Framura does not exist as a nucleus or, to put it a better way, Framura is the distinctive toponym of a typically Ligurian group of places which can be distinguished into five separate hamlets (Anzo, Ravecca, Setta, Costa, Castagnola), all lying between the mountains and the sea. Click here→ for a map of the territory.
- Our first stop is at Anzo, (perhaps identifiable with the "Antion" of the pseudo-Scillacean period) which boasts such well known treasures as the XVthC Genoese watchtower, the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snow (S. Maria della Neve), now a church of the same name, pleasingly decorated in Neo-Gothic style. Inside, you will find a Christ at the Column (oil on canvas, from the School of Cambiaso), Christ and Veronica (XVIIIthC) and a Madonna and Child with SS. John the Baptist and Sebastian (XVIIthC).
- In the hamlet of Ravecca, you can still see unadulterated Medieval buildings and it is well worthwhile to stop and visit the Farini Private Chapel, dedicated to SS. Bernard and Pasquale, with its little rustic altar, decorated with crude plaster protome or grotesque busts. Beyond this, you come to Setta, seat of the Town Hall, with its large XVthC Genoese watchtower and the Chapel of St. Rocco, its façade decorated with tempera paintings of architectural elements in Neo-classical style, dating from the second half of the 18thC and recently carefully restored. Inside, you can see a Madonna and Child between SS. Rocco and Nicholas (XII-XVIIIthC). A vigorously carved marble bas-relief of the Resurection, dating from the XVIthC, has recently been placed in the square in front of the church.
The hamlet of Costa is the most important from
the archaeological, historical and artistic points of view. The watchtower which dates from the Carolingian period (IXthC) and the Parish Church of St. Martin have been the subject of much research. Cimaschi has written, on the basis of his previous studies, "the simple but fascinating coastal watchtower of Framura is one of the most representative examples of military architecture. I use the term "military" because the tower was obviously originally a lookout point and, if necessary, one of sporadic resistance against invaders, presumably, given its location and the history of the area, the Saracens. It is extraordinarily strong, its walls having been built of massive, solid irregular blocks of stone, particularly robust at the base and in its foundations, with a cross-vault on the lower floor supported by lateral arches. The ground plan is square with two non-tapering floors, diminishing with external scarcements, with a serrated frieze running around the cornice of the two floors.
At some time in a later period (say between 1000 and 1100 A.D.) the Church of St. Martin was built behind it. This church was certainly monastic in origin (probably dependent on St Colombano at Bobbio), then, in the second half of the XIIthC, subject to the Diocese of Genoa.
The toponym "Framura" may take its origin from the fact that this process required structural masonry work: popular tradition has it that the term came from the "frati" (brothers") who "murano" (literally "build walls"). The fact that the church was built facing the tower, by the way, is of architectural note, given that this type of solution was most unusual for Italy though common in Southern France. Although this popular tradition cannot be excluded a priori, a much later XVIIthC scholar, Mons. Giustiniani preferred to define the origin of Framura in "fera mula" so-called on account of its stony and difficult paths. An investigative archaeological dig, undertaken in the 1970s, to explore beneath the foundations, revealed a rectangular closed tomb, covered with slate slabs but without any accompanying objects. Though not stylistically dateable in itself, it was deemed highly compatible with an Early Medieval period. A "Madonna of the Rosary with SS. Domenico and Carlo Borromeo", one of Bernardo Strozzi's masterpieces, is conserved inside the Church of St. Martin. It also has a polychrome marble pulpit from the Baroque period which popular belief holds to have been carved for the Cathedral of St. Lawrence in Genoa.
On coming to the end of the Costa alley, our route follows into a nature reserve. Here we come across the old "ospitale" (infirmary) of Framura. According to an inscription, carved in Carolingian characters, on a plaque on its façade, it was the work of Giuliano de Dugo and dates to the 27th of December 1400.
- Once we have walked through the Park, we come to the Parish Church of St. Lawrence of Castagnola where we can admire the Deposition by Luca Cambiaso, a masterpiece attributed to the artist's mature period.