The coat of arms of the Province of Savona includes an image of the sea, an inescapable element of the Ligurian territory. But the Napoleonic history of this strip of land between the snow and the brine unfolded more amongst the gentle hills of the hinterland than the billows of the waves. The Savona hinterland, a mighty encounter between the Alps and the Apennines, was in fact the theatre of major battles that marked the military rise of the future Emperor. The province of Savona was thus the splendid natural setting – immortalized in the works of military painters – for the clashes of the Italian Campaign, when the young Napoleon was sent to Italy to fight against the Piedmont and Austrian troops. At the head of a disorganized and ill–equipped army, he nevertheless succeeded in winning the major victories that led to the treaty of Campoformio. Napoleon encountered a land of tremendous beauty, where the vineyards and olive groves of the hills of Loano, Boissano, Toirano and Balestrino alternated with the vast elevations of Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, Bardineto, Altare, Cairo Montenotte, Dego and Millesimo: places that still today preserve many of these aspects, the inheritance of how much the delicate watercolour maps of the "Napoleonic cadastre", compiled by French officials, tell us.
To the west, at the extreme of this natural setting before the Isola di Gallinara nature park, Albenga looks out onto the sea, a city that bore witness to a different proud past, where the young general came to a halt to then go against history.
To the east, Savona and its fortress overlook the port, the Priamàr, marking the limit of the stretch of coast that encloses the sites of these events, permanently connected to the name of Napoleon.