Brugnato is a small comune and town located in the Liguria region of Italy in the province of La Spezia. Surrounded by the Montemarcello-Magra Park, Brugnato is situated on the banks of the Vara River. The town is located close to the cities of La Spezia and Genoa. Brugnato is spread over an area of 12 sq km and has a population close to 1200.
According to scholars, Brugnato was founded in the 12th century when the cathedral was built in the location. In the olden days the village was enclosed within a circular moat which no longer exists today. The center of the town was built as a fortified hamlet around the citadel of the bishop.
Getting to Brugnato
Bruganto is located close to the cities of Genoa and La Spezia so reaching the town is not very difficult. Visitors can reach Genoa by train or flight from other countries or from the other Italian regions and then continue to travel to Brugnato. Visitors can travel by the state buses that depart from various cities and towns in the province as well as from the other larger cities that are located close to Brugnato a few times every day. Another option is to drive down to the town, which is quite convenient. Brugnato is located 15 km from La Spezia and 70 km from Genoa so driving down is quite easy.
Moving Around the Town
Brugnato is spread over an area of just 12 sq km so it is easy to explore it on foot. The town is quite compact and the main sight seeing attractions are located close to the historic walled center. Cars cannot be navigated within the historic center of the town since the streets are quite narrow and twisted. Visitors can easily explore all the attractions in town within a day on foot. Those who are interested in visiting the surrounding areas and villages can also rent a car or drive down on their own.
Attractions in Brugnato
The cathedral of Brugnato is one of the most important places to visit in the town. The cathedral was originally built in the 12th century over the ruins of two older churches in the area, the oldest of these dates back to the 6th century which is under the main nave in the current plan. There is a 15th century fresco of Sant’Antonio Abate on a column. Several restoration works have been carried out at the cathedral in the past and recently a beautiful 16th century fresco was found on the wall of an aisle depicting the presentation of Jesus in the temple. The archeological site below the cathedral can be seen through the glass flooring where the ruins of the first settlement are located.
The Episcopal Palace
The Episcopal Palace is located right next to the cathedral. Since 1133 the palace had been the residence of the bishops and is built on the site of an ancient Abbey of San Colombano. The palace has a beautiful baroque style of architecture, although, several changes and renovations have been done in the recent times. The palace is now home to a local museum.
Oratory of San Bernardo
The oratory of San Bernardo is located at the entrance of the town near Porta Soprana, the old gate. The oratory had been originally built as a pilgrim site for the people who came to the nearby hospice of Sant’Antonio.
Monastery and Church of San Francesco
The monastery and the church of San Francesco was originally built in 1603, the construction however took close to 30 years. The church and the convent were later passed on to the hands of the Passionisti, who were barefooted clerics founded by San Paolo della Croce.
Sanctuary of Nostra Signora dell’Ulivo
The sanctuary of Nostra Signora dell’Ulivo is located on the hills just a few kilometers from the town. The sanctuary had been built based on one of the several oratories that were built by the Brugnato monks. The current day building and the façade was built in the 17th century.
Stay and Accommodation
Although Brugnato is quite a small town, there are a few good places where visitors can stay while in town. There are a few good hotels, but most bed & breakfasts in the town. There are also a few old villas and farm houses that can be rented by tourists that plan to stay longer in Brugnato. Some of the most well known hotels in town hare hotel Albergo Dei Tigli, agritourismo II Casale, B&B Affittacamere Ca da Flora di Natalie Caputo, B&B Vanda II nido nella Biona, B&B Da Paola, Frattoria didattica Targa Agnese Cascina Rovereda and B&B La Luna nel Borgo. Rooms are generally quite comfortable and clean and the rates are not very high even in the peak tourist seasons.
Eating in Brugnato
Most hotels in Brugnato have their own restaurants, and apart from those there are a few small eateries, cafes, bars and bakeries in the town. Brugnato is mainly famous for its various traditional pastries. The Canestrello di Brugnato is a soft delicious cake with fennel and Cavagnetto which is quite typically seen at Easter. Cavagnetto is a small round cake with handles and has a boiled egg in the center. These specialties can be found at most bakeries of the town. Some of the best restaurants in Brugnato are Taverna De Goloise Di Santa Maria Massimo and ristorante Antica Trattoria.
Shopping in Brugnato
There are only a few good places in Brugnato for visitors to shop. Brugnato is mainly an agricultural town, so the best thing to purchase in the town would be various food products. The town is mostly known for its various traditional pastries and desserts which can be found in most bakeries of Brugnato. However, a few typical seasonal cakes can only be found during the season. Visitors can also purchase good quality extra virgin olive oil and various types of local cheeses from the food stores.