For my birthday last year I was given a Wonderbox, I think it's called a Red Letter Day in Britain.
For a whole year we had been flicking through the booklet that came with it imagining all the places we could go. Should we go to the mountains, the lake or the sea? We were spoilt for choice. then we decided to use it to stop over night on our way somewhere else, a six hour journey away. We chose Nelly, G B& B because it was exactly half way and would give us a chance to see a landscape that we normally shot by on the motorway or crawled along in the bank holiday traffic.
My husband rang them up, he's always the one that does that because he has such a charming telephone manner. He was told that there was room and he asked if we could have an evening meal because we were en route. Sonia, the warm and friendly owner of the B&B said she could only give us what she called an Apericena. This would be half way between an aperitif and a dinner. That sounded fine so we booked it.
Sonia, suggested that we stopped at Varigotti on the coast before driving inland to her.
She said it is called the Most Beautiful place in the world, Il paese piu bello del mondo.
First we stopped at Noli for lunch. A small town right by the sea, humming with life and RAI television crews, people dressed in Medieval costume and coach loads of school children. We were attracted by a cafè on the sea front, run by young lively girls and serving local dishes of Ravioli with herbs, sword fish and a delicious local wine called Pigato.
A short drive along the coast took us to Varigotti. There were no crowds at this time of year and parking is free until May but it was easy to see how crowded it must get. A real jewel, the houses painted in warm yellows like the mimosa growing all around, creamy white like the magnolias and rosy pink. Beautiful lemon trees bowed down by their luscious fruit and olive trees lovingly protected adorning the piazzas. Down by the beach fishing boats were freshly painted and the beach cafès being prepared for the Easter holidays all gave Varigotti a festive and well-loved atmosphere and you could understand why it was referred to by the locals as Il Paese piu bello del mondo.
We were eager to see our B&B by then and on went the Tom Tom, or navigator. We were soon leaving the beautiful blue Mediterranean sea and climbing up into the thick wooded hills, olive trees mingling with the beech and the occasional splash of hawthorn blossom.
We drove further and further into the steep densely wooded hills and through small villages and hamlets where time seemed to have stood still, then our Tom tom told us to turn left and there we were bumping along the delightfully named road of Via Canto di Sopra, which means the road of singing above.
We parked the car in the shade of an olive tree and looked at the amazing panorama before us, fold upon fold of wooded hillside and in the distance the sparkling blue sea.
|Looking across the Ligurian hills to the Mediterranean sea|
|Towards Finale Ligure|