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There has been some conjecture about the origin of the name Savona, but it is thought that it might be derived from Saone (son of Zeus and Taigete) or the Carthaginian Sago or Sagone, who was said to have rebuilt the city after it was destroyed by the Romans.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, Savona became a base for the Byzantine fleet. The Priamar hillside, fortified by primitive city walls, began developing both as a diocese and as a military stronghold. In the city, trade and commerce began to thrive, the port began to grow, and civic institutions, as well as the hospital and market, were established. 

Destroyed several times during the barbarian invasions, Savona was reborn again around the year 1000 AD., when it began to compete with Genoa.

In 1528, the Genoese sacked the city several times, burying the port, and razing the Priamar fortress. An even more extensive fortress was built on the old site. 

Democratic traditions and a concentrated working class population was one of the reasons the city showed hostility towards fascism when it gained power.

During the Second World War, Savona was actively involved in the Resistance, and eventually earned the decoration of the gold medal for military valour.

After the war, the city’s urban expansion extended to the surrounding hills and along the coast. 

Savona is the main hub for Mediterranean cruise ships and a major Ligurian coastal tourist resort.