Arma di Taggia
“Ma tu, ti sei de Tagia?” “ MA TI SEI NESCIU? MI A SUN DE L’ARMA, NON STA A FA CUNFUSIUN!”
(in dialect) “Are you from Taggia?” “Are you kidding? I’m from Arma, don’t get confused!”
The town of Arma di Taggia lies in the district of Taggia. For years, on and off, there have been conversations about the independence of Arma di Taggia, the name of the town, which ties it to the district, and last, but not least, the matter of the size of the population and the generation of income. For a person born in Arma, being mistaken as coming from Taggia could even be considered as slightly offensive.
Is Taggia older than Arma? Yes and no. The name of the town comes from Arma’s Cave. “Arma” meant “cave” for the ancient Ligurian people. This cave, which is 400m2, served as a natural refuge for palaeolithic hunters for a long time. It is one of the most important caves in Europe, due to it being a “rich fossil site, among which human bones dating back to the Neanderthal man can be found”. You can see examples of them in the Civic Museum of Sanremo. Above the cave, from the panoramic position of the bluff, you can see a 16th-century defensive tower.
Arma was in fact a target for pirates, so a sighting fort needed to be built.
It was one of the most impressive examples in the Republic of Genoa.
The current entrance of the cave is by the sea, and, from there, a small rocky shrine can be accessed, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called “Chiesa di Nostra Signora dell’Arma”.
In 1153, it was even nominated as Parish of Arma, before later becoming the headquarters of the Arma Parliament.
Even after the construction of chiesa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Church), it remains an important site for the inhabitants of Arma and Bussana.
During World War II, it was used for the storage of explosives by the German army. Today, the church is properly consecrated and belongs to the parish of Bussana di Sanremo. There is a service held every 25th March.