TERRA ITALIA Newsletter No 2 | 2023
Dear Readers and Fans of Liguria,
Summer is finally upon us and the Riviera is all set for the season. The beaches are prepared, the summer music festivals are waiting to open their doors, exhibitions and other events have been carefully planned. Now is the time to enjoy various water sports or go hiking and biking. We invite you to join us on a discovery tour of the Ligurian hinterland of the Riviera of flowers or try out one of the restaurants we have selected for you.
For those of you interested in property, we have a vast portfolio, which we would like to share with you on our web site. You will find attractive plots of land, stunning villas, romantic rusticos or charming village houses.
If you are considering a permanent move to the Riviera, you may wish to look at two interesting properties we just launched on out site. One being a Bed& Breakfast and the other a unique country estate.
We would also like to welcome those who have already fallen in love with this beautiful area and are still eager to explore more of the region.
I would like to wish you a beautiful summer and wonderful holidays.
Originating from Imperia Oneglia, the Valle Impero stretches some 30 km into the countryside. The valley was named after the wild river Impero, which has its source in the Monte Grande – with 1,418 m the highest peak of the region and running through the entire valley. This valley appeals to all senses with its variety of scented flowers, delicious mushrooms and untouched nature.
This valley is so typical for the Ligurian rolling hills, characterised by the sloping hills supported by dry walls (fasce) making the slopes manageable for agricultural use. Cultivated olive groves of the Taggiasca variety, line the shore of the Impero river. For decades this particular olive has contributed to the wealth of this area by providing this precious and well known olive oil.
Small, medieval villages are dotted around the valley and no matter how small the hamlets, there will always be a l church or chapel standing in its centre.
Each village has its story to tell and over the centuries they have grown to mark the character of the Impero Valley. Whereas the Valle Impero used to be the passage into Piemont, it has over time developed into a significant centre for trade and culture. The many traditions developed over time for agricultural and cattle farming alike as well as antique salt routes and traditions have been maintained largely unchanged to this day. Traces of these traditions can be found in antique olive oil mills (gumbi), donkey trails, wells, wash houses and community centres still to be found in many of the villages.
There are vegetable gardens, vinyards and fruit orchards everywhere, providing the fresh ingredients for the local cuisine with recipes such as torta verde, condiglione, stuffed peppers or vegetables.
When visiting the valley there are many osterias and restaurants where to savour many of the Ligurian dishes.
The valley holds a treasure of historic, culinary and natural surprises wating to be discovered.
Borgomaro is situated some 15 km away from the Ligurian coast in the hinterland of the Valle Impero. This enchanted village with its approx. 800 inhabitants is the most important centre of the upper Impero Valley and hunched on the river bank which meanders through olive groves, small hamlets, chestnut trees and meadows.
The Dukes of Ventmiglia founded Borgamo where they built their castle which was later taken over by the Dorias and the Savoy families. Only a few ruins remained from the original castle but Borgamo kept expanding its olive oil mills, grinding mills and has a number of sights worth visiting.
Nestling between olive trees is the first parish church of this area. The church of holy Nazario and Ceslo dates back to early Christian times and was one of the main church of the Maro Valley. A community of monks belonging to the Benedict order still lives on the premises.
The old sub terranean well of Borgamo, Fontana Vecchia is particularly cherished for its fresh water during the summer months. Until the mid 20th century long queues of people carrying buckets to fetch water and catch up with each other would queue up in front of the well. The well is no longer used but the water basin collecting water and the hand operated pump as well as the drain at the foot of the north facing rock wall are still in existence.
The Oratorio of the holy Biagio of Sant’Anna in Borgamo is a rectangular building with a deep altar and circular hall in the middle. The apsis basin is adorned with a fresco picturing the resurrection. The holy Biagio is the patron of mothers, widows and women n in childbed and is called upon to assist at difficult births or infertility.
The oratory of San Rocco in Bergamo is the seat of the Buona Morte brotherhood and consists of one hall with neoclassical façade. The stoup inside the church is formed like a shell. The oratory was dedicated to the French pilgrim Rocco di Montpellier (1350-1379) who was canonized in the 15th century. A first brotherhood was founded in 1468 in Genova with its members being responsible for the burials of bodies having fallen victims to epidemics or the plague.
Borgomaro is known for a number of delicacies worth a try when visiting the village. There is the Sab Rocco bread or a delicious sweety called “Baxin” tasting of fennel. The “Pan de Fighe” (fig bread) is made of locally grown figs and is the village speciality which even gave Borgamo’s inhabitants the nick name “figalé”
The Borgomaro area is home to numerous quaint villages where protected flower species thrive on the meadows and delightful mushrooms can be foraged in the forests.
