SAVONA, a seaport and episcopal see of Liguria, Italy, in the province of Genoa, 27m. W.S.W. of Genoa by rail, 33 ft. above sea-level, and after Genoa and Nice the most important of the cities of the Riviera. Pop. (1906) 43,836 (town); 46,778 (commune). The greater part of the town is now modern. It is surrounded with green-clad hills and luxuriant orange groves. On the Rock of St George stands the castle built by the Genoese in 1542, on the area of the old cathedral and now used as a military prison. The cathedral (1589-1604) is a late Renaissance building with a modern dome and early Renaissance choir-stalls, puplit, etc. In the Cappella Sistina, to the north, stands the simple, finely carved tomb erected by Sixtus IV. to his parents. Facing the cathedral is the Delia Rovere palace erected by Cardinal Giulio della Rovere (Julius II.) from the plans of Giuliano da Sangallo as a kind of university, and now occupied by the prefecture, the post-office and law-courts. S. Maria di Sastello has a large altarpiece by Foppa and Brea (of 1490). There is a municipal picture-gallery in the hospital of St Paul. The Teatro Chiabrera was erected in 1853 in honour of the lyric poet Chiabrera, who was born and buried in Savona. Four and a half miles W. is a pilgrimage church of the Madonna della Misericordia, founded in 1536. The modern harbour, dating from 1815, has since 1880 been provided with a dock excavated in the rock, 986 ft. long, 460 ft. wide and 23 ft. deep. Savona is one of the chief seats of the Italian iron industry, having iron-works and foundries, shipbuilding, railway workshops, engineering shops, brass foundry, tinplate works, sulphur mills and glass-works. It imports commodities to the value of nearly 2,000,000 yearly, half of which is coal, with petroleum, iron, cereals, etc. In 1906, 777,000 tons of shipping, of which about half was British, and most of the rest Italian, entered. There is a small export trade, chiefly in iron sheets, chemicals, wood and candied fruits. The potteries export their earthenware to all parts of Italy. There is a railway through the mountains from Savona to Turin (91 m. N.N.W.).
Savona is the ancient Savo, a town of the Ingauni (see ALBENGA), where, according to Livy, Mago stored his booty in the Second Punic War. A buried Roman bridge lies near the stream, which has now changed its course. The place was never of importance in Roman times, the traffic passing to Vada Sabatia (Vado), 4 m. to the W., which was a harbour, and the point to which the coast road from Rome was reconstructed in 109 B.C., and from which a road diverged across the Apennines to Placentia. In 1191 it bought up the territorial claims of the marquesses Del Carretto. Its whole history is that of a long struggle against the preponderance of Genoa. As early as the 12th century the Savonese built themselves a sufficient harbour; but in the 16th century the Genoese, fearing that Francis I. of France intended to make it a great seat of Mediterranean trade, rendered it useless by sinking at its mouth vessels filled with large stones. In 1746 it was captured by the king of Sardinia, but it was restored to Genoa by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Columbus, whose ancestors came from Savona, gave the name of the city to one of the first islands he discovered in the Antilles.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)