From Bordighera to Pigna

Where the sun creates and rests behind Bordighera, all the way to Pigna.

To the discovery of three peculiar “hanging villages”, which the French call “villages perchés”, perched on the hills green with olive trees and surrounded by mountains of rock and fir trees. An itinerary that will bring you straight to the heart of traditions and authentic tastes, between works of sacred art and cuisine, cultivated terrains and magnificent panoramas that open up to the sea.



The trip is 1 hour and 36 minutes long


52.4 km

Leaving from downtown Bordighera and crossing the urban section of the Aurelia road (Corso Italia) on the right, due west, you will get to the Vallecrosia municipality; turn right on via Roma, which continues towards the hinterland as SP 59 road across the countryside and the towns of Vallecrosia Alta (a small village of ancient stone houses), San Biagio della Cima, a land of roses and mimosas, and Soldano, from whose vineyards the excellent Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC wine is born.

Follow the final winding road and, after 30 minutes and 16 km, you will reach Perinaldo, a land of astronomers beautifully perched on a cliff and overlooking panoramas from the Ligurian Alps to Corsica. Twenty minutes and 7 km are needed to climb up and down the winding road from the stars of Perinaldo to the maze of alleys and small squares of Apricale along the SP 62 and 63 roads.

From here, the SP 63 road descends towards the village and the castle of Isolabona in mid-Val Nervia; climbing back up the valley due north along road SP 64 you will reach, after twenty minutes and 10 km, a village surrounded by woods and mountains, marvellously clinging to its hill: Pigna. After the visit, descend all the way to Val Nervia on road SP 64 to the coast; half an hour and 19 km later you will get to the Aurelia SS 1 road between Ventimiglia and Camporosso, next to the creek that soon will flow into the sea. The trip is 1 hour and 36 minutes long, for a total of 52.4 km.

Bandiera arancione


Orange flag
Perinaldo, a village among the stars.

Following the Aurelia road from Bordighera to Vallecrosia and climbing towards the hinterland on the SP 59 road you will get to the ancient villages of Vallecrosia Alta, San Biagio della Cima and Soldano, among mimosas and the Rossese vineyards.

The winding uphill road leads, after 30 minutes and 16 km, to Perinaldo, a star in the sky of the Ligurian villages. Overlooking a ridge that offers stunning views of the sea to the south and the Maritime Alps to the north, a magnificent village “close to the stars” awaits you, home of some great astronomers: among them is famous Gian Domenico Cassini, mathematician and astronomer of the Sun King.

This is a village which also shines for the value of its land and its culinary traditions, where the cultivated fields grow some tasty thorn free artichokes, brought here by Napoleon and today Slow Food Presidium. Here, the ancient olive groves offer an excellent extra virgin oil, a precious ingredient for succulent dishes such as meesane – stuffed zucchini flowers – and vegetable fugassun savoury pie. These delicacies are perfectly accompanied by a glass of Rossese Dolceacqua DOC wine. Leaving the village, after just 20 minutes and 7 km of bends you will get to the maze of alleys and small squares of Apricale, along the SP 62 and 63 roads.


Cassiniano museum, Planetarium, Solar system in 1:10 billions scale, Garden of the stars, sundial of the Visitazione church, Agati organ.


Perinaldo artichoke (Slow Food Presidium), DOP extra virgin olive oil, meesane, Perinaldo style rabbit.


Artichokes and oil festival, Perinaldo festival “Terre d’Orlamonde”.


Sport fishing.


“G.D.Cassini” observatory, Funtanin lake.

Bandiera arancione


Orange Flag, one of the most beautiful villages of Italy
Apricale, the village hanging from the sun.

Twenty minutes and 7 km of winding road along the SP 62 and 63 roads, among woods and beautiful lookouts over the Liguria Alps, will take you from Perinaldo to a very unique and surprising village perched on the hills of western Liguria: Apricale, “the stone village”. A stone waterfall appears up high on the steep slope, welcoming visitors among the oak and olive trees clinging to the nearly vertical rocks. An “aprico” village, meaning well exposed to the sun, as the Latin word “apricus” perfectly expresses. It is no coincidence that in medieval times it was also called “the village of the Lizard”, from the nice small reptile which gives its name to the medieval castle and watches over the maze of caruggi (alleys), archways and houses with colourful murals.