The mountain village Ville San Pietro is situated on a sloping hill at the foot of Mount Moro some 508 m above sea level, surrounded by olive groves and woodland. With its 109 inhabitants Ville San Pietro forms only a small part of the Borgamo’s community. Historically it followed the changing Borgamo’s various rulers and became independent in 1928. Ville San Pietro is a quiet village, largely untouched by tourism and makes it an attractive location where to purchase property in a peaceful setting.
This small village (452 m above sea level) is located just below Ville San Pietro. Once you have wandered down the high street through the lower part Ville San Sebastian and past “La Chiesa die SS Nazario e Celso” you are already leaving the village. It is however worth visiting and walking up the steep road. Once at the top, beautiful views over the valley and the chapel “Santuario della Madonna dell Neve” featuring the marble sculpture “Madonna with child” from the 17th century await you.
In honour of the Madonna Ville San Sebastiano regularly holds a celebration. The night before, young people gather at the chapel to light a large bonfire creating a magical atmosphere. This village too is attractive to those looking for a holiday home or second residence.
Situated some 285 m above sea level on a sunny hilltop lies the charming village Candeasco. Up until the last century, Candeasco could not be reached by car when only a donkey trail connected with the village. The typical old lovingly renovated stone houses make Candeasco a fascinating and attractive location.
Old vines grow along the stone walls only interrupted by the occasional heavy wooden door. Some of the ancient mews (carruggi) feature stone arches stretching over head as reminders of the old times.
Candeasco used to be a small hamlet with some 16 houses with a church standing right in the centre. The “San Bernadino da Siena” dates back to medieval times and was completed in the baroque aera. Just above the village exit stunning views over the surrounding villages with their chapels, chestnut forests and olive groves can be enjoyed.
The Valle Impero and its villages has much more to offer. To name just a few villages worth visiting, why not explore Lucinasco, Chiusanico, Gazzelli or Torria and discover the heart of Imperia known for its traditional olive grove cultivation and wine production of the Pigato and Vermentino variety. You will get to know successful trading businesses and discover the culinary specialities the villages have to offer.
In this newsletter we would like to introduce you to an artist who became world famous with his particularly “German Art” and who found his home of choice in Imperia.
Georg Baselitz, born in Deutschbaselitz on 23rd January 1938 under the name Hans-Georg Kern cultivates his ‘being different’ throughout his life and uses his art to provoke, to be seen and to turn conventions upside down.
In 1957 he was removed after only 2 semesters from the student’s register of the University of applied and visual arts in Berlin Weissensee for displaying “social immaturity”. So, he continues his studies in West Belin at the University of visual arts where he for the first time encounters abstract experiments of the avantgarde modernism as opposed to socialist realism. In fact, he struggles to cope with “all this freedom, liberties, and all the follies” he encounters. But he manages to establish himself without hiding his origins and adapts the artistic name Baselitz in1961.
Baselitz paints in an aggressive, obsessive and distorted manner. In 1963 his solo exhibition with the Berlin gallery Werner&Katz causes a scandal of massive proportions. His oil painting “Naked Man” depicting a colossal penis and “The big night in a bucket” showing a masturbating boy were confiscated by the public prosecution. The paintings were eventually returned and regarded as early signs of the 1968 protest movement.
Baselitz developed his connection to Italy in 1965 when he was granted a scholarship to study in the company of great Italian artists in the Villa Romana in Florence.
By the end of the 1960-ies he first experiments with turning his art upside down which later becomes his trademark. The upside down turned German federal eagle caused many raised eyebrows in 1970. But by 1975 he manages his breakthrough in Germany and is offered a professorship at the Academy of visual arts in Karlsruhe.
It is during this time that Baselitz starts working on sculptures made of wood roughly shaped with chain saws and then painted. In 1980 he causes another stir when he represents Germany on the Biennale in a building dating back to the Nazi regime. He exhibits a figure “Modell for a figure” which seemingly takes a Hitler salute. This performance is being recognized worldwide and marks the beginning of his international career. Today, Baselitz is represented in large galleries such as the Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery” in Berlin, the Gagosian Gallery in New York, the Thaddeus Ropac Gallery in Paris and the Gallery Fred Jahn in Munich making him one of the most expensive contemporary artists worldwide.
He discovers his love for Imperia in 1987 when he bought the Paolo Berio house “Villa Luce” in which he establishes his studio. Baselitz describes himself as “Italy dependent” and finds the peace and quiet and normality essential for him to recharge. His fantastic painting “Aquila” is hanging in the Villa Faravelli in Imperia – Baselitz had presented it to celebrate Imperia’s 100th town anniversary and was awarded a town key as a thank you present.
