May 21, 2019
It was another off and on dreary weather weekend all over the Ligurian Coast. Sometimes, when the weather is not sunny and bright, it is the absolute best time to venture outside. There are less people out and more to discover. My friend and I went rainy day exploring so you wouldn’t have to.
Friday night, I stayed home. But many others in my hometown of Chiavari ventured outside in between the rain. There was a tightrope walker in town. Can you imagine what that would look like over the medieval town of Chiavari with its 19th Century painted ladies (homes)?
What an amazing feat!
All photos of the tight rope experience are courtesy of Enrico Rolandi.
There were no nets below.
As he had almost completed his walk, the crowds began to cheer.
I am sorry that I missed this event. I wish you could have seen it too.
Saturday was once again a drippy sort of day. But is was the weekend of Chiavari in Fiore 2019!
Every year on this weekend, local farmers and florists descend from the hills to Centro Storico Chiavari to market their wares.
Their plant arrangements lightened our mood and loosened our coin purses as locals and others shopped ‘til they dropped. I wanted these gardenias. I love their scent.
As we all strolled down the streets and under the portici, we were surrounded by happy people and every kind of plant imaginable.
The basil scent and the Italian parsley made me want to go home and COOK.
Others made me want to make limoncello. I met this lovely lady contemplating whether or not she could actually keep this lemon tree alive.
Her dog wasn’t much help.
Lots of lemon trees were being sold.
So many plants were displayed, even around the central fountain and the ever-present Garibaldi.
It was lovely.
A little girl, with her parents’ permission, posed for us.
Besides all the plant sales, artisans also hawked their wares.
I adored the arrangement of this display. My friend purchased something here too.
This artisan collected antique pieces and reused them in unusual ways.
My friend and I bought many food items from the Damiano family from the Imperia area of Liguria. We sampled them all first.
I am saving them for a special occasion.
All this and more plants arranged artistically
Lightened our hearts. Look at this bonsai apple tree!
We ended our Saturday wandering back through the streets and the squares where even the palace had floral arrangements.
In my mind, by the end of the day, the rain and clouds had flown away. Memories of living color and scintillating scents rocked me to sleep.
Sunday was another annual, local event held in Recco, Liguria. Only a 22-minute train ride from Chiavari, this seaside village of approximately 10,000 residents is known for being the home of Focaccia al Formaggio, Cheese Focaccia bread. Folklore says it was created during a Saracen attack in the 1200s. Residents used a bread recipe, added stracchino soft cheese and cooked it thin in olive oil and plenty of salt.
Sunday was a special Focaccia day in Recco.
Recco put on a celebration of all types of Ligurian Focaccia, generally believed to be the best Focaccia in Italy. And it was all FREE!
We hopped the train after 10am and arrived in Recco under heavy cloud cover.
We walked downhill
into the center of town for our first breakfast focaccia in Piazza Nicoloso. Our choices were Focaccia Normale o Forcaccia con Cipolle, plain or with onions. As we entered the Piazza,
We found this.
Not only were there Ducati Motorcycles for adults to admire, children were riding a junior version.
These kids were waiting for their parents to bring them their own focaccia while we were lined up for ours.
I chose Cipolle, onion topping. And it was delicious. From 10am until Noon, four locations were serving these two types of focaccia to all who wanted it. We enjoyed it so much we went in search of another locale, another bakery’s focaccia. And we found it across from an American Western Line Dance
Group? Yes, we did.
Country music was playing in this ancient town and the boots were stompin’.
We lined up for our own line dance to the next focaccia stand.
No, that’s not us.
Here we received one of each type of morning focaccia and it was even better than the last one.
Yum yum yum yum yum.
The olive oil went through the paper napkin almost immediately.
It was nearly Noon, and free focaccia was off for two hours. We waddled down to the beach area in an attempt to wear off some of that yummy, greasy gluten.
The sun was behind the clouds and fog.
Everyone was ignoring the weather and just enjoying the day. Again, these were mostly local people and others from not far away. Very few tourists were celebrating the deliciousness of both Ducati cycles and the best focaccia in Italy. Strolling along the sea, hunting stones and sea glass, taking photos of the day, it was just a simple pleasure.
Then a patch of beautiful blue sky peeked through the cloud cover. It was glorious.
The clouds triumphed over the blue sky rather quickly. We sat beneath of large beach umbrella and enjoyed an Aperol Spritz and the sea for a while. Some of the outdoor plans had to be cancelled but we knew the Cheese Focaccia Eating Contest would NOT be cancelled. As the rain lessened, we walked back to the main piazza
To witness the contestants eating a one kilo Focaccia al Formaggio. The first to finish wins!
The Ducati Kids bikes were not in use. Everyone was crammed under a portico to watch the spectacle.
Each contestant had their own water bottles and now each individual focaccia was delivered.
They are HUGE.
Keep eating, people.
We short people never did see which one finished first. But I think it was the one above with the black hat.
We walked between the raindrops in search of our next line. Focaccia al Formaggio was on the menu for the next meal. On our way to queue for our free food, we perused the Ducati Cycles next to our line.
I chatted with a woman who had come from Ivrea to enjoy this event. She was with her friends from Genova. Everyone was waiting for the famous cheese focaccia. The line moved quickly.
And now to taste it.
It was definitely tasty. And even though it was made with cheese, it tasted lighter. But if I had to choose, I personally prefer the traditional focaccia. How about you? Have you enjoyed these delicacies from Liguria? Would you want to participate in an event like this on your next visit?
It is an event like this that can enhance your vacation and help you to understand the local Italians away from the tourist locations. One of the advantages that I have as a professional travel arranger for Italian travel is that I actually LIVE in ITALY most of the year. I explore it for just such events as this one and others I have written about. I can help you to broaden your experience by finding special events for you. Let me know how I can help.
In the meantime, email me at Marilyn@takemehomeitaly.com for any professional assistance I can give you. Until then, dream of Italy!
Ciao for now!
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