Discover its most remote corners, get lost in a charming maze of narrow streets that lead you to the “two-level” square, enclosed by famous buildings, the church, the oratory, the city hall and the castle. Here you can live the town’s most authentic and genuine soul, breathing the mood of a place which is ages away from modernity, between pallapugno (a traditional ballgame) matches and theatre performances. On the outskirts of the village you will find the “mills road”, with seven ancient facilities representing the past and present economy: Apricale is the “City of oil” and its “liquid gold” is used – among other things – to prepare pansarole, sweet fritters offered in the village square during the September festival, and to season stockfish, which can be accompanied by the Apricale homemade beer. Leaving the village, the SP 63 road descends towards Val Nervia and passes through the village and the castle of Isolabona; climbing the valley along the SP 64 road, in twenty minutes and ten km you will reach the village of Pigna, surrounded by woods and mountains.


Lizard castle with Theatre gallery and Historical museum, two-level square, S. Maria degli Angeli church with frescoes.


Ateliers and art shops.


Summer theatre “…e le stelle stanno a guardare” (…and the stars sit and watch), pansarole fritters festival, art show at the castle.


DOP extra virgin olive oil , homemade beer, pansarole with eggnog, saffron.


Pallapugno ballgame in the square.

Bandiera arancione


Orange flag
Pigna, sulphurous waters, sacred art and beans.

From Apricale, the SP 63 roa d descends towards the village of Isolabona in val Nervia; climbing back up to the valley on the SP 64 road, in twenty minutes and 10 km you will reach the village perched on its hill, surrounded by woods and mountains: Pigna is a wonderful and tiny village that immediately stands out for its peculiar urban profile. Here is a compact complex of houses, gathered like a “pinecone” (pigna in Italian), crossed by a thick maze of narrow streets (called chibi, meaning “dark”) with arches, covered loggias, small squares with traces of six bread ovens. Delve into the village to discover some amazing religious buildings such as the fifteenth century St. Michael parish church, enriched by a beautiful marble rosette and a sumptuous 16th century altarpiece by famous artist Giovanni Canavesio. You can then relax by going down to the valley and admire what the Romans called the lacum putidum, “the smelly lake”, where the sulphurous waters have prompted the realization of a famous spa. Above the village you can reach Buggio, another small “beehive” of stone houses at the border between the Mediterranean landscape of olive trees and the alpine landscapes of the Toraggio and Pietravecchia mountains, with fir woods and pastures. Here, the local cuisine reaches new heights of quality thanks to genuine ingredients and special recipes, such as the “Rundin dell’Angelo” – white beans to enjoy with goat (Crava co-i faxeui) and in vegetable soups – and mountain cheese, potatoes, beans, turnips, leeks and garlic, all of them staples of the “white cuisine” of the Ligurian Alps shepherds. These flavours combine well with a good glass of Rossesse of Dolceacqua or Ormeasco of Pornassio, two noble DOC wines of the Ligurian Alps. Leaving from Pigna, go across the entire Val Nervia on the SP 64 road up to the coast; in half an hour and 19 km you will reach the SS 1 Aurelia road, between Ventimiglia and Camporosso.


San Michele church with polyptych, San Bernardo church with frescoes, alpine village of Buggio, Passoscio shrine.


Ethnographic museum of upper Val Nervia.


Rye bread festival, white beans festival, gran pistau soup festival, roasted chestnuts festival.


Pigna white beans (Slow Food presidium), goat with beans, mountain cheese, gran pistau soup.


Trekking, mountain biking, ski mountaineering, spas.


Alta Via dei Monti Liguri trekking path and connected trails, Alpino trail.


Pigo lake, Regional Natural Park of the Ligurian Alps, Toraggio and Pietravecchia mountains, Gouta fir forest, Testa d’Alpe State forest, Rugli Caves.

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