Noli, in Savona province, can be considered a “fifth maritime republic” because of its great importance from the maritime point of view and the beautiful gulf on which it lies. Here Syusy is accompanied by a group of Noli people, among them the historian Luciano Moggio, in the discovery of the town and its old history as a medieval town devoted to maritime trade. We thus discover that Noli is even mentioned in Canto IV of Dante’s Purgatory: the mountain that stands behind it protecting it from the Gulf is so steep as to be compared by Dante Alighieri to the mountain of Purgatory!
The town has no fewer than 72 towers of Saracen inspiration, built in about the fifteenth century by important families as symbols of power and wealth: the rich had towers and galleons, and they lived on maritime trade in the Mediterranean. The people of Noli were great navigators, famous to the point that even the fleets of Spain and Portugal came to embark sailors here! The best known of all of them was surely Antonio da Noli, who a few years before Christopher Columbus reached the Cape Verde islands, in fact opening up the way to him for the route that leads to America.
At this point a question arises spontaneously: is or isn’t Noli a maritime republic? Luciano Moggio explains that Noli has never been recognized as such because it didn’t mint its own coins that were recognized by other countries. It was politically a sort of Guelph sentinel protected by Genoa between the two Ghibelline factions of Savona and Milan.
But the origins of Noli would seem to go back to much earlier than the Middle Ages: recent diggings for the building of a villa have brought to light traces and finds of a Roman presence ... should history be rewritten?