Moneglia by the Sea, Come Along with Me

August 11, 2020

It was a last-minute decision to visit Moneglia this week. I have wanted to go to Moneglia, another dei borgi piu belli d’Italia, another of the most beautiful towns in Italy, but I was planning to wait a while. 

However, it was so hot inside my un-air-conditioned apartment that I could not take it anymore. I found Hotel Italia in Moneglia, a 20-minute train ride away, and I booked it for 3 nights. It has air conditioning and is a short walk to the beach.

Ecco mi qua! Here I am! Let’s cool off in the clear blue waters of the sea and then explore. 

After checking into my little, traditional 2-star hotel, I donned my swimsuit and headed 2 blocks down this street pictured below

to the beach. Luckily, I found a space on the free beach. Even on the free beach there are posts marking   social distancing at 2 meters apart (over 6ft.) showing where you can set up your chair or towels. There is also a beach monitor person at the entry and hand sanitizer for your use before entering. I was one of the last people to get a spot on the sand. The tiny free area is where you see the umbrellas and towels in the photo below.

The sticks mark where a person can set up their umbrella if they have one and put down their towel or blanket. As far as the eye can see are spaced out umbrellas along the sea, a blu flag sea, one proven to be among the cleanest, ecologically sound beaches in Italy. (See the blue flag among others on the photo below.)

This trip I was alone. I left my towel and bag and headed into the water. I walked out into the cool water up to my neck and turned around.

The view whichever way I looked was quite stunning. Above the colored structures along the seaside is Castello Monreale, a 19th Century construction. It is not open for viewing but the exterior is definitely worth a look. Below is a close-up.

Looking the other direction from the sea is filled with a church, a winery, medieval ruins, and greenery.

My body was feeling fabulous in the 90-degree heat (33 Celsius). My eyes were filled with beauty. My heart was overflowing with the sweetness of families and friends together, enjoying their lives.

Leave it to the Italians to stand in knee deep water and talk forever.

The teens had two different palla volo (volleyball) games going right next to one another. If you look closely you will see both balls in the air in the photo above.

Families were together. On the second morning when I went back, I saw even more people. But, as per usual, by mezzogiorno, noon, the sea nearly emptied. Everyone returned to their umbrellas, unpacked their lunches, and rested in the shade until after 1pm. Mamma packs a lunch! And you must rest at least ½ hour before returning to the water. I nearly had the sea to myself. Slowly they returned.

The first day, I arrived at la spiaggia, the beach, late in the day and only stayed an hour. The second morning I arrived around 1015am and stayed until 130 or so. It was over 90 when I left the seaside and walked along the promenade. The salty water had cooled me off enough for me to wander centro storico, the center of town, and explore the medieval area. 

After walking beside what is now the town’s Pro Loco,

(I’m not sure what it was in medieval times.)

And into the main street of the center,

Filled with unique buildings,

Like the one above which had the symbol of St. George killing the dragon,

I saw the Church ahead.

This church had begun construction in the 1100s and more was added around 1700AD. As I turned the corner, I discovered the Oratory of the Flagellants adjacent to the church, constructed in the 10th Century. (I hope I wasn’t one of them in a past life!)

On the side of this tangerine and white church is a plaque honoring Moneglia’s participation in the war between Genova (Genoa) and Pisa, arch enemies of old, in 1284 at the battle of Meloria. But the plaque says 1290. Which is correct? Chissa?  Who knows? 

The left side of the plaque is again St. George, the patron saint of Genova, slaying the Dragon and on the right side it pictures Corrado Doria, the leader of the Genovese Fleet. 

Below is a closeup of the Oratory with an arched pathway at its side.

I found wandering these streets fascinating. It was hot and quiet, not too many travelers or locals out at 2pm on a hot August day. But we don’t mind the heat today, do we? Below is a gorgeous medieval example of a caruggio, a typical narrow street, with no one on it.

The next colorful street curves and keeps us cool in the shade. Everyone’s in the shadows. 

And what would you call the color of this house with its garage-like entry?

It’s not really red, is it?

Somehow, I ended up in an open area and back near a main street. Below is a photo of the building for the local winery.

At the bottom of the winery are the remains of a broken wall 

and ancient structures.

If we go along behind them and back up on the Promenade, we will reach another famous spot in Moneglia, Il Castello di Villa Franca on the ancient Roman road, Via Aurelia. 

In 774, the town was called Monila. It had become a part of the Roman Empire centuries before that. However, in 774, Charlemagne gave this land and castle to the Abbey in Bobbio for trade. It was centuries before Moneglia became part of Genova Province.

This had been a good deal of walking in the heat. I think I need to head down the hill and find an establishment offering adult beverages like Aperol Spritz.

Back into the medieval town we go where I find more than I have been seeking.

It was time to cool down with a drink and a think on where to go the following day.

The next morning I did a bit of a walk-around before going to the sea once again.

I felt like I was in a tropical paradise with all these palms lining this street.

After about 90 minutes in the sun and water, I headed back to my air-conditioned hotel to work and wait until later to go out exploring once again.

The entire town is lovely, just lovely.

These two places are near my hotel. Mine is not as fancy, or striking. But the air conditioning kicks it out well. I will search in the evening for La Chiesa di San Giorgio, St. George’s Church. I saw if from the sea with its striped marble exterior and clock tower. 

I want to enter inside and see the tribute to St. George killing the dragon. 

Here is St. George, above and below.

That dragon is definitely dying.

Yes, I did have the opportunity to see inside this medieval church, updated during the 1500s with the striped marble on the exterior. This ceiling art piece below really caught my eye. 

Were there ever really dragons? I am beginning to believe in St. George. I do live in the Genova Province and he is our saint. We’ve seen depictions of him killing the beast at three different places in Moneglia in the last couple days. What do you think? This one is a particularly good one. 

La Chiesa di San Giorgio was filled with art. I spent a good amount of time inside. But the fresh air was calling. I went back outdoors where there is also a calming covered portico area adjacent to the church. It is a place to relax and reflect. 

I think Moneglia is a delightful, colorful town deserving of the description of one of Italy’s most beautiful towns.

The beaches are actually quite clean and comfortable too. Earning the honor of the blu flag for the beach area 20 years in a row is exceptional. 

Tomorrow I must return to Chiavari. I don’t mind. 

I am such a short distance away. I can return any time. I hope you have enjoyed your time with me on the journey to Moneglia. Let me know what you thought of it or if you would like to spend some time here.

Until next time, stay healthy and happy.

A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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