Balestrino is a village in the hills surrounded by olive groves in the valley of the rio Ponte, it is made up of four different centres ,Borgo being the principle one dominated by Del Carretto castle.
At one time it belonged to the Benedictine Abbey of San Pietro dei Monti, in 1901 it was passed on to Bonifacio Del Vasto and then to Del Carretto ( XII century), who maintained the investiture until the XVIII century. A beautiful example of a medieval fortress is the marquis castle which overlooks the populated area; built on strong bastions, in 1795 it was partially destroyed by the French, restored during the last century it now looks like a fortified palace . The entancecs are still well-preserved together with the porter's lodge and a large watch tower and inside furnishings dating back to the 17th/18th centuries can be seen.the old village spreads out at the foot of the castle and was abandoned in the 50s following heavy landslides.
The parish church of Sant'Andrea , now closed off as it is unstable; however some of its important furnishings( two ancient polichrome ,marble altars and a splendid pulpit , adorned by the emblems of the Del Carretto of Balestrino) are preseved in the new church built in modern style in the highest hamlet. The characteristic little church of San Giorgio, medieval in structure ,holds frescos of 1400. Today the old part has kept intact its medieval appeal, which ,for now ,can be observed externally but there is a restoration project to bring it back as near as possible to its original state. A pilgrimage destination is the Shrine of Monte Croce in memory of the apparition of Our Lady, it is about 750mts high and offers a wonderful seaview.
Between Toirano and Balestrino there is a particularily pleasant stretch of the Sentiero(path) of the Terre Alte, which, in a 90 minute walk takes you to the abandoned village of Borgo.
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