Discovering the Ligurian Riviera
February 20, 2021
It's been a few weeks since our last trip along the Argentina Valley. After having dedicated ourselves to the cultivation of our agricultural products , the time has come to visit the last remaining villages: Triora, Cetta, Verdeggia and Realdo.
The cold almost doesn't weigh us down, on the contrary. We take advantage of even the smallest glimmer of light to warm up our desire to discover the territory!
Let's start again from Molini di Triora. Immediately on the right, as soon as we leave the village, we find an enchanted place, called Laghetto di Noci. During the summer, tourists and the inhabitants of the area find relief from the sultriness by bathing in the cool waters of this artificial basin. Its name is due to the fact that all around stand out sturdy walnut trees and, overall, nature here is lush, offering shade and shelter from the summer heat. There will be time to enjoy it also in summer but, for now, let's continue along the state road that, after about twenty minutes, will lead us to Triora, the most important center of Argentina Valley.
Triora is known to tourists (and not only!) for its tasty artisanal bread and the witches' trial held in 1587. It is a mysterious and fascinating village, which is worth knowing in depth. It is located in a strategic position, at the point where, at the foot of Mount Saccarello, several paths related to transhumance met. The richness of Triora is testified by the monumental and artistic evidence of the town - recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy - with fortresses, castles, churches, oratories and an interesting ethnographic museum where it is possible to know details about the rural life and the famous witches' trial we have already mentioned.
Leaving Triora we continue towards the hamlet of Loreto, which we reach after about five minutes by car. This small agglomeration of houses overlooking a gorge is characterized by the presence of a bridge, one of the highest in Europe, where until not so long ago, bungee jumping was practiced. Not far away there is also the sanctuary of Loreto, or of the Saline, with the sculpted lintel in which you can recognize the heraldic shield of the patrons, the noble family Gastaldi. The arcade was anciently used as deposit for the salt, that was a precious merchandise of exchange with the Piedmontese.
Crossed the bridge we arrive to the scattered houses of Cetta. This is another very small but nice village, whose peculiarity is to be located in the middle of the hill, with a view on the Carmo Langan. As it often happens in the Ligurian hinterland, also here groups of scattered houses form micro-neighborhoods or hamlets, each with its own name of which it is not always easy to know the origins.
Read also - Discovering the Impero Valley
We leave Cetta and cross once again the bridge of Loreto. On the left we find a road going up towards the upper Argentina Valley, where we meet the hamlets of Bregalla - with a curious toponym recalling the bleating of the sheep - and Creppo, an ancient village inhabited by shepherds since ancient times.
At a certain point we are in front of a curve on the provincial road 81, where we can choose whether to continue towards Verdeggia on the right, or to go left towards Realdo. We decide to reach first Verdeggia, a small village resting under the Saccarello Mountain.
Also this village was anciently at the center of a series of transhumance itineraries, and the ancient communal oven tells us about a shared rural economy, necessary and surprising at the same time.
From Verdeggia we go down towards the crossroads we have already seen and we take the road to Realdo, an extremely fascinating village for its location on a very steep limestone wall. The peculiarity of Realdo, compared to the other villages clinging to the cliffs, is that in order to visit it, instead of going up, there is no other solution but to go down.
In a few words, you get to the main square from the road that continues to Borniga and then leads to France, while the village is reached by descending through some very narrow streets. Together with Verdeggia and Borniga, these places were inhabited by the people of Brigasca in Val Roia, who owned pasture land here. For this reason the particular dialect of Occitan origin still survives, as well as the wooden dwellings, typical of the northern side of the Alps.
After having turned for Realdo we continue along the provincial road. After about twenty minutes by car we reach the hamlet of Borniga, a small group of scattered houses with a typical mountain layout.
During the winter you don't see many people here, while the streets come alive during the warm season, due to the presence of second homes. Borniga is located just below Mount Gerbonte and Colla di Sanson, in the area that is the natural border between Liguria and France. Here, moreover, passes the path of High Way of the Ligurian Mountains, that from Ventimiglia connects to Sarzana, touching the track from Colla di Sanson to Redentore, that is the part just above Verdeggia.
Not far from Borniga there is Craviti, another group of scattered houses, located at more than 1300 meters above sea level. This small center, to the appearance hard and inhospitable, has known a certain notoriety for the story of Michel Puglisi, a Frenchman of Corsican origin that after the retirement has decided to change life moving just in this area.
What had long been an abandoned place, turned out for Puglisi to be a haven of peace, where he could immerse himself in silence, to discover nature and himself.
Perhaps a difficult choice for most people, but one that we understand without effort. Once you have discovered the charm of the Ligurian hinterland, in fact, you can only remain bewitched forever!
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