Discovering the Ligurian Riviera
December 04, 2022
Located in the province of Savona, Laigueglia is a pretty seaside village known mainly for its historic centre and long sandy beaches. It overlooks the Baia del Sole, between Capo di Santa Croce and Capo Mele, offering fascinating glimpses of the sea.
Laigueglia is part of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy circuit and is the perfect destination for a day trip to western Liguria. It is famous for its numerous sporting activities, to be practised both at sea and in the mountains, but also for its ancient buildings of undoubted historical and architectural interest. Not far from the historical centre, you can reach Colla Micheri, an ancient village of medieval origin, with its Saracen Tower.
Laigueglia is only 11 km away from the agriturismo and our holiday flats in Diano Marina. The journey time by car is only 20 minutes, driving along the SS1 which runs along the entire coastline of the Riviera Ligure di Ponente. There is plenty of parking along the main road near the town centre, or in Piazza Solari.
The village of Laigueglia is located in a privileged position between the municipalities of Andora and Alassio, with a charming historic centre overlooking the beach. The village is characterised by shops, clubs and buildings of great interest. Certainly more crowded during the summer period, it can actually be visited in all seasons.
Let us discover what to see in Laigueglia.
The Church of St. Matthew, located a stone's throw from the historical centre, is a large building situated right next to the railway embankment, from which it is separated by an embankment. The seat of the parish of the Alassio vicariate of the Albenga-Imperia diocese, the structure presents a typology of religious architecture typical of late Ligurian Baroque, although it was taken up, enlarged and modified numerous times during the 18th century. The two bell towers, towering high above the village, are striking.
Right next to the church is the Oratory of Santa Maria Maddalena, which appears to be an extension of the church itself.
The centre of Laigueglia presents a homogeneous structure from east to west, with the Aurelia road and the railway on the upstream side, while on the sea side the caruggi (alleyways) branch off in a series of accesses to the central gut and the various small squares, one after the other facing the sea. The historical centre is quite contained and full of shops, bars and characteristic workshops. It immediately impresses with its authenticity, perfect for strolling on fine sunny days.
We recommend lingering in Piazza Libertà, where there is a monument dedicated to the fallen of World War II, Piazza Cavour, which houses Laigueglia's Iat office, and Piazza XXV Aprile.
Laigueglia's beach runs parallel to the historic centre and even beyond, providing a wide sandy shoreline with gently sloping seabed.
From Piazza Garibaldi it is easy to reach the pier, where there is a stylised iron heart that allows you to see Gallinara Island at its centre. Looking instead from the pier with one's back to the sea, one can admire the entire town of Laigueglia, as well as the fantastic panorama towards Capo Mele, on the left, and Alassio and the Gallinara on the right.
Not far from the pier is the Bastione di Levante, or Bastion of the Horse, from the 16th century. Originally there were three bastions that stood in the village. Two of these were destroyed by Napoleon. Today, therefore, only one remains: in the past it was used not only for defensive purposes, but also as a prison or lazaret for quarantined sailors.
The Giuseppe Giuliano terrace was named after the late former mayor of Laigueglia. On this terrace overlooking the sea we find a ceramic design depicting Germany: this is no coincidence, as Laigueglia has been twinned since 1972 with the town of Hoehr Grenzhausen, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region (the western region of the Teutonic country). Testifying to this twinning is a beautiful amphora placed on a pedestal.
Located just outside the town, in Via della Concezione, is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1661 by Giulio Cesare Preve and partially renovated in recent years.
At the entrance to the church, on the left-hand side of the entrance façade, one can admire a ceramic wall depicting the Gulf of Laigueglia, while on the entrance wall small terracotta panels with religious engravings and inscriptions.
Inside, on the main altar, is the Black Madonna, with a black cloak, dating back to the 17th century. The story tells of a sailor who was miraculously unharmed after falling from the ship's mast, landing on a chest containing a 'Black Madonna'. The chest was then transported to Laigueglia and placed in the present church of the Immaculate Conception.
Colla Micheri is an ancient medieval village perched on the hill between Andora and Laigueglia. It was probably founded as a resting station for wayfarers heading towards the sea in Roman times, and is in fact crossed by the ancient Roman roads of the Via Ligure Costiera and the Via Julia Augusta. The village was rediscovered in the 1950s by the Norwegian explorer and anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, who fell in love with it and took charge of the restoration of the entire settlement.
It is possible to park your car in the square at the entrance to the village and reach the Saracen Tower in just 7-8 minutes on foot.
Discovering the Saracen Tower of Colla Micheri
The tower is located at the top of the ridge, in a privileged position from which to admire the panorama, which embraces the Island of Gallinara, Laigueglia, Alassio and the entire coast as far as Borgio Verezzi.
A sign illustrates the history of the tower. The Tagliaferro Mill, or Casalìn Mill, was part of a system of windmills and was later used as a watchtower against corsair and pirate raids. From the remains that have survived to the present day, it is possible to observe a cylindrical structure, with an access portal on the ground floor and two openings on the upper floor.
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