It’s over a week since we arrived at Colletta di Castelbianco in Liguria. We’ve been so busy exploring the area and meeting people that we haven’t had a chance to sit down and ponder let alone write any updates.
In and around Colletta
Once again, we decided on the direct route for making our way between our major destinations, so most of our trip from Orvieto was spent on the autostrada. We did manage to catch glimpses of the sea and the well-known pastel buildings rising up the hills in between tunnels as we made our way along the Italian Riviera. We were amazed as we headed slightly inland how quickly we reached large mountains – from coast to mountain in the area is less than 20 minutes’ drive.
Colletta di Castelbianco is an ancient village in the Maritime Alps and near the Italian Riviera in the province of Savona in Liguria, Italy. The village is entirely built of stone and was probably established as a defence against the Saracens in the 13th century.
Abandoned in the 1950s, in the late 1990s, Colletta embarked on a restoration project to restore the ancient settlement, respecting the original materials and building techniques. The village has been provided with a technological infrastructure to enable inhabitants to benefit from the widest possible range of telecommunications resources. In this way, they can enjoy the peace and isolation offered by the village while staying in touch with the work environment. Our apartment is owned by a couple who split their time between Manly, Australia and Colletta – they have their own business and are able to take advantage of the technology infrastructure.
On arrival in the village, we went to the bar in the central piazza to find Pablo – he was the one with the key and information to help us settle into our new home for the next 4 weeks. Pablo is Argentinian, with a good command of Spanish and Italian but less so of English (although his English is much better than he makes out!). In English, Italian and sign language we managed a couple of coffees and snacks before heading down to “Olivo” the name of our apartment to settle in.
The village is beautifully situated in the mountains – we woke up on the first day and were in awe as we looked out the window – but close to restaurants. In fact, there is a very upmarket restaurant – Ristorante Scola – just 400m down the road. We have already visited it and will surely do so again. It was amazing walking back up the middle of the road in the dark of night looking up at the stars! There are small supermarkets and bars about 10km away – one lovely one called Pasqualini, where one of what appears to be a popular local coffee is roasted. There is also a lovely pool on site – open until the end of September but we’re not brave enough to swim as the temperatures have dropped to the low 20s.
Walking in Castelbianco
Colletta is part of a “commune” of six hamlets and villages called Castelbianco. There is a road linking the villages that is a nice 7km loop – perfect for a morning run! Going anti-clockwise, the first 1km is flat/down, the next 2km is UP, UP, UP, with the final stretch being a steep down. A bit challenging but oh so beautiful!! And amazing to be able to see Colletta from high above.
There are also half a dozen marked bush / road trails in the area, linking the villages and some ancient sites and buildings. Our first weekend in Colletta, we set out to explore these, avoiding the craziness that is likely to exist on the seaside promenades on a Saturday & Sunday.