Apricale: best kept secret of Italy
Undiscovered treasure of Northern Italy
For those who plan to travel to Northern Italy this coming summer, particularly in Western Liguria, I would suggest to visit a little hamlet in the heart of beautiful mountains just on the cross roads of the border between France and Italy. This little, tiny mediaeval village called Apricale, is one of the most well preserved example of historical place, where its unspoilt character is left untouch unlike many other historical, more prominent towns, exploited by tourism and commerce.
Here nature and civilianisation are well integrated in a perfect harmony. This village is located in a beautiful valley up in the mountains and just twenty minutes from the sea, by car. The village dominates the valley with a splendid square that opens up to the surrounding scenario like a theatrical stage, a natural amphitheatre where all the stoned reddish houses converge in it like a natural cascade of rare beauty.
The amazing landscape has been portrayed by famous painters so that the village is particularly well known by artists from all over the world therefore many have established their studios and showrooms. Apricale is a well known arts and craft centre that can compete with the nearby, far more famous, Saint Paul De Vence.
Still not overwhelmed by tourists, the harmony created by nature, urban layout and art, is truly uncommon and almost magical. Wandering in a out through the streets in Apricale you can clearly imagine how was to live in this hamlet centuries ago.
The mediaeval hamlet of Apricale takes its origins from about the 1200 and its name means being exposed to the sun. On the edge of the town there is a castle, called castello della lucertola (castle of the lizard) and the main and only church. The steep slopes and narrow streets are still the original ones which means that the urban structure is still intact existing for about a millennium. The visitor would actually walk back in history and, unlike many other places you would not find the conventional souvenir shops and usual boutiques but craft little shops, art ateliers and beautiful, romantic spots to pause while climbing the strenuous path that takes to the piazza.
Once arrived at the edge of the village, the visitor can admire the castle, the parish church that dominates the piazza and the town hall. Here all the major events are taking place. As for the unique position which is ideal for staging events, a summer calendar of cultural initiatives is programmed every year like the theatrical season, classical and jazz festivals.
I would recommend to admire the spectacular vista over the mountains surrounding the village. Especially at the sunset the stones coloured houses are illuminated by the sun that, with its games of lights, melts the village and nature in a unique endless embrace.