Today I would like to show you that Liguria is not only Riviera but also a fantastic, authentic and undiscovered hinterland. I start from Varese Ligure, a small town that is located in the province of La Spezia.
How to reach Varese Ligure?
– by car – the way of transport I recommend because the town is quite far away from everywhere 😉 You can reach it only by the provincial roads. The road SP 523 from Sestri Levante (you can reach Sestri Levante by motorway A12 and then follow the signs to Varese Ligure) or by SP 566 from Brugnato (you take a motorway exit in Brugnato and then follow the signs to Varese Ligure). More info about Italian motorways here. It takes about 50 minutes from Sestri Levante and 30 minutes from Brugnato to reach the town. The road is quite steep and narrow but it is very picturesque. Watch out for the goats on the road!
– by bus – the lines 50 and 56 from Sestri Levante, the bus stop is located in the front of a railway station. A ticket costs 1,60€ and a trip takes about 1 hour 20 minutes (more info here ). From Brugnato you can take a line to Varese Ligure. A ticket costs 1,50€ and a trip take about 50 minutes (more info here).
When you arrive in Varese Ligure you will see a peaceful and charming town. In fact, it was inscribed on the list of the most beautiful hamlets of Italy. What is more, in 2006 it was announced the most eco-friendly town in Italy!
The hamlet existed in this place already in Byzantine Era. It was situated in a very strategic place. Here crossed the ways to Parma (in Emilia-Romagna) and to Tortona (in Lombardia) and to Sestri Levante and to La Spezia. Then in XII century became a property of Fieschi family (a powerful family from Lavagna). After that in XVI century became a part of the Republic of Genoa and then in XIX century of United Italy.
The things to see and do:
When you reach the town, the first thing you see will be a castle. It is situated in the main square.
Castello dei Fieschi (Fieschi Castle)
It was built in XV century and it was the abode of leaders of the town. The building took a part of an original defence structure of the town. In the Middle Ages was created a „Borgo Rotondo” (Round Hamlet) and the Castle completed the defence circle. Nowadays the Castle became an exhibition area where you can see the exhibitions of the local artists.
Borgo Rotondo (Round Hamlet)
That is an old town of Varese Ligure. It is situated next to the Castle. An elliptical shape of the hamlet was chosen by the Fieschi family. All houses here were built around the two squares – Piazza Fieschi and Piazza Castello. The Medieval structure included also two town gates but nowadays only one of them is still visible.
Torre Civica (Civic Tower)
In the past, it was a church bell tower. It was built-in XVI century but at the end of XVIII century it was closed and deconsecrated. Nowadays it hosts the local and cultural events.
Ponte Grecino (Grecino bridge)
It is a bridge that was built in 1515. It replaced an old one that was made from wood. The old bridge was destroyed by an overflow of the river.
Address: Via Municipio
7.30am-1.00pm & 3.30pm-7.30pm
Varese Ligure is famous for its farms. The farmers breed many cows, goats and sheeps. That’s why you can find here a great variety of different types of cheeses, meat and salami. In this organic shop, you can find every kind of it. What is more, you can find here also fantastic jams, dried mushrooms and pine nuts. All the things are local, delicious and very organic. You should try them …. because it is the real taste of the Ligurian countryside. In particular, you should try the ricotta di Varese Ligure (a white, soft cheese). It is famous even in Riviera 😉
I must admit that Varese Ligure is an example of Liguria that I adore and I am looking for. Authentic, undiscovered and calm. Certainly, the place where you can relax and rest.