A warm welcome to our dear friends and readers,
We are delighted to have you with us and hope you will enjoy our second newsletter, filled with interesting facts and news on history, culture, art and nature.
Now that the year is drawing to its close, it is time to indulge in the joys of the season and share with friends and family.
You may well leave your winter coat behind and enjoy the mild temperatures, the colours of the Mediterranean Sea and the beauty of the mountains instead. The various local landscapes invite to be explored on foot or bike and are balm for the soul.
For many of us visiting a Christmas market, the scent of mulled wine and hot chocolate, the home baked biscuits and roasted almonds are a must during the festive season. Admiring the festive decorations, a visit to the opera, a classical concert or a planetarium are wonderfully seasonal experiences and not to be missed here in Liguria.
And what to do if there should be a rainy day? Not to worry – there is plenty to do for body and soul. A visit to a local Spa would be just one of the many options.
Another most enjoyable way to explore local wine and cuisine is to enroll in a wine or cooking class. Liguria is the region of colours, scents and flavours and the vast variety of vegetables, fresh fish or game, the excellent olive oils and exquisite wines want to be savoured.
Whatever takes your fancy – the Ligurian cuisine has it catered for.
We would also like to keep you updated on our latest property news and kindly ask you to get in touch with any queries you may have. Or take a look at our website. We would be delighted to assist or answer any questions once a property has caught your eye.
Our newsletter also welcomes all of you, who have lived in this beautiful area for a while and remain open to new ideas and discoveries.
Peggy Peters, TERRA ITALIA
Winter is an attractive time to come to Liguria. It remains pleasantly warm and Italy’s first Queen, Margarethe von Savoyen much enjoyed staying in Bordighera at the beginning of the 20th century. Her winter residence on Via Romana in Bordighera and the monument just a few meters away from Cape Sant’Ampelio, commemorate her stays in this area. It is this heritage, which made the “Riviera dei Fiori” so famous. And the novel “Doctor Antonio” by Giovanni Ruffini first published in 1855 in Edinburgh introduced the idea of exchanging the long dark English winter with the much more pleasant weather on the Ligurian coast to members of the English society.
TERRA ITALIA’s Restaurant Recommendation:
“La Veranda” in the Grand Hotel del Mare, Bordighera
For a special treat at the end of or even for a full day, we recommend the excellent and versatile cuisine at the “La Veranda” restaurant. During the month of December, Christmas or for New Year’s Eve the restaurants offers special festive menus to mark the day. Or you may wish to take a seat in the grand hall and feast on home made cakes and seasonal biscuits.
What does your favourite Christmas look like? Most people turn to tradition and celebrate Christmas surrounded by friends and family, with or without the giving of presents. But Christmas is also known as the celebration of love, be it the love for family or the love of good food – or both. It is in any event, a cause for celebration and wants to be enjoyed. Our special tip for the festive days is the Grand Hotel del Mare where a Buffet laden with seafood delicacies awaits you on Christmas Eve followed by a traditional Christmas cake. There is also the festive à la carte Dinner with live music on 25th December or the à la carte menu on 26th December, again accompanied by live music. The New Years Eve Gala Dinner with live music will take you elegantly into the near year, which you may also wish to greet with a “royal breakfast.
Take a look at https://ghmresort.com/en/happy-holidays/ and be inspired by the elegance and magic of these festive events – a perfect excuse to treat yourself to a special dress, not necessarily in black! In Italy, the colour red plays an important role on New Year’s Eve and as a good luck charm for the coming year, one should always wear a red garment or accessory.
Wine and olive oil are certainly the most celebrated Ligurian high quality products and exported all over the world. Yet the scents, variety, colours and aromas of the Ligurian Riviera are also reflected in the most simple of local recipes. Using not much more than seasonal vegetables cooked with pure olive oil made out of the black Taggiasca olive was historically known as the “poor people’s food”. The Taggiasca olive is not too big with a small pip yet its “juice” thanks to its extraordinary quality, is more than just an oil. It is liquid gold. Vittorio Cassini holds olive oil tastings in Seborga – so why not take a look at his web page: http://www.vittoriocassini.it/.
If you like wines you should head for the local wine tastings just above Dolceacqua where you can also sample many other local products.
A wine tasting on site of a local winemaker is a fantastic experience and highly recommended. We suggest a visit to TERRE BIANCHE in Dolceacqua.
In our beautiful area you will predominantly find the majestic “Rossese di Dolceacqua”, a noble D.O.C. wine with a full aroma and soft taste. One of the white D.O.C. wines is the golden “Vermentino”, known for its dry fruity taste and the yellowish “Pigato” with a slightly more astringent note.
Why not visit http://terrebianche.com and make an appointment. Enjoy!
