The settlement of Cisano likely has early medieval origins (the name possibly derives from an ancient Byzantine-Longobard limes of the 7th century), but its present location dates to the year 1274, when Albenga re-founded it with a fortified structure. The construction process lasted until 1288 on a piece of land purchased from the Gallinara monastery; previously the area had belonged to Bonifacio del Vasto and his successors, marquises of Clavesana.
The decision to fortify the village can be attributed to its location, which had always been strategically important as a defense against the invasions from lower Piemonte and was thus grouped in its defensive purpose with the “ville nuove” of Pogli and precisely Villanova. In the 13th century it fell under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Genoa, as did other centers in the Albenga area. As history teaches us, in the medieval period there were numerous clashes and wars between neighbors or attacks launched to the detriment of Cisano by lords who aspired to enlarge their domains in our territory.
To this is related the siege of the village by the Savoyards in 1672, which were, together with the disruptive overflow of the Neva River, the reasons behind the collapse of a major part of the town wall. The latter enclosed a compact, rectangular-shaped settlement bounded by ditches and natural watercourses; on the inside, nowadays as then, narrow carruggi intersect orthogonally while the small squares are obtained from the demolition of decaying buildings.
In the walled section that is still visible, one can observe the construction technique of the walls and towers, which mainly relied on the use of large river cobbles; it was from one of the towers that the 14th-century campanile of the parish church was created, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, which overlooks the main town square. Just outside the village, in a tract where the river flows between rock slopes, the church of San Calocero is worth a visit, built in the 11th century by the Benedictine monks of Gallinara as a shelter for pilgrims.
Undergone successive renovations, it has, however, preserved a beautiful series of twin arches dating
back to its Romanesque origins. Right during the 17th century the village was occupied by soldiers of the
Savoy family, while between 1794 and 1795 it suffered from the violent armed clashes between the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire against the French. During Napoleon Bonaparte’s occupation, it became an independent municipality from Albenga (with the sole name of Cisano) and incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815.
After becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, it adopted its present name of Cisano sul Neva in 1863.
In 1929 it expanded its borders, annexing the territory of the former municipality of Cenesi and the hamlets Conscente and Martinetto, belonging to the overlying territory of Zuccarello. This rearrangement occurred as a result of a royal decree issued in the fascist period that promoted the creation of larger territorial municipalities.
The municipality of Cisano sul Neva includes 4 main fractions:
Conscente, Cenesi, Martinetto, Pianboschi