Castle for outdoor weddings in Zoagli, Liguria

Castello Canevaro

The family of Dukes Canevaro of Zoagli founded the Castello Canevaro srl company in order to open their historic home to events such as banquets for weddings, anniversaries, meetings, concerts, exhibitions, pilates and yoga courses, painting courses and more. This is because the Castle, in the strategic position in which it is located, set on a magnificent promontory in the center of the Gulf of Tigullio, with the sea that surrounds it on three sides and with a park of three hectares, can magnificently host events both indoors and outdoors.

The first Duke of Zoagi, Giuseppe Canevaro, bought the Villa with the Tower of 1550 from the Malfanti Spinola. Subsequently the building underwent various transformations. A wing was first built towards the hill behind and two turrets with Guelph merlons were raised on the sides of the facade, in line with the neo-Renaissance architecture of the time. After the bombings, in 1943 the central body was rebuilt to a lesser extent, highlighting the 1547 Tower, a masterpiece of fortification architecture inspired by the Giuliano San Gallo module, which in those years operated in Savona for the Della Rovere family.


The Canevaro Family

Giuseppe Canevaro nasce a Zoagli nel 1803 in una famiglia di modeste condizioni. All’età di otto anni inizia a navigare col padre, il capitano Giacomo, e a dodici si imbarca sul Calipso alla volta di Cuba. A vent’anni è capitano di un bastimento e si trasferisce a Lima, poi nel 1830 sposa Francesca Valega, dalla quale avrà dodici figli.
Nel 1849 quando scoppia la Prima Guerra d’Indipendenza, Giuseppe Canevaro manda del denaro per aiutare il Regno di Sardegna e viene inserito da Vittorio Emanuele II nell’Ordine dei Cavalieri dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro.

Giuseppe Canevaro was born in Zoagli in 1803 into a family of modest conditions. At the age of eight he began sailing with his father, Captain Giacomo, and at twelve he embarked on Calipso for Cuba. At twenty he was captain of a ship and moved to Lima, then in 1830 he married Francesca Valega, from which will have twelve children. In 1849 when the First War of Independence broke out, Giuseppe Canevaro sent money to help the Kingdom of Sardinia and was included by Vittorio Emanuele II in the Order of the Knights of Saints Maurice and Lazarus. Giuseppe Canevaro is enriched by exporting to Europe guano deposited in layers of over thirty meters on the islands and coasts of Peru and Chile. In 1956 Giuseppe Canevaro was appointed consul to the Peruvian government by Vittorio Emanuele II. During the Second War of Independence, Canevaro, too old to fight, volunteers in field hospitals. His fleet, with other shipowners involved by him, transports Napoleon III’s army and baggage services from France to Genoa. This surprises Austria and starts the campaign to conquer Lombardy.
Greek statue for Napoleon Canevaro, Duke of Zoagli
The Canevaro Family
Cavour and Vittorio Emanuele II, not being able to reimburse Canevaro for the expenses incurred (350,000 lire in gold pounds) offered him the noble titles of Count of Zoagli and Duke of Castelvari. Giuseppe Canevaro was among the founders of the Italian Lloyd Navigation Company around 1903. In Zoagli, where he finances the construction of the hospital that takes his name from him, in 1870 Canevaro had purchased the plain dominated Sotto l’Orto, above the rock where the Torre del Ponente stands with the villa that was owned first by the Spinola and then Malfanti. He built the appendix of the building which, extending the tower to the east, overlooks the beach (called today “del Duca”). The Canevaro Castle was then bombed on June 20, 1944.
In 1881 the hospital of Zoagli, to remember its benefactor, commissioned the sculptor Carlo Filippo Chiafarino a bronze statue that still resides in the square of Zoagli. His eldest son, Giuseppe Francesco (1836-1900), vice-president of the Republic of Peru, obtains for himself and for his descendants, with Royal Decree of 20 February 1887, the addition to his surname of the predicate “di Zoagli”. Of the twelve sons of Giuseppe Canevaro the best known is Felice Napoleone, born in Lima on 7 July 1838, who under Garibaldi is honored with the silver medal for the heroic attacks on Bourbon vessels in the Port of Naples. Giuseppe Francesco was Minister of the Navy for twelve years and Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1899. He had also been in the command of the Allied fleet that blocked Crete in 1896.


The Canevaro Castle

The architectural complex of the Castello Canevaro, in Zoagli, was born and developed over the centuries around the construction of the sighting tower of 1550.

The second phase historically coincides with the presence on the ground, already in 1640, of a block building, of a typically “Alessian” style, as defined in the specific bibliography.


The fortification and the Palace (or Villa), taken over by Matteo Vinzoni, was built in 1773. The painter PD Cambiaso will include it in his nineteenth-century views of the Riviera di Levante.

In 1899 the complex of the Canevaro Castle, in which the elevations of the Tower and the ancient Palazzo Padronale were redesigned in the main facade to the west, was enriched by the introduction of two eclectic taste towers.


The history of the building, which reached its peak at the end of the 19th century, abruptly ended with 1943, the year in which Zoagli was bombed for the presence of the high railway bridge that overlooks it and which appears to be the cause the destruction of a good part of the Manor Villa.
Castello Canevaro di Zoagli 1981
Fishermen in the bay of Zoagli
Castello Canevaro 2011
Canevaro Castle aerial view 2011
From the post-war period to the present, the building is used only for residential purposes and for this reason it is divided into apartments and, following the lack of a maintenance project, goes into decline. With their project, the architects C. Bruzzo, F. Gotta and ML Grasso bring the building back into vogue as it was defined at the end of the nineteenth century by the architect Partini and the Canevaro family, introducing, in the Tower and in the vaulted funds of the Castello, new exhibition spaces, with the aim of restoring that welcoming and representative disposition for which they were built. Today, the Castle opens its doors to the organization of special events such as weddings, baptisms, meetings and much more.