The picturesque fortified village of Diano Castello – built during the Middle Ages in order to control the underlying land – is perched on the heights of the spur which divides the valley of San Pietro from the valley of Varcavello and still has the ruins of the castle which belonged to the Marquises of Clavesana. It is not clear when the inhabitants of the valley fled from barbarian and Saracen attacks to the heights, thereby setting up the first nucleus of the current village.
The town was cited in a document dated 1033 as belonging to the jurisdiction of the Albenga Committee, and therefore subjected to the Bishop of Albenga, and became part of the fief of the Marquises of Clavesana at the beginning of the XIth century, subsequently becoming independent in 1172.
The town came under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Genoa in 1228 to which it gave an important contribution during the battle of Meloria in 1284: a galley manned by the townspeople took part in the battle against Pisan forces and stood out because of its courage, so much so that Diano Castello was given the title of Magnifica (Magnificent).
By bringing together the towns of the valley, it originated the Communitas Diani, with its own statutes, those dated 1263 are still preserved. And a relative independence, although still within the Genoese sphere of influence.
Once the pirate incursions started to decrease, the population gradually left the hills to return to the coast, where trade was more plentiful and Diano Castello slowly lost it prominent role in the valley in favour of Diano Marina, and during the Napoleonic period it joined its Podesteria.
Diano Castello has the characteristic oval shape surrounded by walls typical of fortified medieval towns, and is divided internally by roads which cross at right angles. The town is enhanced by ancient and imposing architecture, amongst which the church of Santa Maria Assunta, built in the XII century with a thirteenth century apse and fifteenth century frescoes, and the church of San Giovanni Battista, built in Romanesque style with an ancient and rare wood ceiling displaying sacred and profane subjects, stand out.
Diano Castello is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards; it has a high quality production of Vermentino wine which the inhabitants of the town (the “castellotti”) celebrate each year in June with the “Vermentino Prize”.
Diano Castello is located approximately 2 km from Diano Marina.