History and Myth

From "Ingauni" to "Adelasia"

Alassio e la sua leggenda Alassio, the town of sunshine, is situated, with its Mediterranean style houses, at the foot of two capes: Capo Mele, for those coming from France and S.Croce for those coming from Genoa. It was already known in Roman times for the Iulia Augusta route that runs at its back.

The earliest inhabitants of Alassio’s territory were the Ligurians belonging to the Ingauni tribe, probably refugees from Albenga who had escaped after the victory of the Roman legions. Although there is no sure evidence of the existence of a human settlement at the time of the Roman rule, we can suppose that due to the amenity of the place and the closeness to Albenga’s Municipium, this territory was inhabited.

Alassio e la sua storia During the first millennium after Christ some families living in small hamlets scattered on the hills, might have come down to settle along the shores and found Burgum Alaxi; later they built a small church dedicated to S. Ambrogio, Bishop of Milan in the centre of the new settlement.

It was later annexed to the Republic of Genoa and in 1540 it had its own first “Podestà” and the title of Town.
It was a sea town due to its considerable number of vessels and to the extensive commercial exchanges it had with France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sicily and Sardinia, while a large number of boats were used for fishing coral in the waters of the Tirrenean Sea. It was in that period that the Republic of Genoa fell and Alassio became part of Ligurian Democratic Republic .

Alassio e il suo mito Then it came under the French Empire, later, under the Kingdom of Sardinia which became the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
At the end of the 19th century tourism discovered Alassio, due above all to the large English colony led by the Hanburys who greatly contributed to its development with the creation of gardens on the hills and the construction of some typically English buildings. According to the legend, the name of the town came from Adelasia, the daughter of Ottone I of Saxony who was emperor of the Sacred Roman Empire from 936 to 972. She was said to be in love with Aleramo, a young cup-bearer at court and that the Emperor was not at all happy with that. The two lovers escaped to the misty regions of Germany, where, after having married and after many ups and downs came to settle at the foot of mount Tirasso.
Their miserable life as charcoal burners came to an end when the emperor came down to Italy to fight against the Saracens and Aleramo, together with his sons, fought bravely for the imperial army.
Thanks to the the Bishop of Albenga’s good offices, Ottone was reconciled to his daughter and son in law and gave Aleramo and his descendants the marquisates of Acqui, Monferrato, Savoy and others.
Later at the place where Adelasia and Aleramo had settled a new town rose and it was called Alaxia,and later Alassio.