The Ligurian cuisine can be compared to the local landscape as it combines the seafood cooking with the vegetables growing between the dry walls on the Ligurian hillsides. We have selected a typically Ligurian recipe for you – a regional classic and perfect for the hot season when vegetables grow in abundance.
Stuffed Ligurian Vegetables
By Martina Zito
- 10 Courgettes; if possible with flowers (pistils removed)
- 10 small round aubergines
- 4 large white onions
- 3 red peppers
- 150 g Mortadella (ham or cooked white meat)
- A handful of majoran leaves
- 100 g grated Grana Padano
- 2 garlic cloves, cubed
- 4 eggs
- 1 large bread roll with crust
- Milk, breadcrumbs, olive oil as required
- Salt, black pepper
Wash the aubergines, remove the top surrounding the stem; make sure you are keeping the stem in place as you will need it later as “handle”.
Half the aubergines and boil in plenty of salted water until al dente. Drain and remove the flesh with a spoon; press the liquid from the flesh and put aside.
Prepare the onions, courgettes and red peppers in the same way.
Now break up the bread and add to a bowl together with the milk; grate the cheese, cut up the mortadella, prepare majoran and garlic.
Squeeze the bread off the liquid and combine with the aubergine flesh, mortadella, majoran, garlic. Put in a blender and mix.
Put the mix into a bowl and add the eggs, grated parmesan, salt and pepper and combine well with a wooden spoon.
Fill the well combined mix into the hollowed vegetables, place on an oiled baking tray sprinkled with breadcrumbs.
Bake in a heated oven at 190°C for approx. 45 minutes until golden brown.
Serve as a starter or secondo – and enjoy.
This red wine grows in the rolling hills of Pomassio and Pieve di Teco above Imperia, the latest DOC regions of the Riveria di Ponente. This wine consists of 95% Omeasco variety (synonym for Dolcetto) and maximal 5% red grapes of a less aromatic grape from the Imperia region.
A young Ormaesco wine is of deep red colour with a violet tint, gently scented aroma and dry tannin taste. The riper the wine, the deeper the rubin red colour and taste of ripe cherries, blackberries and petunias. It turns dry, warm and develops a soft and strong body over time. When it reaches maturity the taste turns to tannin with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste.
Alcohol content: 11-13.5%
Overall acidity: 5 per mill
Serve in a glass with medium stem 16-17° when young; 18-19° mature
Storage: horizontal in a cellar at a temperature between 10 14 degrees; two to four years
Goes well with:
When young: Agnolotti with ragout, polenta with
Sausage and pork stew
Once mature: Stuffed pigeon, braised rabbit
In red wine, rabbit in porchetta,
Stecchi (meat and mushroom
Skewers), pigeon with bacon,
In 2020 the passionate and experienced chef Antonio Buono and his wife Valentina opened a small and refined restaurant in Corso Cuneo in Ventmiglia. It did not take long before they were awarded a Michelin star. The restaurant welcomes with a pleasantly calm and friendly atmosphere in an elegantly functional setting. The open kitchen is visible to guests sat at the bar.
Antonio Buono designs his menu in accordance with the seasonal availability of local produce. Known for his respect and sensitivity towards local ingredients, he hand selects his vegetables from local farmers or his own garden, fetches fresh fish from fish mongers of the region and searches for delicacies in the Ligurian hinterland. With these lovingly selected components he creates daily new contemporary refined dishes on a consistently high level. The wine card features some 60 different local wines perfectly suited to accompany each dish on the menu.
Casa Buono is very popular, enjoying an excellent reputation reaching far beyond the Imperia region and it is highly recommended to reserve a table before visiting.
Dinner from 7.30 to 10.00 pm
Lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12.30 to 2.00 pm
Ristorante Casa Buono
Corso Cuneo n. 28
Fraz. Trucco 18039
Tel.: +39 0184 176 00 06
Mob.: +39 340 518 85 38
One of the most spectacular hiking, mountain biking or motor biking excursions takes to the Alta Via del Sale (upper salt road) connecting the mountain village Limone Piemonte with the sea. It was built in times of Charles the Great and for a long time, was the transit route for goods and people. In those days salt was more valuable than gold and Piemonte played an important role in the salt trade. The generated salt was transported on this road. During the second world war the military was in charge of keeping the road in good enough condition so motorbikes and heavy machinery could pass. The road meanders in countless serpentine bends up the mountains and gives views over the wildest and most spectacular Alpine landscapes.
The road runs over 140 km with only the smallest part being tarmacked. The most interesting stretch of the upper salt road is 30 km long and runs between Limone and Monesi, regularly crossing the border between Italy and France. This stretch alone is worth visiting from as each bend reveals new fascinating vistas. Even when thinking the views cannot get any more breath taking – they certainly will.
