The guide of
• The History •
THE OLD VILLAGE
According to documents originating from the year 1000, Punta Mesco was the home for the first inhabitants of the area, but it wasn’t until the XIth century that the actual village of Monterosso was settled along the Burranco river. The founders were probably the legendary inhabitants of Albaretto, a hamlet situated on the surrounding mountains that had been destroyed by the Lombards, around the year 600.
The village was developed under the feudal jurisdiction of the Obertenghi family, direct descendants of the Lombard king Oberto I, that ruled from the year 614 the vast area that went from the ancient village of Bobbio in Lombardia to most of Liguria, the Cinque Terre and the northern Tuscan territories of Lunigiana and Garfagnana.
The presence of the Obertenghi family in Monterosso is evidenced by the remnants of a medieval castle found within the walls of the ancient cemetery that dominates the bay.
Towards the end of the year 1200, in the wake of alternate battles between the Maritime Republics of Pisa and Genoa, Monterosso was won by the Republic of Genoa that finally consolidated it’s power over the entire Ligurian sea. The castle, still visible today, was at that time reinforced as a military defence fortification by the Genoese Republic.
It was under the domination of the Genoese Republic that Monterosso began growing wheat and on the hills descending into the sea terraced ledges were created where vineyards were planted. These terraces were protected at the base by dry stone walls. Only in the 17th century did the inhabitants initiate the new economic business of fishing. This venture is documented by the existence of an extensive series of nets for tuna fishing (called tonnare) placed far from the coast of Punta Mesco. This new commerce, together with the cultivation of lemons and vineyards were the reason for bitter disputes with Genoa.