TERRA ITALIA Newsletter No 2 | 2021
Dear Readers and Fans of Liguria,
The year is nearly out and many of us feel the need to catch up on lost time by going travelling, spending time with friends and family or enjoying a meal out in a restaurant. The latest property statistics of 2021 show a strong interest particularly among Northern and Middle Europeans of owning a property in the sun. Liguria rates highly on this scale and many houses have changed hands over the past year.
It is reliably mild climate, the advantage of having the sea and mountains on the doorstep and the convenience of being able to reach Liguria by car as well as the close proximity to the French Riviera opening up the possibility to experience two cultures that make this area particularly attractive.
By keeping you up to date on our latest property portfolio and the latest news and attractions this region has to offer, we would like to invite you to explore the dream of finding your property in the sun.
We wish you a most enjoyable festive season.
With this newsletter, we would like to take you on a little tour through Ventimiglia – the last town on the Riviera of Flowers before the French border. Ventimiglia is situated right on the coast, west of Bordighera and Vallecrosia and has affiliated strong ties with this region over many years of eventful history.
The river Roia separates Ventimiglia’s old town “Alta” from the rest of the city. A number of bridges connect the various parts of town.
The urban flair of Ventimiglia with its 25,000 inhabitants reflects the two cultures and its proximity to the Côte d’Azur. Ventimiglia has so much more to offer than just the mild climate Liguria is known for.
In 180 BC the Romans founded the town of “Albium Intenelium” named after the Ligurian tribe of “Interneli”. Later, it changed into Albintimilium and even later into Ventimiglia. The common knowledge that the name Ventimigila derives from the Italian number “twenty (in Roman XX) Miles” is therefore not correct.
For the Romans, Ventimiglia was an important location along the “Via Julia Augusta” connecting with Gallia. In the 10th century the town was captured and destroyed several times by the Sarazenes and during the 10th century became residence of the Duke of Ventimiglia. In 1505 Ventimiglia fell under the reign of Genova and later became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1814.
More than 2000 years of history and a rich architectural heritage give Ventimiglia its unique atmosphere.
Shortly before the border with France the impressive Balzi Rossi Caves can be found situated on a cliff with views over the sea. The people who inhabited these caves some 25,000 years ago, adorned the walls with drawings nowhere else to be found in Italy.
Equally impressive is the Villa Hanbury surrounded by the well-known botanical garden, home to plants from all over the world.
a Voyage in Time
So many treasures going back centuries are dotted around the old town of Ventimiglia. Situated on a hilltop, the easiest way to get there is by foot.
One of the most valuable monuments is the “Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta”, built around 1000 and dedicated to Assumption Day. The apses, the octagonal christening chapel and its portal dating back to 1222 makes it one of the most prestigious religious buildings of the romantic period in Liguria.
Close to the old town gate “Porta Piemonte” there is an equally impressive church originating from the romantic period. The “Chiesa San Michele” built in the 10th century served as chapel “Cappell Gentilizia” for the aristocracy and Duke of VentimigliaI. In the 11th century the monks of the Benedictine order took over the church, built a clock tower and renovated the nave. During one of the later renovations, a pre-Roman crypta was discovered underneath the church building. The vaulted ceiling is being supported by a Roman stone and two granite pillars which are said to be remains of a temple dedicated to Castor and Pollux.
A walk through the narrow mews of the old town feels like a going back to medieval times and you should allow plenty of time to take in the cultural richness and sense of history. Among many other masterpieces you will come across the “Palazzo die Conti di Ventimiglia”, the former Abbey of the “Canonice Laterane” Sisters with the “Sant’Antonio Abate a Ventimiglia” Church. The Bishops Palace “Diözese Ventimiglia” and the historic townhall to name just a few of the buildings worth visiting.
The hanging gardens of Ventimiglia are another sight worth mentioning as they symbolise the rich and noble history of the town. In the 17th century parts of the historic centre right behind the “Porta Nice” were completely flattened to make way for elegant manor houses built for the aristocracy. The hanging gardens were created level with the first to third floors of the houses and without structural support. When stepping out of the houses, one first had to cross a bridge to get into the gardens. The design was intended to enhance the overall prestige of the houses.
„CALA DEL FORTE“
Ventimiglia’s new Marina
The brand-new exclusive Marina “Cala del Forte” creates the sharpest of contrasts to Ventimiglia’s old town Alta and was officially opened on 2nd July 2021 by the H.S.H. Albert of Monaco.
