The valley of the Nervia river (more colloquially known as “Val Nervia”) is located just behind the eastern sections of Ventimiglia, with a winning combination of beautiful scenery, picturesque medieval villages and delicious Ligurian food.
Dolceaqua is a place that inspired many artists including Claude Monet and is well known for its fifteen century Doria castle and its humpbacked bridge. This is the area where Rossesse wine is produced. Head to the vineyards of Terre Bianche in the hills above Dolceacqua to sample some local speciality wines. Don’t forget to have a look at craft products made of olive wood.
A visit to Rocchetta Nervina is a great alternative to the beach. Here there are natural pools of mountain river water where you’ll get the most refreshing swim, surrounded by the lush Ligurian hills. They’re unspoilt and still to be discovered by most tourists. It is a great spot to picnic, although there are restaurants in the village centre.
Apricale is one of the prettiest villages in the region, with fantastic restaurants and the sunniest piazza. Apricale has a lot to offer; a 12th century castle, a museum, several lovely churches and beautiful wall murals dotted around the village. The village centre is free of modern transport although there is plenty of parking space on the periphery. The surrounding countryside is very popular with hikers and cyclists.
Pigna clings to a hill, with narrow little streets in bare stone; there are climbs to be made on foot and flights of steps that lead to the top of the village: The Loggia of Piazza Vecchia (15th century) is a panoramic natural balcony over the green valley. A little outside the centre is the San Michele church, where there is an exceptional Renaissance polyptych by Giovanni Canavesio.
The peaceful village of Bajardo awaits you. Steeped in history and atmosphere, the village offers breath-taking views over the Maritime Alps. One of the main attractions are the ruins of the old Church of S.Nicolò, where hundreds of the village’s inhabitants lost their lives when the church collapsed on them during an earthquake in 1887. Bajardo also hosts a popular annual druid festival.