The Castle of Paraggi and its “double life”: evolutions and meta-morphosis of a “suspended” architecture

Eastern Liguria, a sometimes harsh and inhospitable place, encompasses some of the most beautiful landscape realities of the region, thanks to the presence of the sea and of an unexpected scenery. In some cases, land and water are connected, clearly showing the challenges that Man had to face in order to dominate Nature. In these cases, these forms of anthropization can turn their constraints into potentials. In this context, in a gulf such as the one between Rapallo and Portofino, outposts arose as observers to protect the neighboring territory, characterized by docks and, consequently, a suitable area for trade and for pirate incursions.

For these reasons, military-style architectural structures arose, both defensive and of sighting, depending on the building site, then, in the sixteenth century coordinated and transformed into a real defensive system, by the will of the Republic of Genoa. Here, then, we can find the castle of Rapallo, the tower of Saint Michael of Pagana, the Castle of Santa Margherita, the Castle of Paraggi and finally that of Portofino, each one with its own identity and events, but connectable to the others, if only for the territorial belonging to an extremely particular site as for organicity and homogeneity.

This is what the study of the Castle of Paraggi underlines, as it was built on the cliff overlooking the sea that has enjoyed a “double life” based on highlighting the latent diametrically opposed potential: born for the defense of the land from sea incursions, later on it was converted into a residence, conceptually transforming its position from a dominating into a reserved one, from an outpost on the sea clearly visible, to a place hidden on the land, from public to private. Over the centuries, the change in the function and life of the castle, has therefore been introducing changes to the facies and the composition of its appearance through the different stages of its evolution.