Any excuse to spend some time across the border, really!
A mere 4 hours driving from our beloved Provence, we can always be relied upon to join in on a voyage of discovery across the border, especially when FOOD and WINE are involved! Anyway, a few weeks ago, it was deemed time. Time for Italy, for food, for wine, for adventure. We didn’t have to go very far into Liguria to find it, either. Time to introduce you to the charms of Apricale!
Where is Apricale exactly ?
Classified as one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, the medieval village of Apricale is situated at 273 metres above sea level in the Nervia Valley in the Province of Liguria.
The nearest airport is Nice, which is only at about 55 km from Apricale! From Nice, take the motorway A8 towards Gênes/Genova. Take the exit Ventimiglia and once you are in Ventimiglia follow the signs to San Remo. Pass the busy centre of Ventimiglia. At the end of the main road you will see, on your left, the remains of a roman theatre, continue over the bridge (the railway runs underneath) and at the first roundabout take a left into the Val Nervia. Follow signs to Dolceacqua and after that to Isolabona. From there take a right over a little bridge and come up the hill for 3 km to Apricale. Make sure however you park your car upon arrival on one of the designated parking lots below the village because the streets are so narrow and steep you need a ‘porto bagagli’ to get your luggage to the place you stay. I almost envy the hotel receptionists in Apricale! 🙂
The Name Apricale
The name Apricale derives from the Latin ‘Apricus’ which means exposed to the sun. Apricale is a little borough, named in this way by its wonderful position, so opened and sunny, built following the flexuous rock on which the Ventimiglia Earls, before passing to the Doria family, erected the famous castle of the Lizard.
A stroll through the village
The steepness of the slopes has forced the construction of steep and narrow stairs , replaced by stepped ramps to connect the streets in concentric circles; frequent covered walkways that connect the opposite sides of the houses, the frequent squares, magnificent views from the sunny valleys that surround it make the visit a pleasant walk through history and greenery. Apricale has about 650 inhabitants and in its glory days more than 2000. There are more people living in the village but many of them now own second homes and stay here for a few weeks or months per year. As always, you can click on each picture to see enlarged!
Apricale’s village square
The ‘piazza’ (square) is still the central meeting point for the inhabitants. On beautiful days it is a perfect place for outdoor dining in one of the two restaurants. We decided to have lunch on the terrace of Bar Trattoria ‘A Ciassa’, simply because the tables and tableware looked so attractive.
And then came the food…and the wine…SIMPLY DIVINE!
Our place to stay in Apricale
Oh Lord, so many choices! Even with Diesel! Where do I start??? And whenever I think THAT, I simply go to booking.com and start comparing quality /price and let myself be seduced by the pictures and comments of previous visitors. And that’s how we decided to book at ‘MuntaeCara Albergo Diffuso’. A place we can highly recommend (even though our bathroom was VERY pink!) 🙂
This “Scattered Hotel” Muntaecara (“Up and down” in Ligurian dialect) in Apricale offers a new and exclusive form of hospitality. The splendid suites and rooms have been obtained restoring the ancient houses in the old village centre. You are given a warm welcome in ancient towers, old cellars and noble residences scattered all over the suggestive village centre (a pedestrian area), up and down narrow lanes enclosed between medieval stone walls. Your stay is simply transformed into an unforgettable experience in a place of great historical value with a magic atmosphere. I will let the pictures do the talking 🙂
Some more general impressions of this lovely medieval village