Managing the tight bends and dirt road at 2000 m above sea level in a four wheel or on a motor bike is an exciting challenge. On the final stretch the road snakes along a rock wall and circumvents a long and free standing rock nose. It takes both courage and precision driving to manage the Tornate della Boaria.
The Alta Via del Sale is known to be one of the most spectacular drives in Europe. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it belongs to hikers and mountain bikers alone.
Andrea Baldizzone is a farmer in the Imperia province and shares his knowledge and experience of the Ligurian agriculture on guided tours.
His olive grove on the hilltops towering over the Nervia Valley is located in the Imperia hinterland, some 500 m above sea level near Apricale. There are 200 olive trees of the “Taggiasca” variety enjoying excellent sunshine and a gentle northern breeze during the afternoons. On his guided tour through the olive grove, Andrea Baldizzone reveals the secrets behind his work. You will explore the typically Ligurian terraces (fasce) supported by artfully crafted dry walls. At the end of the tour, you can savour local specialities such as pickled olives and home made jams. During the harvest season in November and Decempber you have the opportunity to witness the process of olive oil making from harvesting to the final product.
The tour takes 2 hours.
Tickets: 29.- € per adult; children (6-12 years) 15.- €; Groups (2-4 people) – 20% (5-8 people) -30%
Andrea Baldizzone also offers guided tours of his farm and through Apricale. For more information:
Via Padre Semeria 30
18038 Sanremo (IM)
Mobil: +39 349.368.7616
The family led Agrilunassa Ecoguesthouse is situated right on the sea where the overall slow and gentle pace is palpable to all the guests. The guesthouse offers a number of activities, one of them being a Yoga workshop.
Whether you are a beginner or have already practiced Yoga, you will be introduced to the benefits of Yoga and how it impacts on the body on a physical, mental and emotional level. You will learn about the principles of Yoga and which style is best suited for you. This way you will get to know yourself and develop a deeper level to your practice.
The workshops run from Friday to Saturday including two nights. On three days you will attend 4 practical and theory lessons and spend two nights in an ecofriendly guest house with beautiful views over the sea.
For more information:
Via Lunassa 10 – Strada della Cava
Bordighera (IM) 18012
Tel.: +39 391 305 6443
“Eventi sotte le stelle” in the new Marina in Ventimiglia – 1.-8. July 2023
This summer the new tourist attraction of Ventimiglia, the Marina di Ventimiglia will hold a number of sophisticated events following the theme ”Marina di Ventimiglia – Eventi sotte le Stelle” (Marina die Ventimiglia – events under the stars).
Mario Biondi, Fiorella Mannoia will perform between the 1.-8. July and the comedian Antonio Ornano will have a show in the “Arena Cala del Forte” in Ventimiglia. The arena offers numbered seating to 900 guest.
11th Festival Alta Val Nervia – Classical Music from 7.-10. July 2023
On four intense days the small village Vittorio in the Nervia Valley hosts a number of classical music concerts for the 11th time running. High profile musicians will perform a wonderful program on the village piazza. The entrance is free with the organisers kindly asking for a donation.
You can view the festival program here:
60th International Chamber Music Festival
This summer Cervo will invite to the 60th jubilee of the chamber music festival held outside the church of the coral fishermen. On ten evenings the “Piazza della Chiesa” will be the backdrop to a romantic music event.
Well known musicians will play a mix of classical and chamber music touching the hearts of the visitors. “The music festival will surprise with a rich mix of music and delight our visitors” says the Mayor Vittorio Deiglio.
Tickets for the performances of the 60th Cervo festival running from 14th July to 30th August can be purchased on-line.
In the Doria Castle from 23. May to 2. September
For the 500th jubilee of the town partnership between Dolceacqua and Monaco Julien Spiewak’s photo exhibition “500” opens a new visual angle on the historic ties between Monaco and Dolceacqua.
Spiewak is an artist, photographer and researcher living in Paris who explores the relationship between photography and the human body as a means of artistic expression. He reaches beyond the borders of reality and gives the 500 year history of Monaco and Dolceacqua a profoundly artistic angle.
The exhibition in the rooms of the Doria castle in Dolceacqua can be visited during regular opening times.
For more information on the exhibition:
The exhibition format “Face to Face” created in 2020 and focusing on major art works, features a well-known painting by Vincent van Gogh.
The landscape with haystack and rising moon from the year 1889. It shows his view from the institution in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole where van Gogh stayed voluntarily. He painted this wheat field at different times of the day and every season, turning it into a major theme and near obsession of his work later in his life.
Tickets can be purchased on-line: