Cervo and Albenga, two More Hidden Gems in Western Liguria

September 6, 2022

As all who love Italy know, Italians take great pride in Italy and all the marvelous things it offers. Italy has designations for food and wine. They are more particular than any other country with those judgments and titles. They also have a designation for the best, most beautiful villages in all of Italy. 

We have already visited several of these borgi in Liguria, including Verezzi and Laigueglia. Today we will visit Cervo.

Who decides a town is worthy of the title of one of the most beautiful towns in Italy?  There is an association of Scientists who award the title. 

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First, there must be less than 15,000 inhabitants. 

Each town must have a harmony of appearance, historically significant style, preserving the heritage of the town, the historical construction.

There must be an artistic element and a high livability index.

There is an annual fee to keep the designation. These are some of the true hidden gems of Italy, off the beaten path and well worth a visit.

Cervo, a hilltop wonder overlooking the sea. 

A view from Cervo overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

When I first arrived at Cervo , we began our journey at the top. As we entered this ancient city, we passed alongside the castle.

The castle shown above.

As is typical in Liguria, the homes were welled cared for, and colored like dreamsicles, lemonade and popsicles.

Families have lived here for centuries in these medieval structures.

Arches and buttresses keep these homes standing.

In Genovese, we call these narrow streets, carruggi. I call them magical.

Each street has its own feeling, its own beauty.

And of course there is a church anchoring the souls of the people to the land.

Even with the hills of this town, the church peeks overhead.

The church itself is in the baroque style, with tiny, almost excessive detail everywhere.

Its prominent position overlooks the sea.

Far below us you can rest along the seaside. But first you must walk along very steep and narrow alleyways away from this gem of a town. 

Cervo is definitely a place off the beaten path for you to visit. Be prepared to walk up and down steep streets. Wear good shoes to help you walk on stone pathways and hold on as you walk down hill especially. 

Cervo will be a part of our Specialty Liguria Experience in May 2023.

Albenga, an ancient and surprising city.

Since Albenga has over 24,000 inhabitants it has too many people to qualify for the judges. For me, however, I enjoyed it very much.

This city is a mixture of ancient and 19th century structures. 

Above is the side of an ancient church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. The Cattedrale di San Michele Archangelo is the main church of Albenga and people have been worshiping on this spot since the late 300’s A.D. 

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This rendition of the church is completely medieval in design. It was built around 1100A.D. and updated in the 1200s. 

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Who ARE those creatures up near the rose window? If they are gargoyles, they are the strangest I have ever seen. They look like aliens. I was fascinated by them—I attempted to Google them for answers to what they represented. I looked from home too. I just have zero idea. But take a close look at them.

Nearby was the Baptistry along with other ancient structures.

It was built on even more ancient structures. Want to see a bit of what’s beneath it?

Peek at it.

Below is a stunning side window of the Baptistry.

After leaving this area behind we walked the medieval streets,

From light into darkness,

Along winding streets with flowers and hanging laundry.

I personally love the play of light and shadow under these support structures. How about you?

The slits of light add to the ambiance as does the tower above.

What a doorknob!

As we departed, I took the photo below of the remainder of the containment wall against modern vehicles, and laundry in the window of a 1900s building. Ah, Liguria.

As we say farewell to Albenga, I wish that I could show you all the places where I have adventured. For now, those will need to wait.

Note that Albenga will be a prominent town on the Specialty Liguria Experience in May of 2023. 

We will also enjoy a very special restaurant, winery, olive oil and herb business—all organic—and taste so much.

For now,

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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