Dolceacqua (https://thatsliguria.com/en/dolceaqua-the-place-that-enchanted-monet/) sits on the banks of the Torente Nervia about 7km up the river from our campsite at Vallecrosia. As we had a cycle path right outside the campsite, we got the bikes out for the first time in a few weeks and had a lovely ride up the valley to the village. As we cycled up the valley we were facing huge mountains topped with snow.The whole route was separated from the main road so we felt great bumbling along.
As we did not do extensive research for this visit, we were not really sure what to expect. I fact we nearly missed out this stop as we were not sure what the village had going for it. So glad we didn’t.
We were presented with a picturesque town on the banks of a mountain river. The two sides of the river are joined by a gorgeous high arched 15th century bridge (among other more modern bridges). On the far side a ruined castle (Castle Doria) sits on a high ridge and below the castle is a labyrinth of narrow and steep cobbled alleys lined with lovely narrow but tall houses. Many of the house are joined by buttresses and in some places fully enclose the alleys making a maze of tunnels. We were completely flummoxed by the beauty of it and we have hundreds of photos that somehow all seem to look the same. We spent three hours wandering around the small village.
In 1884, Claude Monet visited Dolceaqua and three of his works cover the view of the bridge. Art is still very much in the way of life here are there are many art studios and galleries buried in the maze of twisty passages.
When we tired of the cobbled lanes (YOU ARE IN A MAZE OF TWISTY LITTLE PASSAGES, ALL ALIKE) we crossed the river and found a wonderful restaurant,Casa e Bottega (https://www.ristocasaebottega.it/), and had a fabulous slap up meal. Pasta with beef starter, Rabbit main, Apple crumble for pud. We had a village produced red with the meal that was so good we asked if we could buy a bottle to take away. The best meal we have had in a long time.
And then a slow bloated cycle back down the valley to the Mothership.
Dolceaqua was one of the places suggested to us by family and friends: when we had our 100th birthday bash, we asked people to mark wonderful european places on the map any many obliged – we have around fifty extra places added to our map! When we were writing this up, we thanked Em and Luke for the Dolceaqua and they say they’ve never been, so that’s us confused. If it was you that suggested Dolceacqua – thank you, thank you – please let us know!
Blog updates in the van in the evening and preparing for a long leg tomorrow to La Spezia.