I love the small towns and villages in Italy. One of the reasons I like Dolceacqua so much is because it is not particularly known as a tourist destination.
Perched high on a hilltop in Liguria, Dolceacqua is one of Italy’s small towns above the hills of the seaside resort city of San Remo, not far from the French border As this picturesque city first comes into view from the road, it is truly a sight to behold, even at a distance. I am able to make out the outline of the remnants of a castle rising high above anything else. Of course this means stopping the car and getting out to take some photos from that vantage point.
Less than 1000 families call Dolceacqua home and the ones I met could not have been friendlier, even happily posing for photos when asked.
Surrounding the town are lush green terraced vineyards which produce the popular Dolceacqua wines, the specialty being Rossesse di Dolceacqua, a dry red wine. Two of the most interesting landmarks in Dolceacqua are the Doria castle and the Dolceacqua Bridge.
The Doria castle, which was built in the 11th century, belonged to the Doria family for 300 years beginning with the year 1270 when the Genoa captain Oberto Doria purchased the property. Throughout the years the castle sustained much damage through invasions and natural disasters. In the 15th century the castle was attacked and damaged by a neighboring king, and the following century it was destroyed during the Austrian occupation. In 1887 a massive earthquake in Liguria badly damaged the castle.
Recently restored, the castle now belongs to the town of Dolceacqua and some areas of the castle are currently used for wedding receptions and other events. The town makes use of a conference room where art workshops and exhibits are held. A projection room screens movies to educate the public on the cultural aspects of castles.
One of the most celebrated bridges in Italy is the Dolceacqua Bridge and the reason for its fame is the fact that it was the subject of a famous painting by the French impressionist, Monet. He painted Bridge at Dolceacqua in 1884 and the original painting is at the Sterling & Francine Clark Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The Dolceacqua Bridge spans the Nervia River connecting the old town called Terra to the newer more modern part of Dolceacqua. The bridge had been rebuilt on what had remained of a bridge which had collapsed in the 15th century. The bridge is 33 meters (a little over 36 yards) long and the winding cobblestoned walkway to reach it lends itself to a very impressive view. Naturally another amazing photo opportunity for me. Although I am not a painter I surely appreciate why Monet chose this as the subject of his painting.
Have you been to Liguria?I’d love to hear about your experience, so please leave a comment.
Grazie and ciao.