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The parochial church is on a hill above the bays of Trelo and Prelo. Our knowledge of the church goes back to July 1133, documented on a small tombstone on the right hand side of the wall, enclosed in a frame, with the following scripture: “VETUSTAS HUIUS, HIC ET HINC RLUCET”. The text indicates: ANI DOMINI MILLESIMO CENTESIMO TRIGEXIMO TERCIO MENSE LULIUS”. According to tradition the temple was erected on a preexisting pagan buiding (this is where the word pagan comes from, “Pagus” or Roman village). Most probably, initially there used to be a chapel that was used for the Longobard military garrison installed in the VII century. The Longobards loved San Michele and being arianism followers they were considered pagans by the catholics.
click to enlarge THE TOWER OF SAN MICHELE
In the perimeters of the cemetery of San Michele di Pagana, on the cliff behind the parish church, stands a not very large quadrilateral tower that no matter of its ancientness, is still as solid as when it was constructed in the second half of the XVI century. It was needed in order to ensure protection and defence from the Tukish pirats that could have easily landed to the western side of our gulf from the three bays Travello, Prelo and Pomaro. The 16th of May1562 the contribution for the construction of the fort, cost 600 Liras, whilst with decree of the 22nd of May, the Doge assigned that the Rapallese stationary should be used for such purpose until the the 1st of January 1563.
Inside the Villa of San Michele di Pagana, that now belongs to the Military Monarch Order of Malta, thanks to the last owner’s testament the Marchese Franco Spinola, there is the Castle of Punta Pagana. It has a quadrangular shape, with two emphasized frontal bastions, it is surrounded by a ditch with a drawbridge. This fortress has been well conserved, in confermation to the original plan that is kept in the State Archives of Genoa. Just a few improvements were made as it was being built, in order to upgrade its functions.