PIETRA LIGURE “Castrum Petrae” was the castle built by the Byzantines on a large rock, to defend from the Lombards. Developed along lines parallel to the coast, the village belonged to the bishops of Albenga and then to Genoa. As a Roman villa Pietra Ligure dates back to the 1st century BC, but there are traces dating back to the Neolithic period on the coast and a pre-Roman settlement in the Corti region, towards Giustenice. Near the castle is the fifteenth-century Palazzo Leale Franchelli. The parish church of San Nicolò dates back to the 18th century: the vault is frescoed by Antonio Novaro, while the San Nicolò chair in the apse is by Giovanni Barbagelata. A famous procession and a festival are dedicated to the patron saint. The other parish church of Nostra Signora del Soccorso dates back to 1791, while in the historic center there is the church of the Annunziata, from the 17th century. Pietra is a seaside and tourist resort, with hotels and attractions for all budgets and tastes.
In addition to the establishments on the sandy beach (a surf school is open in the summer; the seabed is for diving) there are a sports hall, gyms and tennis and football fields.
Entering the interior of the Maremola valley, a trip to the ancient Ranzi, divided into three hamlets, is a must. It was built around the chapel of San Sebastiano, built around 1000 by the Benedictines of San Pietro in Varatella. The “Stella di Ranzi” is set up for Corpus Domini, a splendid star-shaped flower display.
Leaving the village and continuing inland, you cross the large cork wood of the “Ciazze secche”, a protected area. Climbing further, up to the rural church of San Martino, one encounters the ancient shepherds' boxes, among which the “cabanun” stands out, built only in stone without mortar. At the Pian delle Bosse refuge, the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri crosses.
In Pietra Ligure, Nicolò Accame, a poet and patriot friend of Giuseppe Mazzini and author of the text of the Garibaldian hymn, and Cristoforo Accame, a famous winemaker and a very popular character among the people of Pietresi, were born.