Of course, the title is teasing and it is so to intrigue the reader’s attention … but … it is true! In this tiny hamlet in West Liguria, lives quite big German community … but of course, this is not the main attraction of Dolcedo 😉
How to reach Dolcedo?
- by car – it is the most comfortable way because the hamlet is quite far from the nearest railway station and you can reach it only by bus. If you are using the A10 motorway, use the Imperia Ovest exit and then turn right at the first roundabout, following the signs for SP11. After about 20 minutes you will reach Dolcedo 🙂 More info here. You can also use the local roads, especially SS1 Aurelia. In San Maurizio (western part of Imperia), you will have to follow the signs for Isola Longa, SP 41 and after about 15 minutes you will be in Dolcedo.
- by train + bus – you get off the train at Imperia Oneglia (eastern part of Imperia). Then, in front of the train station, you will find a bus stop ( lines 23 and 24) that will take you to Dolcedo in about 25 minutes. The ticket costs 1 €. More info here.
The first settlement in the area of actual Dolcedo already existed in the VII century. It was founded by the Benedictine monks who spread the culture of olive oil and grape production in the area. In the XIII century, Dolcedo and the surrounding area became part of the Republic of Genoa. In the following centuries, Dolcedo shared the destiny of the entire territory of Liguria. First became part of the French Empire, then the Kingdom of Sardinia, and finally united Italy.
Things to see & do
Dolcedo has about 1,300 inhabitants and one main street. Arriving here, you can leave your car at one of the free parking places along the main street. Dolcedo is divided into two parts, and in the middle flows the Prinoriver. The main part of the old town is called Piazza and in that part is located the tallest building of Dolcedo, the San Tommaso church.
Chiesa San Tommaso
The building was built in the XII century however over the centuries, it was rebuilt several times. Its facade is maintained in the Baroque style, while inside, the decorations are made in an intense, blue colour with gold-plated elements.
As I mentioned above, Dolcedo is divided into two parts by the Prino river. These parts are connected by a bridge built in the XIII century and called Ponte Grande or Ponte dei Cavalieri di Malta because it was built by the Order of Malta. Traces confirming the year of the bridge’s creation remain on the balustrade of the bridge: MCCLXXXXII DIE 3 Juli Hoc Opus perfectum fuit.
From the bridge, you can get via Mameli, that will lead you to the main street SP 42, from which you can admire a beautiful view of Dolcedo.
Laghetti di Lecchiore
This is a place that is worth to be seen close to Dolcedo. It is a group of waterfalls and small, emerald lakes, located in the nearby forest. The water there is freezing but crystal clear and on a hot day, it is something wonderful! It takes about 30 minutes to get here, following the trail starting in the square near the San Tommaso church. The trail begins along via De Amicis, going up steep stairs among the houses. You quickly leave the town and then follow the trail that is marked in red and white. You must have good shoes because the trail is quite slippery and steep.
You have already reached Dolcedo, so you can drive a bit further inland by road SP 39, which will lead you to Valloria, a beautiful town famous for its painted doors. I wrote about Valloria here. Worth to be seen!
Why Dolcedo? I don’t know … for sure because it is a charming, peaceful and very authentic place. A quite big community, mainly from Hamburg, bought houses here and live here permanently. For sure, if you know German language or you are German, you will be delighted with this exotic feature of Dolcedo. Even if you are not German, it is so strange to reach the forgotten, Ligurian province, off the beaten path and find yourself among people who speak German! However, Italians live there as well !!! What’s more, they are the majority! (about 80 Germans, and 1,200 Italians) … so you still visit Liguria, not Germany 🙂 And Italian is still the main language here!
I think Dolcedo is a fantastic place for all those who want to discover the authentic and less touristy Liguria! It is a paradise for trekkers and definitely, it is worth to be visited!
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