The Origins of the Tower
The Brandale Tower has been a symbol of Savona since time immemorial. It is so ancient that even the date of its construction is shrouded in mystery.
In fact, no document concerning the events of its construction has ever been found.
However, the research and the excavations carried out on site showed important discoveries: more than a thousand years ago the coast line between the Torretta and today’s indoor market in Via Gramsci was significantly more arcuate and set back than the one of today. Thus, the piers of the ancient port were located just a few meters from the Brandale Tower.
In the early Middle Ages, therefore, the ‘Calata’ (the area of the port where all the piers are located) stretched from today’s Piazza del Brandale, Via degli Orefici, Via Quarda Superiore, Piazza Leon Pancaldo, up to today’s church of Santa Lucia.
Only towards the end of the 12th century, a second ‘Calata’ and a new and safer dock were built in order to prevent the accumulation of debris and sediments. These, in fact, were dragged by the Letimbro torrent and by sea currents and were gradually obstructing the whole port area.
The Tower was therefore built directly facing the ancient ‘Calata’ probably around the year 1000, to the left of the Romanesque church of San Pietro (now incorporated into the building in via Pia 29), which is the second oldest church in the city only after the Cathedral.
The area in front of the church of San Pietro is also where the ‘Act of liberty of the city of Savona’ was drawn up in 1191.
On the other side of the tower, the so-called ‘Loggia dei popolari’ (People’s Loggia) was later erected, in contrast to the ‘Loggia dei nobili’ (Nobles’ Loggia), located in Piazza della Maddalena.
As shown by the existing documents, the Tower was originally privately owned and only at the beginning of the 14th century the property passed to the municipality.
The oldest document attesting the existence of the tower dates back to May 1178. It was found in the documents of notary Arnaldo Cumano and certifies the sale to Arnaldo Iolta by Ansaldo Curlaspedo and his wife Richelda. This document certifies the sale of the fourth part of the tower together with the fourth part of the land belonging to the same construction. The sale was made at the price of 25 Lire.
In another document dated May 31, 1178, which was drawn up by the same notary, Ansaldo Curlaspedo declared that he had received the sum of 31 Lire as payment for his wife’s dowry, 25 of which as the price of the part due to her of the tower.