“Cala del Forte” is the new sister port to the neighbouring Port Hercule and Port of Fontvieille in Monaco and is run by “Monaco Ports” in line with Monaco standards. The state of the art marina is equipped with all facilities. It offers 178 moorings for yachts measuring between 6.5 m – 70+ meters and an on-site shipyard can service yachts of up to 30 m in length. The Marina has more than 31 shops and 600 parking spaces and has been granted the longest harbour concession (up to 2094) in the entire Mediterranean region. It offers a selection of 24 hour service to all moorings. The new Marina is only 7.9 sea miles away from Monaco and a regular high-speed shuttle offers rapid ferrying between Ventimiglia and Monaco to all yacht owners and their guests.
A new direct elevator connects the Marina with Ventimiglia “Alta” opening the opportunity to explore the mews of the old town.
The new “Cala del Forte” marks the beginning of new a new aera of opportunities opening up for Ventimiglia and you can find more information under https://caladelforte-ventimiglia.it
MASTERPLAN „MARINA DI VENTIMIGLIA“
A rejuvenation project
Ventimiglia is aiming to improve its overall attraction to tourists with a view to maintaining and supporting the historical, cultural and ecological heritage of the town. The planned property development surrounding the new Marina aims at repositioning the coastal area and Ventimiglia to national and international tourism. It is the plan to create tourist attractions and accommodation right on Ventimiglia’s seafront on the western Ligurian Riviera.
The large scale project “Marina di Ventimiglia” attracts an overall investment of 200 Million Euro and will stretch over an area of 57,000 qm.
A 5 Star Luxury Hotel offering suits, serviced apartments, a spa with gym as well as several restaurants are planned for the Borgo del Forte near the Marina San Giuseppe.
The plan also includes 70 privately owned apartments as well as building a restaurant and converting an old ACI building into a Food&Beverage center to the west of the hotel and apartment complex. An international campus with open spaces and leisure centres will be created on Campus Borgo del Forto in the Campasso area, part of which will be a public park, tennis courts and an Olympic swimming pool with gym. There is also the plan to build an international school with accommodation for teachers, students, athletes as well as conference halls.
We are of the opinion that the “Marina di Ventimiglia” plans will have a positive effect on Ventimiglia’s development and feel excited at the prospect of introducing you to our properties in the surrounding areas.
Culture in Ventimiglia
The museums of Ventimiglia offer a wide spectrum of history and are particularly attractive to visit during the winter months. In this newsletter, we would like to introduce you to two interesting museums:
Archeological Museum Girolamo Rossi (Museo civico archeologico Girolamo Rossi)
The museum has been open to the public since 1984 and was named after the local academic Girolami Rossi (1831-1914) who discovered the Roman theatre and the historic settlement “Albintimilium” near Ventimiglia not far from the old town centre “Fortessa dell’ Annunzuata”.
The exhibition shows archeological treasures spread out over seven galleries measuring 1,200 qm. It shows artefacts from the antique Albintimilium, maps and documents, sculptures from the Thomas Hardy collection, clay figures and glass works from the western Nekropole to name just a few of the exhibits.
You will find more information on opening times, Covid-19 regulations and ticket prices under : https://www.marventimiglia.it
Province Archeologica di Nervia
This most impressive museum is located in the north western part of the antique Albintimilium near the Nervia River and shows the remains of a Roman theatre, the Antiquarium, a gallery displaying daily life artefacts found during the excavations undertaken in the 19th century as well as parts of the old Roman townhall with elements from the town wall.
The theatre was built between the 2nd and 3rd century AD with the local lime stone ‘turbie’ which in its appearance resembles marble stone. It is one of the best preserved Roman theatres in Northern Italy and was most likely used to put comedies and pantomimes on stage. Over the last few years it has been renovated to such an extent that it is once again used for public events.
The Albuntimilium thermae was built in the second half of the 1st century AD. At the time, the water was directed from a side arm of the Nervia river into the thermae via an Aquaduct. The west wing of the baths accommodated two Calidaria basins which were heated by a Hypokaust heating -similar to underfloor heating. Adjacent were two cold water basins (Frigidaria). The thermae was open to the public, separated by gender and used for personal hygiene.
