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A " very little" about Gavi and its history.           
Pag 1                              

 

These are a few informations  about Gavi, peeked up  from voluminous historical books, just to give a modest idea of Gavi's  geographic an historical setting. So these has not to be considered as an exhaustive text regarding the history of  Gavi on its whole.

Gavi is p
laced in the Lemme's valley, altitude mt. 233, the Castle or Fortress of Gavi mt 382 at its height. This gay and pleasant town is in sharp contrast to the dark fortress which dominates it, this imposing three-storied fortification crowns the top a high hill (Monte Moro). Today Gavi has a population of 5,000 inhabitants, but even at the beginning of the century it had more than 8,000.
The small town of Gavi is more than thousand years old; each of the big events that have involved Piedmont, Liguria, and Lombardy, necessarily are transited for these lanes and it has contributed in different measures to forge and modify the physiognomy of this suburb of boundary.
  The Lemme valley, named after the river that flows through it and Gavi, that starts off as source from the "Bocchetta", old pass of the Apennines  between Liguria and Piedmont, for thousand of years had been one of the most important routes in the north-west of Italy for the warriors and the merchants alike who used to come and go from the sea of Genoa to the continental lands.  These strategic passage  is steel called "Via del Sale" (Street to Salt), so denominated because of this precious ingredient supplied the neighbouring regions.
A footstep far from Gavi, 4 miles, on the Postumian Way, there is Libarna (constructed in 180 BC, between Genoa and Tortona).During the first centuries AD, Gavi was Libarna's satellite town in the Lemme valley, while Libarna itself was the focal point and the catalyst of all the activities within a radius of about 15 miles. Like many other Roman centres in this area (also noted for its archaeological finds is Villa del Foro), the exact location of Libarna was lost until its rediscovery in 1817. The first excavations tentative were begun in the first decade of this century. But it was the great determination with which archaeologist began digging between 1963 and 1976 that allowed what has been defined as a "magnificent archaeological park" to be brought to light.

 

 

Today is possible to visit  the ancient Roman ruins of Libarna with relative "Casa del Dazio" (Custom-House), the articulated structure of the theatre with the corridors, stairs, foyers, and auditorium which could old 3,800 spectators.  The uncovering of the arena of the amphitheatre  has shown in to have been larger than that in Aosta. To whole residential areas can be seen, all part of an archaeological complex that allows us to understand something more of the building of a Roman town. ( Photo of Libarna's amphitheatre, a little jewel of archaeology.) 
Gavi, after the decline of the Roman Empire and Libarna itself, had become the most important place between Genoa and Tortona, that is to say between an autonomous maritime city and an episcopal dependence. By the Dark Ages, Gavi and the Lemme valley were the great favourites. Before the year 1000, as evidenced in parchments and manuscripts to be found in the archives, those places which had a castle to defend the principal roads are those mentioned most frequently. 
The first mentions of the Lemme valley in written and documented history is to be found in the bronze Table of the Polcevera valley, dated at 117 BC. Mention is made
of the Cavaturini tribe, who inhabited the area from the Lemor (Lemme) valley and the surrounding mountains. The Cavaturini were so called because they lived in caves or grottos. It is possible that the name Gavi (Gavium in Latin) originally derived from Cavatum, which by losing its "t" became Cavaum-Cavium-Gavium, right down to the mediaeval "Gavio". Since Gavi however, exist before the arrival of the Romans, it is perhaps more logical to trace the origin of the name back to a Ligurian etymon,  that is "Ga"(land) "Va"( hole, meander ),"land of holes", or place of caverns, obviously used by human settlers. It is probable that the Cavaturini were those from "Gava". Because having always been the chief town of the valley, Gavi would naturally have given its name to the whole tribe.

But as regard of the origin of the name Gavi, there is even a legend which narrates how, in the VI century, a rich blond princess from Provence called Gavia or Gavina, fleeing with her lover, whom her family refused to accept, decided to settle down here and constructed a castle on a hilltop ; other soon built their houses at the food of this hill. At that time, however, Gavi already existed. It was a roman "pagus" and fortified town whose job was to protect the link-road: the Postumian Way and the Emilian Way. 
A document dated 18 April 973 was drawn up, now to be found in the State Archive in Siena stating that the castle of Gavi was sold to Roprando by Marquis Lamberto son of Ildebrando, while in another document, dated 989 DA, it is said that the castle was bought back by Emergarda, Lamberto's widow.
We find ourselves faced with Nordic characters (their very names confirm the fact) who made up the entourage of the three Emperors Ottone, who ruled during the tenth century. In fact, Gavi and the castle later belonged to Adalberto and to Alberto, of Obertenga descent. This latter marquis and his soon Guido, or Guidone, were those who, in the second half of the XI century, laid the foundations of the Marquisate of Gavi. A military-political nucleus of this type grew up in the strategic points where castles were in a dominant position such to enable them to exact a tribute or, at the very least, levies and tolls from those using the highways, which were none other than the remains of those build by the Romans and partially repaired in order to justify the toll. The Marquisate of Gavi extended from Voltaggio to Amelio (Sottovalle)  to Montaldo (nowadays, called Rigoroso, near Arquata, where the Postumian Way descends into the Scrivia valley), all places with castles.
The Marquisate possessed estates around Tortona at Montemarzino, Nizzano and Avolasca; beyond the Scrivia at Grondona and Croce (later to be owned by Fieschi Family); toward Novi it included Tassarolo, Pasturana, Gattorba and Giugnano, all fortified sites. This territory, a buffer zone between Genoa and Tortona, survived right up until 1202, when, with the Empire's consent, the heirs of Marquis Alberto son of Guido ceded it to Genoa. Gavi, obviously, had always sided with the Empire when Italy was divided at the time of Barbarossa and Henry VI.   
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