Dolceaqua and the Val Nervia…
Having considered Dolceaqua as potential place to stay when planning this trip, we really had to pay it a visit.
Dolceacqua is one of the medieval villages of the Nervia valley, part of Liguria but fairly close to the French border. It is dominated over by the Doria’s castle, with the old part of the village called Terra on one side of the river and the newest part of the village, called Borgo, on the opposite bank across an old stone bridge. This scene featured in a number of paintings by Monet.
We chose not to get on to the autostrada but to take the scenic route along the coast road. We stopped along the way for breakfast and were pleasantly surprised by some of the coastal towns such as Bordighera (although shouldn’t have been as Lorenzo had been raving about them to us and he’s usually spot on!).
Our arrival into Dolceaqua did nothing to inspire us. Even as we were parking the car, we weren’t feeling enthralled by the place. But within minutes of entering its streets, studying it’s buildings and crossing the historical bridge, we fell in love with the place. The old part of town with the castle draws the tour groups, so although quaint and very pretty, it was a bit full-on. But exploring some of the other parts of the town, greeting the residents with a buongiorno, we soon felt at home.
Sad to leave but wanting to explore some of the towns higher up in the valley, we headed off. Having chosen a few backroads, there were a few hairy moments as we had to move off the narrow road to let other cars pass and also a turnaround because a tunnel we were to go through had collapsed and was blocked off. But the scenery was stunning and the pastel coloured villages perched on top of the hills spectacular.
Time to get home, so the autostrada was the quick way to go…..or so we thought! Not understanding / ignoring the Italian warning messages, we eventually came to a dead stop as both lanes were blocked due to an accident. We were fortunate not to be stuck in one of the many tunnels. Definitely a new experience walking on the autostrada where typically cars are cruising by at a mere 130km an hour! The truckies knew what to do – they set up their pots and pans to cook up some lunch. An hour later, we were on the go again, albeit slowly, and headed to the grocery store for some much needed provisions.