Camogli - Sunset - Italy


La Spezia, Italy

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HDR processed in Photomatix Pro 3.1.3 from a single RAW image, then processed using CS4 – no tripod used

Nikon D100 Sigma 15/30

Camogli – the “City of the Thousands Sailships”

Our city has very old origin. Traces of a first settlement, dating back to the prehistoric age, have been discovered on the Castellaro hill, located east of the present downtown, in the middle of the park of the Cenobio dei Dogi Hotel, where we can find the the majestic maritimes pines. Unfortunately, we cannot retrack any remains of the Middle Ages, when the first beach village and the fort which protected the “Island”, which was rocky ram that forms the natural port.

The first inhabitants were fishermen, right after they became seamen to serve the genoese fleet and later they kept their own business as shipowners. The glorious era of the camogliese people, extraordinary seamen, goes back to the 19th century, when their trade crossed with international events. In that period, they joined the Egypt’s and Algiers’ campaign and, overall, the Crimea war, as the only military striking force of the Piedmontese army. This useful contribute was possible thanks to their well equipped maritime fleet. Their audacity and skillness at sea were decisive to the result of the was and brought a solid welfare to the city. This welfare was well visible through the buildings and in the institutions, in the social services as well. The growing importance of Camogli allowed to obtain from king Vittorio Emanuele II the title of “City”. About its name, there are few speculations: camuggi in genoese dialect means “house of the wives” (their husbands were out at sea); another version says that cà a muggi (packed houses) reminds its landscape as seen from far out at sea. Finally and more realistically, scholars determined that the name Camogli comes from etrurian or celtic deities: Camulo or Camolio.

Camogli has three neighbours: Ruta, St. Rocco and St. Fruttuoso and many valued places for environmental and historical matters.
Ruta, which was named by the route that passes through of it, has been built on the hills, at an altitude of 300 metres. There we experience a mild and dry climate, for this, Ruta was a reknown tourist destination until the last century. Today this neighbour is the departure point for the many escursions to the Portofino Park. By going to a private boulevard, we can reach the Portofino Kulm hotel, built on the first years of the 20th century and restored recently.St. Rocco lies on a rocky wall falling to the sea: up there you can admire the Paradiso Gulf panorama.St. Fruttuoso, which is only reachable by foot or by boat, is a sea village framed in a narrow valley of the Portofino promontory. There we find a very valuable monumental complex : the abbey, the church and the Andrea Doria’s tower.

Camogli, among the many historical and artistic treasures, has various religious buildings. On the “Island”, close to the medieval castle, we can admire the Basilica, named after Santa Maria Assunta, which hosts many art masterpieces of the camogliese sculptors Francesco and Bernardo Schiaffino and of the genoese painters Niccolò Barabino and Francesco Semino. Inside the church, among the altars, decorated by valuable marbles, we can admire the paintings of the Patron saints of Camogli: St. Fortunato, protector of fishermen and seamen and St. Prosperous, patron of the city.Uphill of the Repubblica Street, you will find the Oratory of St.Prosperous and Caterina, dating back to the 15th century. The old crucifix inside the building has a great value for the camogliese people: it was carried out in procession during the difficult times. On the hills, we meet the church and monastery of St. Prosperous, still today it is hosting a small community of benedectine friars; then we meet the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Boschetto, loved specially by seamen which invoke the Lady during sea storms and perils, as painted in the various votive images.In the downtown of Ruta we can admire the parish church, built on 17th century. Inside there, we find masterpieces of painters and sculptors such as Bernardo Castello and Francesco Schiaffino. Along the road which leads to St. Martino of Noceto, we meet the millenary church dated back to the 12th century, national monument, seat of classic concerts specially in the summertime.Between St Rocco and Chiappa Point, western tip of the Portofino promontory, we mmet the romanic church of St. Nicolò of Capodimonte which is placed into a spectacular and natural frame. Finally, in the sea village of St. Fruttuoso, it is possible to admire the benedectine abbey, placed by side of the romanic church, donated on 1983 along with the built-up area, by the Doria Pamphily princes to the Italian Fund for the Environment (F.A.I.), which arranged to restore it.In the St. Fruttuoso bay we can dive to reach the Abyss Christ, a bronze statue which is object of devotion by many divers.

Since the old times, due to its location, the inhabitants of Camogli looked for sustenance from the sea. Before as fishermen and after as captains and shipowners. Since 1800 until 1900, Camogli prduces 3700 ship captains, 2932 merchant vessels and more than 500 naval engineers. Indeed, in the middle of the 19th century, our city reaches the top of its maritime economy. Camogliese ships and crews join the events which had been lead to the Unity of Italy on 1860. Simone Schiaffino, the ensign of the " Mille", the Garibaldi’s army, was a brave camogliese ship captain. Again, on the middle of 1800, the first camogliese maritime insurance was founded: it covered the damages originated by the perilous sailings of those times. Just in that period, Camogli is named “the City of the Thousands Sailships”. The most famous ships were the bricks and barks and the camogliese crews were very brave to handle them.

At the beginning of the 20th century, along with the mechanic propulsion, the “family management” of the sailships started to decline: it was extremely expensive to keep the maintenance all around the world of an “iron ship”. As a remain of the extraordinary maritime tradition of Camogli, we have today the high professional value of its seamen, specially on board the most modern cruise and cargo ships where the highest level of technology can be found. To admire the maritime tradition of Camogli, please visit the Maritime Museo “G.B.Ferrari”, located in the stairways in front of the railway station. In the museum, you will find rare parts of ships and seamen’s belongings wich are donations of the camogliese families of 1800 and 1900.

HDR processed in Photomatix Pro 3.1.3 from a single RAW image, then processed using CS4.Nikon D300 camera Sigma 15/30 Lens no tripod use.

Artwork Comments

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