Nure Valley - historical summary
Brief history of the valley
Ligurians and Celts were the first inhabitants of the valley. The Ligurians also began to exploit the mineral riches.
The Romans, once they had conquered the territory, built new settlements, bridges and roads.
Various religious buildings go back to Lombard times: churches and hospices for pilgrims.
During the Middle Ages the route along the Nure Valley was important for many pilgrims, especially those from northern countries, whether travelling to Rome or to Santiago de Compostela (the latter were travelling up the valley to reach the sea in Liguria) who found small hospitals along the way where they could stay.
From the 13th century the road along the Nure Valley was busy with caravans of merchants from Liguria and Piacenza transporting their goods on muleback. Various localities of the valley became points of exchange and markets for products from Liguria (especially olive oil) and of the Lombard Plain (in particular cereals). The importance of this trade can be understood from the names given to the road: for the people of Piacenza it was the Via dell'Olio or Oil Way, for the Genoese the Via del Pane or Bread Way!
The history of the valley in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is marked by bloody struggles between the various noble families: Camia, Nicelli, Malaspina, Anguissola are the names that recur most frequently in the annals of the valley. To them is due the construction and destruction of innumerable towers and fortresses in the valley (today many castles are still found in the area, transformed into private homes, town halls or farms, and many more are simply ruins that emerge from rocky foundations or lie hidden in side valleys or in the woods).
In more recent times the valley has seen battles between the French and the Austro-Russian armies, as well as the partisan struggles during the Second World War.