Off the Beaten Path in the Province of Imperia

September 20, 2022

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When I search for off the beaten path towns in Liguria, I usually leave the sea behind and wander (with a driver or a car) into the hills and mountains of Liguria. The Province of Imperia is the closest area to France while in Liguria. Sanremo which we have visited is one of the cities by the sea. Let’s go into the hills and find spots nearly completely untainted by mass tourism.  Again, I have chosen to leave their names behind. Can you guess?

Town 1: 

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This tiny medieval fiefdom of only 2000 inhabitants overflows with history and ambiance. There have been settlers on this spot since the 5th century B.C.E. Much of what we see today was built in medieval times and is dominated by the Doria Castle. The Doria family has played an important role in this area and others in Liguria.

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Here we see the remains of the Doria Castle above. The inhabitants call this Tera in their own dialect.

This lovely town has a ghost story, the story of Lucrezia, a young bride-to-be who refused to participate in what is often called La Prima Notte,  which on the first night of being wedded, the bride must allow the overlord to sleep with her. This tragic behavior occurred across much of Europe in medieval times. And, of course, her refusal cost her her life. Now it is said she walks the streets of the city especially on her feast day, August 16th. La Michetta, a special bread roll, was created in her honor.  Learn more when we visit here.

Art is an integral part of life here these days. In the past, in the late 1800s, the town hosted two French artists, Renoir and Monet. Both were enamored with the charm of this locale. Monet actually painted several paintings of the view of the castle from the lowest part of town and over the  incredible arched bridge.

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Monet’s perspective was from this location.

We can explore a lovely, baroque church and walk the windy, sloped walkways.

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Will you walk with me?

We will enjoy a lunch nearby before heading off to other adventures.

Town 2:

800 metres above sea level, we will visit an ancient town with a long history. It’s position overlooks much of the Argentina Valley, sparsely populated and very green. The medieval archways, or portici, have supported the huge, stone structures since the Middle Ages. And what’s that enchanting scent? Someone is baking a special bread. 

One portico among many holding up each other’s walls.

There is a haunting beauty in this village. It feels as though time stands still.

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Ancient stone work near the top of the village.

A mystery haunts this town, a time of horror beyond belief for so many. Yet, it is based in truth. This village is often called The Salem of Italy. 



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One door as a reminder of the stories.

After two years of poor crops and near starvation in the 1500s, the local council and the people began to blame their plight on local witches. Approximately 30 women were jailed and tortured for 2 years, eventually being moved to Genoa. The trial of these so-called witches ended in 1589. No one knows for certain exactly what happened to them. 

Will you visit this town with me? It is possible to reach this town yourself by driving many switchback roads. If you prefer, I would love to have you join my small group to see these towns and others off the beaten path in Liguria. Contact me at for more information. 

Until then!

A dopo!

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