A medieval village with many churches and the Castello di Pornassio castle
Come and see the numerous churches and buildings from the 15th to 17th century
The mediaeval district of Ponti, the oldest in the municipality, returns to its mercantile and handicraft origins every year on the Sunday before the 20th August when it holds the ancient San Bernardo fair. Some important objects from a seventh-century crematory tomb discovered near Pian d'Isola are now preserved in Genoa. Another important (and mysterious) find is the Pietra delle Croci (Rock of Crosses), a pentagonal rock which is engraved with small pagan crosses.
Pornassio is known, above all, as a tourist centre: the chestnut, larch, pine and fir woods, the nineteenth-century forts around Col di Nava and the numerous paths for hikers and mountain bikers attract thousands of visitors every year. The local hotels offer all modern conveniences and there are also excellent sports facilities.
There are even cross-country ski pistes, which are quite rare in Liguria. Hemp was once cultivated locally but today's most important crop is lavender. The Ormeasco wine produced in Pornassio has recently been awarded the DOC seal of quality.
This municipality is situated in the upper Arroscia Valley on the border with Piedmont. The territory rises from 350 metres in the district of Ponti to 930 metres at Colle di Nava. The important mountain pass led to conflict in mediaeval times between Liguria and Piedmont, first involving the Clavesana and Ceva families and then the Republic of Genoa and the Savoys, up until the Napoleonic invasion. The thirteenth-century castle in the district of Villa was destroyed in 1405 but it was later rebuilt and is still in excellent condition: part of the building is still inhabited by the descendants of the marquises of Scarella, who were given Pornassio as a feudal possession by the Doge of Genoa in 1385. Of great interest is the Romanesque church of San Dalmazzo: the bell tower dates from the thirteenth century, while the façade, portal and fresco work date from the fifteenth century. The central part of the poliptych of San Biagio and San Giovanni is attributable to Canavesio.
Pornassio is one of the villages in the province of Imperia, which lies in the Liguria region. The small village of Pornassio is 3.5 km from Colle di Nava, 4 km from Ponti, and 12.7 km from Trovasta. Follow the SS28 towards Torino, and when you pass Pontedassio, Chiusanico and Muzio, the next village is Pornassio.