You will find more information on opening times, ticket prices and events under: https://nervia.beniculturali.it
The Nielsen Saloner was founded in Copenhagen in 2015 and has more than 50 active members with many young artists und music fans among them. The associaton follows the aim to support young talent and deepen the knowledge of classical music, lieder, opera and contemporary music in unconventional surroundings. It also wants to motivate young people to get together for live music. The sessions usually take place in private living rooms, gardens, music shops, public concert halls and churches. Since its founding days, the Nielsen Saloner has held a number of events in different parts of Europe and has found funding through a number of private stations and well known institutions.
The Salon Nielsener only recently informed us that they want to deepen the cooperation between Denmark and Italy particularly in this region and that they are planning to present a new generation of talented musicians.
They are planning to set up an international music festival with local participants.
Which is why the Nielsen Saloner held a number of music salons, public concerts and charity concerts over the last few years and produced a video featuring the pianist Elisabeth Nielsen with the aim to support Ventimiglia Alta. The project was financed by the pianist herself as well as the Danish Art Foundation and members of the Nielsen Saloner.
The Ventimiglia Commune supports the ambition and is planning a music centre, Sala Polivalente in Chiesa di San Francesco.
In order to carry out the Danish-Italian joint project the Nielsen Saloner is looking to find more partners and sponsors. Should you be interested in supporting this cause, please follow this link:
On 22nd December Elisabeth will take part in the reopening of the ‘teatro comunale’, initiated by the local maestro Franco Cocco. As part of the live concert event the salon will screen the music film “Passeggiata Musicale a Ventimiglia Alta” featuring the pianist Elisabeth Nielsen.
You can now see the video exclusively in the TERRA ITALIA newsletter:
Liguria on Television
Liguria has always been a popular backdrop to cinema films and has now attracted a number of TV crews to film TV dramas and series. The variety and beauty of the local landscapes is proving increasingly popular among Italian and international TV productions. Here is a selection of the latest crime stories, historical programs and comedies produced in the area:
TERRA ITALIA’s Restaurant Recommendation:
Antica Osteria Ü Funtanin
Our latest restaurant tip takes you to a crossing in the medieval Alta Ventimiglia, next to the Porta Nice. From the terrace, stunning views over the sea can be enjoyed and fittingly, the U Funtani is known for its seafood creations yet has plenty to offer for vegetarians. Perfectly selected wines will accompany your meal.
The U Funtani offers a delicious brunch between 11.00-2.00 pm and the service is known to be impeccable. It is recommended to make a reservation before visiting.
Should the restaurant be fully booked, you can also have your meal delivered between 7.00 – 10.00 pm.
The Coniglio alla Ligure is a braising dish and it is recommended to use Ligurian Taggiasca Olives (of course any other olive can also be used)
Ingredients for 6 people
- 1 prepared rabbit, approx. 1.5 kg
- 1 Onion, 1 shallot
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- Fresh rosemary and thyme, I bunch each
- 2-3 bay leaves
- ½ litre vegetable stock
- 200 ml red wine
- 20-25 ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Approx. 200 g Taggiasca olives
- Approx. 25 g pine kernels
Cut the rabbit into 8-10 pieces and put aside. Peel and dice the onion, shallot, garlic. Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan sweat the onions, shallots and garlic.
Add the rabbit parts and nicely brown from all sides, add the red wine and let the liquid reduce a little. Add half of the stock, the rosemary, the thyme and bay leaves, salt and pepper and let it simmer for roughly one hour. Every now and then you should see if it needs a little more stock. After 45-50 minutes cooking time, add the pine kernels and olives. Once the meat is cooked, it will be tender and fall off the bone.
Before serving, adjust the taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper. The Coniglio alla Ligure is traditionally served with potatoes or polenta and a fresh salad. A good red wine will go nicely with it.
The new olive oil of the well known Ligurian Taggiasca variant has arrived. This years’ harvest has been a little hampered by the damp conditions during the early blossoming period and late hail storms but the result is still one of the world’s best olive oils. Olives are part of the West Ligurian culture and dominate the landscape and cuisine found in Liguria. The olive culture is even reflected in the architecture and the many products crafted from olive tree wood.
