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During the Middle Ages it was an important stronghold for the Genoese against the powerful Fieschi fiefdom, based in nearby Lavagna. Chiavari is today an elegant but modest town that lives off trade and craftwork (its chairs are renowned) and becomes a thriving holiday destination in summer, thanks also to its modern leisure port.
Places to see:
The ancient centre distinguishes itself from others in the Tigullio area for its neoclassical and 18th century architecture. The heart of Chiavari is Via Martiri della Liberazione (the straight "carruggio", or alley) with its porticos and host of shops. Don't miss the 17th century cathedral of Nostra Signora dell'Orto, with plenty of works of art. Wander among the beautiful palazzos and churches in the centre to Palazzo Rocca, home to the Chiavari botanical park. The park is divided into different areas and has been enhanced with caves, lakes and bridges.
A slight detour will take you to Cogorno and the Fieschi Basilica. It is one of the most important medieval monuments in Liguria, built in the 13th century by request of Pope Innocent IV, a member of the Fieschi family. Near the basilica are the medieval palazzo of the Earls of Fieschi and the remains of a 16th century house.