Savona abaut 1400
On the extreme left the "Priamar"
with the old Cathedral

The Brotherhoods originated in Savona after 1260, with their seat on the "Priamar" promontory.
At first, the were free from the hierarchical power of the church, even if they had penitential, charitable and mutual aid purposes.
The beginning of 1400 marked the moment of their major developement because the Brotherhoods got identified with the Trade Guilds.
Actually in the corporative "statutes" of craftsmen several articles are about the chapels and churches were the brothers used to meet.
Afterwards the Brotherhoods changed, mainly devoting themselves to prayng in their respective Oratories, besides the usually activities of social solidarity, the building of hospitals and the institution of pawnshops to assist the poor.

Originally they were about ten Brotherhoods but, as a consequence of the distruction of the town on the Priamar by the Genoese in 1542(to built the current fortress), they were obliged to move to the lower part of Savona and some of them merged, others were wound up, so that nowadays there are just six left.
These six Brotherhoods make up the "Downtown Savona Brotherhoods General Priorate", wich organizes the traditional "Good Friday Nigth Procession".
Moreover the six Brotherhoods own the artistic wooden statues called "casse" wich are carried on their shoulders by the brothers along the streets of Savona during the Procession Wich take place every second year.