Nestled in the Nervia Valley in the region of Liguria, is the charming town of Dolceacqua. Dolceacqua is located 120km southwest of Genoa and is extremely close to the French border. The agricultural region is renowned for its fruitful olive groves and vineyards. Dolceacqua is tucked away, from the hustle and bustle of the Italian Riviera. It delivers its own sense of calmness and beauty in comparison to its neighboring hectic seaside towns.
The town of Dolceacqua is split into two sections, old, “Terra” (land) and new, “Borgo” (village). The old section of Terra is what captivates Dolceacqua’s visitors. Easily explored by foot, the old town will have you meandering through dark narrow alleyways lined with cobblestone paths. Explore the art galleries within private courtyards, where sunlight peeps through the fractured cracks of the walls. The cooler temperature inside the town’s facade emanates, as a result of stone houses and walls.
The zig-zagged steep climb toward the top of Terra, is not a tiring one. Instead, it is a pleasant hike welcomed by Castello dei Doria. Adhered to the hilltop it sits upon, the historic castle from the 12th century is Dolceacqua’s centerpiece. At one of the entrances to the castle, La Fresque des Doria (The Doria Fresco), depicts life as it was in the castle in early time. These large stone images reveal rich history and tradition. Originally belonging to and named after the Doria family, the castle’s grand stature can be viewed from miles away. From the top towers, a sweeping panorama of the lush green surrounding hills of the Nervia Valley is inescapable.
Alongside the castle, another feature of this alluring town is its medieval humped bridge. Built in the 15th century the pedestrian-only bridge, divides the old and the new parts of Dolceacqua and oversees the Nervia River. It’s no wonder famous French impressionist painter Claude Monet, captured the irrevocable beauty of this bridge and town. In 1884, inspiration from the commune of Bordighera, lead him to Dolceacqua, where he painted four works of art, incorporating the bridge and the castle, which remarkably resemble the untouched town as it still is today.
Strolling through the stonework maze of this little gem is serene. Yes, you may reach a dead-end street or get lost within the intricacy of alleyways, but in the end, you just may stumble upon something sweet or surprising or a local, who simply would love to chat.
How to get to Dolceacqua?
– A10 Motorway – motorway exit in Ventimiglia, before the French border. Pass through Ventimiglia and follow the road signs to Sanremo. After about 10 minutes you will see the road signs to Dolceacqua. Arrive there in another 10 minutes.
–Aurelia SS1 – state road that leads along the Ligurian coast. When you arrive in Ventimiglia, turn into road SP64 that leads along River Nervia, directly into Dolceacqua.
– line 7 from Ventimiglia. It is about 7 km to Dolceacqua
–arrive by train to Ventimiglia and then take the bus line 7.
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