One of the best olive oil producers of the Imperia region:
The Azienda Agricola Cassini Paolo is a small family business looking after 10 ha olive groves planted with 2,000 trees of the Taggiasca variant. The individual plantations are located between 150 and 550 m above sea level and Paolo Cassini and his family produce their olive oil with a high degree of passion, dedication and ambition. It is Paolo’s aim to produce each year the best possible quality and he manages to achieve just that. Cassini’s olive oil has been repeatedly awarded international and national recognition and is one of the best olive oils on the market.
Azienda Agricola Cassini Paolo
Via Roma 62
18035 Isolabona (IM)
T.: +39 0184 208 159
Thanks to the mild climate it is possible to venture out on cycle tours throughout the year. Cycle enthusiasts can choose from a network of cycle routes for all levels. A newly opened cycle path to Bordighera offers the rare opportunity to enjoy sea views whilst cycling.
You will find a wide selection of cycle tours following this link:
Nestling in the floodplains of the Nervia River which is part of the Ventimiglia and Camporosso commune lies the “Oasis Nervia”, home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Environmentalists started fighting as early as 1982 to have the 60 ha area declared as nature reserve.
From the start, there were a few hurdles to overcome as the local population had to familiarise themselves with the concept of environmental protection. As a first step local environmental associations started removing illegal gardens and waste depots so the area could begin to recover.
In 1990 the oasis could finally be opened and eight years later the local authorities of Imperia entered an agreement with the WWF to protect the region. Since 2005 the Torrente Nervia and surroundings measuring 44 ha also started falling under the protection of the SIC (region of communal interest).
Thanks to the protection of the Oasis Nervia the flora and fauna has blossomed and by now, nearly 160 botanical variants have found their way into the oasis. A healthy mix of tall trees, cattail, veronicas and cress as well as large areas of water reed provide a breeding ground for birds and ensure a natural cleansing of the floodplain.
A diverse animal world has also established itself in the Nervia Oasis with as many as 140 bird varieties registered and catalogued. To name just a few, there are crested grebes, herons, ducks, seagulls and many oscine birds that have found a new home as well as foxes, hedgehogs, rodents and reptiles.
Every Monday to Saturday the market halls of Ventimiglia are bustling with shoppers and market stalls selling fruits and vegetables, freshly caught fish and meat products. The smell of fresh produce hangs in the air and food lovers will find a vast variety of delicious cooking ingredients, wine related goods flowers and plants.
All is beautifully presented and fresh food counters offer artisan breads, fresh pasta, charcuterie, cheeses and much more. The excellent meat and fish stalls also supply the best restaurants in the region.
Via della Repubblica, 7
Every Friday rows of market stalls spreads along the promenade and riverside of Ventimiglia. The Friday market is the largest market in Italy and a well-known tradition for Italians, the French living on the Cote d’Azur and tourists alike.
A vast selection of clothes for adults and children, leather goods such as handbags, purses, belts, gloves, shoes, glasses, cashmere goods and accessories for around the house. The prices are low and the market stall tenders are known for being friendly and allowing customers to try on to their hearts content. The majority speaks excellent French and English.
The attractive balance of variety, quality and price makes the Friday market a magnet where people like to wander around, chat and have a good time.
Regatta of the ancient Marine Nations
19th December 2021 in Genova
The regatta of the ancient marine nations is a historic sporting event established in 1955 in commemoration of the rivalry between the famous Italian sea faring republics Genova, Pisa, Venice and Amalfi. In this regatta four rowing teams representing one republic each, compete for a gold or silver trophy of the Florentine Goldsmith school. Each team sends 8 rowers and cox in hand painted antique galleons to the starting line. The galleons are painted in the traditional colours of the four republics: white for Genova, red for Pisa, green for Venice and blue for Amalfi.
You can find more information following this link: https://www.visitgenoa.it/en/regatta-ancient-maritime-republics
This exhibition prides itself with putting the largest selection of the Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher on display. To this day Escher one of the most popular artists worldwide and his visions of “impossible worlds” known for their compositions of geometrical paradoxes made him an icon of the modern art world.
More than 200 works can be admired in the exhibition. This also includes his most representative works such as “Hand with a Reflecting Sphere” (1935), “Bond of union” (1956), “Metamorphosis II” (1939), “Day and Night” (1938).
More information about the exhibition about tickets, prices and opening times can be found here: https://palazzoducale.genova.it/mostra/escher/
The following link with give you daily information on planned events in our region. All changes and booking information is updated daily depending on the Covid 19 situation.