We visit Apricale, the village perched on the hillside

View of the village of Apricale

Discovering the Ligurian Riviera

We visit Apricale, the village perched on the hillside

March 06, 2022

Situated on a privileged spot, Apricale enjoys all the sunshine that western Liguria has to offer. Apricus in Latin means sunny, and this is perhaps the village's good fortune. It is about 80 kilometres from our flats, but it is well worth planning a visit, even during the low season.

The village is full of charm, with its characteristic alleyways, square and main church. To prove it to you, we need to take you with us on a discovery of Apricale!

Via Roma in Apricale

The history of Apricale

The first traces of human presence in the territory of Apricale date back to the Bronze Age, but it was in the 10th century that it took on the appearance we know today, thanks to the settlement of the Counts of Ventimiglia, who built the famous castle of the Lizard. Later, around the 13th century, some Genoese families began to requisition land and possessions as ransom for debts incurred by the counts.

A little later, Oberto Doria bought the fief and annexed it to his possessions in Dolceacqua, which remained unchanged until the 16th century, when the Dukes of Savoy took over.

During the Napoleonic era, however, Apricale came under the canton of Perinaldo and later under the district of Sanremo. With the restoration of the old regimes Apricale returned to be part of the Savoy possessions, this time within the Kingdom of Sardinia (with the Congress of Vienna in 1815) while, since 1861, the village was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.


Read also  -  Zuccarello: a village full of charm


The oratory and the town hall of Apricale

How to get to Apricale

Apricale can already be seen after having passed the village of Isola Bona, along the provincial road 63. The temptation is to stop after the first hairpin bend to photograph the village in all its grandeur, given the privileged vantage point. However, the road is narrow and it would be dangerous to pull over with the car, so we decide to continue.

The presence of Apricale becomes more and more evident, with its characteristic aspect of a small village perched on the hill, in a dominant position.

Once in the village, we leave the car in the first public car park of the village, which is only five minutes away from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. To get there, we drive along Via Roma, a narrow street that climbs gently, along which we are pleasantly surprised by the presence of many artistic contributions - paintings, terracotta and murals - on the walls of the houses.

Wall paintings in Apricale


Read also  -  Bajardo: the ancient village between history and legend


The square of Apricale

Once in the square, on one side we find the town hall with the post office, and on the other the oratory of San Bartolomeo, under which there is an ancient wash-house. But perhaps the most suggestive part of the village is the one dominated by the castle of the Lizard and the church of the Purification of the Virgin Mary.

The church of the Purification of Apricale

The castle has a part that is accessible to the public, with a small library covered by a loggia, very fascinating, and it is the seat of the Museum of the history of Apricale, which preserves important finds of the medieval period. The church, on the other hand, dominates the square, and has a neo-Romanesque façade in a deep pink that contrasts with the contemporary sculpture of a steel seagull. On the way up the hill to the castle, there is a monument to the fallen of the First World War.

From the square we can then move on to the maze of caruggi, where a discovery awaits us at every corner: a curious view, an ancient door, buttresses or even the old village oven. After a few turns we realise that we are back where we started, in Via Roma, from where we began our walk to the castle.

Lizard Castle in Apricale

It is worth taking a little more time in Apricale to enjoy it in peace and quiet, perhaps eating something or sipping a good wine in one of the many bars in the village!


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