August 31, 2022
In the Hills or Hinterlands of Western Liguria there is a little town where few locals remain. Their children and grandchildren moved away for work. The name of the town is Valloria. It has been inhabited for centuries. Its original Latin name was Vallis Aurea which meant “Valley of Gold.” This was the liquid, yellow gold of the olive oil of the area. The trees were everywhere, and the people were thriving from their sale and uses of the oil. In the 1700s, 360 people lived in Valloria. In the mid-20th Century, there were only 30 remaining residents.
A local association began developing tourism in Valloria that helped to bring the return of young people and others. The main tourist attraction, and why I visited Valloria originally is apparent as you begin to wander the streets.
Art! International artists, both well-known and up and coming, have painted nearly every door in this Medieval enclave. Here is a bit of the flavor of Valloria as a frienda and I wandered through the little hill town.
I have never seen anything quite like it. The door below is unforgettable.
We walked along medieval streets, some painted like below,
Seeking out the next work of art.
And the next.
Is it a doorway or a place to sit?
We turn a corner and, before even noticing the doors, we see the incredible views.
Walking along ancient pathways, up and down the hills.
This gentleman, carrying vegetables, leaving his home, is one of my favorites from Vallonia.
The playful painting for the barn doors above brings a smile to my face. I can almost hear the laughter of the children.
The multiple styles of art used on these doors gives a visitor like me a taste of the varied styles of modern art available for all to enjoy. I loved the almost steam punk feel on this door.
I was seriously impressed by this work of art.
I have so many more door photos. Those traveling on my Specialty Liguria Experience will be visiting Valloria. There is so much more to see. But if you plan to go on your own, it is difficult to find and the drive is a winding, narrow road, off the beaten path.
On my first visit to Sanremo my friend and I visited without doing any research. I knew there were beaches.
I knew there was an exclusive gambling establishment.
But this city is so much more.
Sanremo is known as the capitol city of the Riviera dei Fiori, a section of the Italian Riviera known for its flower industry and excellent climate for growing them. There were flower shops everywhere.
I wish I could have taken this bouquet home.
I had also read that there was a Russian Orthodox Church near the gambling casino. I wanted to see that if possible. We chatted with locals, asking for directions and off we sauntered, exploring along the way.
Note the well-maintained, stylish homes and the gorgeous sculpture in the center of the street. See the detail below.
We wandered through neighborhoods.
Where the locals lived, did laundry and shopped. They also cooled off near the fountains just as we did on this sweltering, hot day.
Up and down interesting side streets.
Where ancient doorways were turned into marketing displays,
While others remained intact.
We also found shopping streets with all the top name brands and people galore.
Intermingled with the top brands were up and coming labels, unique twists on typical offerings.
We did some window shopping along the way. I think it is almost a requirement of a visit to Sanremo. But our goal was to find that Russian Orthodox church. We just wanted to see it.
What an architectural treasure!
We paid a donation and went inside.
The artwork within this church would inspire almost anyone to be contemplative.
The angels in each corner
Protect the believers
During ritual prayer.
Ancient artifacts of the church are everywhere
including the Black Madonna and Child.
Visiting this holy place was a spectacular surprise. I would highly recommend it to art lovers, and all those who seek peace within. Those traveling on my Specialty Liguria Experience will visit the church and walk with me to see the shopping, the flowers, and so much more.
Of course, people generally do not come to San Remo for churches. Where’s the beach or beaches?
Across from these gorgeous constructions you will find some sandy beaches.
And rocky beaches.
They are all along the city. In Liguria there is no shortage of seashore. We will spend time worshiping the sun on one of these gorgeous beaches, weather permitting.
Ristorante Vesuvio was in the heart of the shopping district. We stopped and enjoyed pasta. And it felt good to be sitting for a bit. During and after our meal we chatted with the family owners who were originally from Naples.
San Remo is almost a direct opposite to Valloria. Yet in both places we met local Italians, experienced awe from our surroundings and discovered more of the many glorious characteristics of Liguria.
I hope you all enjoyed traveling with me. Liguria is such a splendid region of Italy and, for so many Americans, unknown except for Cinque Terre. Wouldn’t you enjoy exploring it with me further?
Write to me with questions about a journey to these places, the Specialty Liguria Experience, or travel planning at Marilyn@TakeMeHomeItaly.com.
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