Founded in 1120 in the alluvial plain of the stream Orba, Badia di Tiglieto - whose real name is Abbazia di Santa Maria - was the first Cistercian abbey built outside the French territory and represents the most important historical monument of Tiglieto. The abbey consists of the church, in the north, whose main axis has a west-east direction; orthogonal to this building, in the east, there is the monastery, from where the area already used as a refectory develops. Church, monastery, and refectory represent the three sides of the cloister; the fourth side and the adjacent places are formed by other buildings with agricultural purposes. The Romanesque-style plan of the building is still evident in the cloister and in the oratory, while the subsequent measures have changed the other structures. In the Middle Ages, the "friars of Cîteaux" played here an important role in the cultural and economic developent: this is witnessed by the presence of hump-back meadows, made in this way to make the water flow out, and the lands of the plain still bearing the signs of an intense activity. The settlement of the area depended on the monastery and consisted of the organization of a series of minor units and small farmsteads which shaped the territory and formed a thick network of canals. The abbey has been recenlty renovated with the funds put at diposal by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Genova e Imperia, the Province of Genoa, and Beigua Park. Since 2000, the Cistercian monks have returned. Moreover, in the plain it is possible to visit the five-arch Romanesque-style bridge on the stream Orba, recently restored, next to which there are the ruins of an ancient mill. Crossing the bridge, on the other side there is a stone with the sentence: "Anno a partu Virginis MDCLXVII". Many people think that 1667 is not the date of the founding, but the date of its recovery. Immediately before finding the stone, you walk between two columns, almost delimiting an ideal gateway to the complex of the Badia.
Eremo del Deserto is situated in the Municipality of Varazze, at the confluence between the stream Arrestra and Rio Malanotte. The complex houses the 15th century monastery of the Carmelite Friars. The religious building was founded between 1614 and 1618 and represents the first Italian Carmelite hermitage. After the 19th century suppression, the Order settled here again in 1921. A botanic ring-route of great naturalistic value develops around Eremo del Deserto for about two kilometers and a half. Its naturalistic value depends on the fact that the route offers the opportunity to cross in a short time a wide range of extremely different environments. This is partly given by the local climatic features enabling the presence of both characteristic Mediterranean species and trees of the mountain woodlands, including several European and extra-European ornamental species witnessing the several environmental changes caused by the centuries-old presence of man. The route is completed with a series of panels illustrating the main environmental typologies you can observe, as well as the several vegetable species. Scattered throughout the thick vegetation, there are seven chapels called "Romitori" (of the Assumption, of the Annunciation, of the Nativity of Christ, of St Francis, of St Joseph, of the Conception of St Mary, of Our Lady of Mercy), where in some periods of the year the Friars used to spend their life in loneliness and penitence.
The richness of the whole Park area has attracted man since Prehistory and, more precisely, since the Lower Paleolithic Age. However, the greatest cultural development was experienced in the Neolithic Age: as a matter of fact, men were able to extract and process green serpentinite rocks and produce a wide range of top-quality tools which were also exported to far places. These Neolithic craftsmen developed the skill to use the most suitable rock for each kind of tool: this demonstrates the high cultural and technological level of man in the Neolithic Age. Geometric shapes, radial circles, crosses, and phy-shaped anthropomorphic images dating back to the Neolithic Age have been found on the rocks in the area of Casa Bucastrella. In Alpicella, the "megalithic road" - a stretch of paved mule-track delimited by large stones facing Mt. Greppin, near Alpicella country hamlet - and the "shelter under the rock" used by man in the middle Neolithic Age and in the Bronze Age have been discovered.
They are extremely important environments both for their great naturalistic value and for the ecological role they play in the ecosystems of Beigua Park. These areas are ecosystems rich in different forms of life with a delicate balance creating very particular micro-environments in the whole territorial frame. The permanent presence of water running free or soaking the soil deeply influences the life of plants and animals and, before this, determines the origin of the area itself. They are mainly steady environments for long periods, in which traces of the paleoclimatic events happened thousand years ago are preserved. The geomorphological, hydrological, and biological features of the wetlands are so particular to arouse a great scientific interest and often also a highlight for a large public of nature-loving people. Among the most valuable wetlands we recall Torbiera del Laione which is the largest wetland of Beigua Park. Even if this area is a Strict Reserve for its great naturalistic values, you can visit it by going along the Nature Trail allowing the visit without creating damages for an environment of matchless beauty but great fragility.
During the whole spring and the early autumn, Beigua Park is "visited" by thousands of Birds of Prey; the sight is simply great. The diurnal birds of prey and the storks are the animals which mainly strike the collective imagination, but the protected area is also interested by a considerable flow of passerines. In these periods, dozens of bird watchers go to Valle del Lerone to admire the migration of birds of prey. Since this year, many of the activities related to didactics and scientific research in the ornithological field are supported by the Ornithological and Environmental Education Center, in loc. Vacca in the mountains of Arenzano. The Park Authority has decided to dedicate the Center to the important bird issue.
In the Park there are three State Forests of great naturalistic value. The most extended (1,640 hectares) is Lerone Forest stretching between Arenzano and Cogoleto. It is characterized by large meadows and scenic cliffs of serpentine rocks. In the Municipality of Sassello, Deiva Forest (800 hectares) can be visited by following a ring-route crossing large artificial woodlands of spruce and Douglas firs, black and Scotch pines, along with mixed woodlands of English oaks and other broadleaf trees. In the forest there is also a country house called Bellavista Castle. Last but not least, Tiglieto Forest (740 hectares) involves the Municipalities of Tiglieto, Masone, and Campo Ligure and is characterized by an amazing variety of environments.
"Valli del Latte" (The Milk Valleys) is a thematic tourist itinerary promoted by Comunità Montana Valli Stura e Orba which, in 4 laps, touches the Municipalities of Masone, Campo Ligure, Rossiglione, and Tiglieto. It gives the opportunity to discover quality craftsmanship, holiday farm activities, traditional dishes, and interesting environmental and naturalistic features. In particular, the characterizing element of the rural culture is represented by Pavaglione social pasture, managed by the Cooperative "Centro Allevamento Zootecnico" from Valle Stura, joining all the local breeders. Cattle breeding has led to the birth of the "Milk from the Valleys of Genova" which is appreciated for its great quality and used to make ricotta cheese, stracchino, and yoghurt.
The Art of filigree boasts a very long tradition, deeply
rooted in the Municipality of Campo Ligure. The main feature of this
processing consists of bending and braiding very thin golden or silver
threads and uniting them where they meet with imperceptible weldings.
This technique, coming from the ancient East, has been adopted by the goldsmiths from Venice and Genoa. Nowadays, in Campo Ligure several craftsmen continue producing wonderful objects which you can admire in the Filigree Museum (Italian text), housing an extraordinary collection. Every year in Campo Ligure the Filigree National Fair is held: at its 37th edition, the exhibit houses stands where craftsmen display the best objects of the whole national production.