Varigotti and the Finale
The land between the promontories of Capo Noli and Caprazoppa, around the upland plain of the Manie, Val Ponci and the Communes of Orco Feligno and Calice Ligure, makes up an area of historical, geographical and environmental interest unrivalled in Liguria: the Finale.
The area, first settled in prehistoric times, is fascinating and truly unique for its geology: this carsick upland plateau is filled with caves carved out by its streams and covered with Mediterranean vegetation, home to strange flowering plants and giant lizards. It’s a wild landscape with high, rocky coastlines, ancient Roman bridges and rural and seaside villages rich in artistic treasures; prehistoric Ligurians, Romans, Byzantines and Lombards, feudal lords and marquises, the Spanish and Genoese all passed through here.
Where to stay in Varigotti
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Where to stay in Finale Ligure
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A green, terraced hillside, the pinks and oranges of simple country houses: this is your first view of Bergeggi as you round the headland of Capo Vado from the east.
Standing way up on the hills of Bergeggi, from the top of which you can see all the way down to the Cinque Terre on a clear winter’s day, Bergeggi has not forgotten its agricultural roots despite its new vocation as a small but perfect summer holiday resort.
Stretching out at the edge of the town of Bergeggi there are fine sandy and pebble beaches: on the promontory of Capo Maiolo stands the more recent tourist resort of Torre del Mare, hidden amid the lush green Mediterranean vegetation; its name brings to mind the ancient watchtower that was built, like many of its counter parts along the coast, to defend the area of Bergeggi from invasion by barbarian people.
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Celle shares its name with a pretty town in the north of Germany.
There, trellised houses and baronial castles speak to us of the lives and history of its inhabitants; here, the colorful facades of the tall buildings which look out over narrow caruggi or alleyways go to make in one of Liguria’s most charming and best-kept seaside villages.
Double rows if centuries-old houses, painted in bright, brilliant colors – enabling the fishermen of old to distinguish their homes from the sea – a long, winding passageway, closed to traffic and animated by a thousand-and-one tiny shops, by the hubbub of passers-by, and then a long sandy beach lined with multicolored bathing huts and sunshades joins the village to the great blue plateau out yonder, stretching off to the east towards the leafy new area of Piani di Celle and, beyond, to Varazze.
Where to stay in Celle Ligure
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According to the history books, Italy had four maritime republic, but, in fact there were more: Noli is one of the lesser-known examples. This beautiful village, overlooked by steep Mount Ursino which provided Dante with inpiration for the Purgatorio, enjoyed six centuries of maritime glory and political independence from 1202 to 1797.Noli’ts origins are lost in the mists of time, its name is Greek in origin (Neapolis, new city, then Nauli in the early Middle Ages) and it may have fought the Carthaginans alongside the romans; what we know for certain about Noli is that between the 6th and 7th centuries a baptistery and parish church stood on the side of the charming Medieval Church of San Paragorio.
In the town of Noli, surrounded by three city walls and dominated by the ruins of the 11th century castle, the influence of Genoese architecture is palpaple: of 72 towers-cum-dwellings which stood in the 12th century, only 8 remain today, including the 33 meters high Noli Communal Tower which is still intact.
A walk through the ancient borgo of Noli starts from the frescoed Porta Piazza overlooking the sea, taking in the nearby Palazzo del Comune and the tall 13th Communal Tower. Via Colombo, the town’s main thoroughfare, is lined with beautiful 13th and 14ht century houses. Piazzetta Morando is exceptional for its strikingly tall Canto Tower, built on a trapezoidal plan and its views of the castle and walls which run down from the hill top. From here towards the hills, Via Colombo runs through Borgo San Giovanni which ends at the 14th century gate of that same name.
Where to stay in Noli
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