The town develops in the left alluvial plain of the river Entella along the coast of the eastern Ligurian Riviera, in the eastern Tigullio. Located to the east of Genoa, today’s town develops, in addition to the historic medieval settlement, along its hinterland closed upstream by a series of hills cultivated mainly with olive groves.
The village, unlike the nearby Chiavari which presents pre-Roman evidence, seems to have developed in Roman times with the Latin name of Lavania. The name has remained unchanged over the centuries until it was transformed in the following centuries into the current toponym of Lavagna.
According to local historical sources in the Longobard era it was entrusted to the monks of the Irish abbot San Colombano, who, under the direction of the Abbey of San Colombano di Bobbio, will promote its development.
County of the Carolingians and subsequently subject to the bishops of Genoa, it was a feudal stronghold of the nascent noble branch of the Fieschi family, creating, until 1198, a sort of judicial and political independence from Genoa. This family, which will have its headquarters in the nearby village of San Salvatore di Cogorno, will build a vast noble domain in the eastern Ligurian and Chiavardese hinterland.
During the Middle Ages there were countless political clashes over the dominion of this part of the Ligurian Levant between the Fieschi and the Republic of Genoa, which had in the nearby Chiavari an always loyal ally and a defensive border stronghold. Surely the strongest antagonists of the Flaminian family proved to be the Doria, lords of the Genoese Republic. When the village became a free municipality, around the twelfth century, the Lords of the Flish continued – to the extent – to carry out the administrative and political task of the town. In the fourteenth century, with the absorption of the Fieschi in the highest Genoese nobility, a progressive downsizing of the Lavagnese domains began.
In 1564 its district was sacked by the Turkish admiral Dragut, suffering devastation as in other nearby towns of the Tigullio coast already hit by the “Saracen pirate” in the years before.
In 1797 with the French domination of Napoleon Bonaparte the established municipality returned from December 2 in the Department of the Entella, with capital Chiavari, within the Ligurian Republic. From 28 April 1798 with the new French regulations, Lavagna returned to the II canton, as chief town, of the Entella Jurisdiction and from 1803 the main center of the I cantone dell’Entella in the Entella Jurisdiction. Annexed to the First French Empire, from 13 June 1805 to 1814 it was included in the Department of the Apennines with the capital of Chiavari.
In 1815 it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Sardinia, according to the decisions of the Congress of Vienna in 1814, and subsequently in the Kingdom of Italy from 1861. From 1859 to 1926 the territory was included in the eighth mandate of the district of Chiavari of the then province of Genoa. With royal decree of May 12, 1889, it was elevated to the title of City.
The municipality of Lavagna achieved in August 2012 the certification of its environmental management system in accordance with ISO 14001.
The location has obtained from the FEE-Italy (Foundation for Environmental Education) the awarding of the Blue Flag for the quality of its beaches in 2016.