Discovering the Impero Valley

The panorama of Pontedassio

Discovering the Ligurian Riviera

Discovering the Impero Valley

August 23, 2020

Have you ever been to Impero Valley? We have travelled there on a sunny day, with few clouds in the distance and, as always, no precise destination: just the desire to discover a new portion of the territory, a few kilometres from our farmholidays in Diano Marina!

Departure from the farmholidays

Starting from our vacation homes in the Gulf of Diano early in the morning, we take the Aurelia road to Capo Berta and arrive in Piazza Dante in Imperia. From here we follow the signs for Turin and the Strada Statale 28. As soon as we are in front of the medieval bridge in Castelvecchio, we decide to stop and take some pictures of the landscape. From the surrounding valleys, in fact, small ancient villages begin to emerge, naturally integrated in the surrounding greenery, such as Borgo d'Oneglia.

The medieval bridge from the main road 28

Let's take the moped again and drive along the SS28 to the Pontedassio junction. At this point we leave the fast road to follow the old state road and cross the village.

View of the village of Oneglia

Pontedassio and Chiusavecchia

In Pontedassio we stop to look around the old streets, the characteristic Ligurian caruggi, not far from the Impero stream. We resume our route along the old state road, up to the junction for Chiusavecchia. At a certain point we notice a sign indicating the church of Nostra Signora dell'oliveto.

The church of Our Lady of the olive grove

We follow the suggestion and head towards the sacred building, which we reach via an old cobbled road. Once we have crossed it, another regenerating stop is a must: let's get full of beauty with a wonderful view of Chiusavecchia and the stream!

View of the Impero stream in Chiusavecchia


We are not yet satisfied, however, and we resume our journey to the junction for Borgomaro. The first village we meet is San Lazzaro Reale, announced by the ancient stone bridge that leads to the mule track towards Lucinasco. Borgomaro, instead, is a point of connection with the hamlets and villages in the surroundings. We stop to visit it: we are curious about its medieval layout, softened by the passage of the stream. We are particularly struck by the parish church of Sant'Antonio Abate with its external fresco and the municipal fountain, fed by the spring.

Fresco in the portico of the parish church of Sant'Antonio Abate

Maro Castello and Lucinasco

Leaving Borgomaro we find, not far away, the small village of Maro Castello, where the Impero torrent widens to form small lakes. This hamlet is dominated by the ruins of an old castle and the Romanesque church of Saints Nazario and Celso. We cross the village and follow the road that leads to its other hamlets. After a few meters we find the sign towards Lucinasco and we decide to reach it.

The ruins of Maro Castello Castle

This is where we meet a sign that tells us about the Lazzaro Acquarone diffuse museum. We discover that the project involves an interesting ethnographic museum and a route between the boxes scattered throughout the territory of Lucinasco. It is an all-Ligurian characteristic: stone buildings built with the "dry" technique and adopted, over the centuries, as a shelter for shepherds and farmers.

A box in Lucinasco

We're already at noon and we need a place to stop for something to eat. Let's pick up the moped and follow the signs to the country church of La Maddalena. We suddenly find ourselves in a wooded setting, where the church is immersed with its sober late-medieval façade. Continuing on foot along a path we enter the wood and, after five minutes, we arrive on a ridge from where we can enjoy a beautiful view of the whole valley.

The stomach, however, begins to gurgling. We think we stop here to eat and stretch out our picnic towel and, finally, we discard the packed lunch. The scent of the bread of Triora, accompanied by the oxheart tomatoes and the Genoese pdo basil of our own production. To conclude, a bowl of zucchini trumpet in scapece! 

The country church of La Maddalena in Lucinasco

Ville San Sebastiano, Ville San Pietro and Conio

After our lunch we'll resume our journey. We take the old road and arrive above Maro Castello, continuing the route towards the hamlets of Ville San Sebastiano, Ville San Pietro and Conio. We decide to go to Conio, famous for its beans, and we take a tour around the village. We find ourselves in a maze of stone alleys, where we are surprised by the curious details: vases of flowers, painted doors and a sweet dedication to the village, which offers us a cue for reflection on the sense of community.

A painted counter in the historical centre of Conio


We pick up the moped again and go back along the road already travelled, until we meet again the junction of Borgomaro at the bottom of the valley, and then climb along the other side. The village of Aurigo welcomes us with its peace.

A kitten welcomes us in Aurigo

Also in this village some monuments catch our attention, such as the church of Sant'Andrea and the sanctuary of San Paolo. From a sign we learn about the ancient Via Marenca, an important communication route between Oneglia and Porto Maurizio as far as the valleys of Monregalese.

The panel that tells us about the ancient Via Marenca

At this point we can say our trip is over and we head towards the farmholidays. We take the same road that leads us back to Imperia and then, along the Via Aurelia, to Diano Marina .

Also this time we discovered new perspectives, known landscapes that somehow revealed themselves behind a new look.

Every time we are surprised how much our region has to offer and we can only decide to share these beauties with the guests and readers of our blog!


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