In Northern Europe ‘Stollen’ and ginger flavoured cakes are seasonal favourites and an Italian Christmas would not be the same without “Panettone”.
Below is the recipe to get you in the mood:
Serves 12; 285 kcal per portion….but then, who wants to count calories when it’s Christmas?
400g plain flour
1 sachet dry yeast
100g sugar, pinch of salt
1 teaspoon unwaxed lemon zest
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
1/8 l water
50g mixed candied fruits
Combine the flour, dried yeast and sugar; add a pinch of salt and the lemon zest; scrape out the pulp of the vanilla bean and add. Cut the margarine into cubes and place on top of the flour; add the egg yolks and knead all ingredients into a soft dough. Add small amounts of tepid water when needed. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Add the fruit mix, raisins and sultanas and knead into the dough. Cover and let it sit for another 20 minutes. Take a high baking form of 16 cm diameter, line it with butter and baking paper. Knead the dough again, place into the baking tin and let it prove in a warm place until doubled in size.
Heat the oven to 175°. Score the panettone crosswise and bake on the lowest shelf for 20 minutes. Brush the melted butter over the top of your panettone and bake for another 25-30 minutes. Once taken out of the oven, let it cool in the form, tip over and remove the backing paper.
Do you like spending time in fresh air, exploring woodlands and mountains? Or would you rather visit medieval villages with their ancient churches, houses and spires, clinging firmly to sloping hills? Whether you like walking on the coast or cycle through untouched nature where you hardly meet a soul but can listen to the silence of the mountains – we’ll take you there.
If you would like to explore the Ligurian winter on one of the stunningly beautiful hiking routes, why not visit us in our office in Dolceacqua. We will provide you with the best insider tips on the most beautiful hiking tours or can put you in touch with Jack the Green, our English speaking guide. He can show you and your friends the hidden gems of the Ligurian Alps. Once you have let us known your preferences, he can provide you with the perfect hiking tour to suit your interests.
Jack in the Green www.crestediconfine.com
If you prefer horseback riding to bike riding, you should head for the Riding School and Race Court in Sanremo. The 18-hole Sanremo Golf course awaits the keen golfer and in Castellaro a 9-hole golf course invites for a round of golf. Both golf courses remain open throughout the year. The area has plenty of tennis courts and boule lanes; softball and baseball lawns can be found everywhere. If swimming is your sport you can find public pools in Bordighera, Sanremo and Imperia. Before long, the sea will be warm enough again for you to enjoy watersports of all kinds.
Wintersport and ski enthusiasts will find all their wishes catered for in Limone where winter excursions, Alpine flair, beautiful slopes and Après Ski is available in abundance. The Riserva Bianca is well connected by train or car.
To be respectful to the beautiful nature, Limone is a car free zone.
One suggestion would be to visit the mountain village Perinaldo, also known as the stage to the solar system. Perinaldo, situated majestically nearly 600 m above sea level, shaped like a horseshoe and a protected landmark, enjoys breathtaking views over the French-Ligurian Alps to the north and the Mediterranean Sea in the south.
It was the backdrop to the life of Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712), the forefather of a much respected dynasty of astrologers and cartographers. After his beginnings as astronomer in Bologna, he later moved to Paris where he served Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. The astronomers and cartographers Giacomo Filippo Maraldi (1665-1729) and Gian Domenico Maraldi (1709-1788), both working in Paris as well as the cartographer, engraver and heraldist for the Duke of Savoyen are also sons of Perinaldo.
A discovery path with plenty of astronomical information about the solar system and a permanent exhibition “Sun and Time” is dedicated to the great scientist. The space probe ‘Cassini’ named after him, entered Saturn’s solar system on 1st July 2014.
Exhibitions: Sun and Time; Cassini Museum; Sun garden; Garden of the Stars; Cassini Meridian with floor markings and information panels.
For further information, please get in touch with us or with the astronomic observatory “Stellaria” www.astroperinaldo.it
or the tourist office/municipal office Perinaldo www.Perinaldo.org
The Strade Nuovo and the System Palazzi dei Rolli are a UNESCO World Heritage Site which includes a number of streets and palaces in the center of Genova.
The ‘Strade Nuove’ (Italian for “New Streets”) is a network of streets built by the Genoese aristocracy during the expansion of the city at a time when the Republic of Genova was at the height of its financial and seafaring power.
These are Via Guiseppe Garibaldi (1558-1583, formerly Strada Maggiore or Strada Nuova) and Via Balbi (1602-1620, formerly Strada Balbi), later followed by Via Cairoli (1778-1886, formerly Strada Nuovissima).
