the hinterland. For this reason we can still find the traces of two medieval religious buildings along this way:

  • the Church of San Giovanni (also known as the Knights of Malta's Church);

  • the Monastery of Santa Maria del Rio; you can still recognize the entrance gate and the ancient well in the courtyard.

The Church of San Giovanni

This small church was erected by the Knights of Malta in the 14th century as their spiritual seat. As revealed in the historical archives of Noli, it was enlarged in 1765; from the original building you can still observe the romanesque portal and some traces of the fourteenth-century wall. Nowadays the church is deconsecrated.

The Monastery of Santa Maria del Rio

This monastery had a notable importance during the most prosperous period of the Republic of Noli. From the 13th century to 1530 this building hosted a regular female monastic life; atr a later time the monastery moved on to the Olivetans monks of Finalpia who named it after San Benedetto. After the town was invaded by the French army, in 1764 the religious life of the monastery ended, due to the suppressions ordered by Napoleon.

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Monastero SM del Rio ENG
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