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Cervo appears on the Dianese Gulf as suspended on the waves of the sea; its origins are ancient, maybe Roman, as witness to a fragment of tombstone found close to the Parish Church of St. Giorgio, which is outside the centre of the village, today called the Church of St. Nicola. Nowadays, the ancient village is still surrounded by stone walls, with its ramparts; its heart is made of narrow lanes, the “Carruggi”, with tiny balconies and little hidden terraces; here and there, the panorama opens to corners of blue sea and sky. In the centre of the village, dominates the façade of the Corallini Church, a beautiful baroque monument; it was called “of the Corallini”, because its building was made possible by the money donated by the coral fishermen. Coral fishing was a very popular Cervo activity during the past centuries. The church was built between XVII and XVIII centuries, by the architect G.B. Marvaldi; the bell tower was created by one of the most important local painters of 18th century, Francesco Carrega, whose family of artists also painted the houses belonging to the richest Cervo families, often merchants of olive oil.
Noteworthy in the village, it is also the 13th century Oratory of St. Caterina, recently restored, with its severe bare stone walls: this oratory often hosts art exhibitions, classical concerts and cultural events. At the top of the village there is the Castle of the Clavesana family; it was used during its past as a hospital and oratory, and it is today the seat of the Ethnographic Museum, which houses mementos of the everyday life in western Liguria within the last three centuries. Cervo is commonly considered as “The Village of the Artists”, veritable place of inspiration for many painters and sculptors; but we can also say that Cervo is “the Little Salisbury on the sea”, thanks to its very important international music festivals and master classes.
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