The Palazzi dei Rolli are a group of palaces – most of which also date back to the 16th and early 17th centuries – which were associated to a particular system of ‘pubic lodging’ in private residences, whereby notable guests on State visit to the Republic, were hosted in one of these palaces on behalf of the State.
Why not spend a day in beautiful Monaco and end the visit with a night out at the opera? The Opéra de Monte Carlo also known as the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo is the opera house of the Principality of Monaco. This stunningly beautiful building designed by Charles Garnier was opened in 1879 as a private Theatre for the Monarch of Monaco and his family. The ‘Salle Garnier’ is a miniature replica of the Paris Opera Garnier, the Opéra National in Paris, which was built under Napoleon III.
In 1871 the architect Charles Garnier decided to build a Villa in Bordighera, close to the Arziglia. This elegant villa later served as the blueprint for the architecture found on the Ligurian Riviera and the Cote d’Azur. The villa is surrounded by beautiful palm trees and sun flooded terraces. Also in the garden, stands a bust of Charles Garnies created by the French sculptor Jean Baptiste Carpeaux and a column taken from the Palais des Tuilleries in Paris. In 1954 the villa has been passed on to the congregation of the Aosta St Joseph Sisterhood and is open to visitors. Just ring the doorbell!
Film enthusiasts feeling passionate about bringing dreams to life and those who take a liking to films from the past and today, will be delighted to find the Cristallo Cinema in Dolceacqua or Cinema Ariston in Sanremo. Both cinemas show films in their original version with Italian subtitles once or twice a month.
My personal recommendation for a fun way to learn Italian is to watch Italian films in the original version.
The cinema Zeni and Olimpia in Bordighera should also feature high up on your list of cinemas.
In any case, we are looking forward to your opinion on the selected films and wish you a good cinema experience!
Not only is Ventimiglia the last Italian town when approaching the French border, it also hosts the largest weekly market in Italy.
Every Friday the largest weekly regional market takes place in Ventimiglia and the variety of goods and regional produce is vast and will have something for every taste and price bracket. From the latest cashmere accessories to affordable hand made leather goods – the market has it all and is the perfect backdrop for people watching or taking photos.
The Ventimiglia weekly market is the only market open until 6.00 pm.
Other markets you might like to visit and open until 1.00 pm:
- – Every Tuesday: Markets in Diano Marina and San Lorenzo al Mare
- – Every Thursday: Market in Bordighera along the beach promenade
- – Every Wednesday and Saturday: Market in Imperia Oneglia near the market hall
Every Saturday: Market in San Remo, on the Piazza Erol Sanremesi
SEASONAL EVENTS AND CHRISTMAS MARKETS
In addition to convivial Christmas markets, numerous concerts are part of the Christmas program. Classical Christmas music in medieval churches gives concerts a mystical, romantic and festive atmosphere. The year draws to a close, with the display of cribs in churches, many musical events and children’s performances – almost everywhere.
The time of Advent brings people closer and traditions to life. The Christmas spirit can be felt throughout Liguria and a visit to one of the many attractive and delicious Christmas Markets is a must. The mild climate and sea breeze may be in contrast to the traditional longings of a white Christmas but the captivating atmosphere of the local Christmas is inviting and the perfect place to find the right presents for friends and family.
Christmas spirit starting in the first week of December on the Quai Albert 1er where you will find local craft and regional specialities.
Opening times: Sunday to Thursday 11.00 am to 10.30 pm and Fridays and Saturdays to 11.00 pm.
The tradition of creating nativity scenes allegedly goes back to the holy Frances of Assisi who once celebrated a holy mess in front of a crib, which was met with admiration. Ever since the 14th century nativity scenes were introduced all over Italy. From December 8th to the end of January, the village of Manarola in the Cinque Terre will be illuminated at night in a variety of colours and a large and beautiful crib will be put on display. The houses of Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso were built on impressively steep rock faces high above the crystal clear sea. Exposed to the pleasant scents and views over their surroundings, they create a unique landscape.
Another local tradition is the Christmas Bonfires throughout the Nervia Valley, held in Dolceacqua, Apricale, Isolabona or in the Roccetta Nervina. People gather over a glass of wine to chat and absorb the atmosphere.
From the slopes straight to the Christmas Market? You can do just that, in Limone in Piemont.
The welcoming ambience of the elegant and luxurious Hotel del Mare in Bordighera will make you feel at home as soon as you set foot through the door. The modern Wellness Center offers the perfect place where to relax and get pampered and the perfect end after a day out exploring. A relaxing massage or a facial, followed by a healthy cocktail packed with vitamins in one of the comfortable loungers – a treat that is hard to resist.
Why not end the day over a good glass of wine with a good book by your side – The combination of Wine and literature make a perfect pair.
Our book suggestion: “ Doctor Antonio” by Giovanni Ruffini written in English.