We are in western Liguria. Verezzi … actually, Borgio Verezzi (because it is its full name) is a tiny hamlet located on the hills, above the sea. Apart from the breathtaking views, the hamlet is worth to be seen for many other reasons (that I list below) and I think you should absolutely add it when you are in western Liguria 😉
How to get to Verezzi?
The most important thing is that the topography of Verezzi is very particular. It is divided into 2 principal parts: Borgio and Verezzi. It is the same municipality but they are 5 km away one from another (!). What is more, Verezzi is located about 200 m higher than Borgio! Below I describe both of them, however, Verezzi is definitely much more beautiful. I add also that Verezzi is composed of 4 smaller hamlets, that are located quite far away one from another. They are named: Crosa-Chiesa, Roccaro, Piazza, Poggio.
– by car – it is the most comfortable way
– A10 motorway – motorway exit in Finale Ligure (if you come from the east) or Pietra Ligure (from the west). Then you have to follow the road signs to Borgio Verezzi. When you arrive at the road fork that is located after train tracks, you will see 2 road signs. One, that indicates the road to Borgio and another one that indicates the road to Verezzi. When you follow them you will arrive at each part in about 10 minutes.
–Aurelia SS1 – very picturesque, state road – it leads along the coast and brings you to the same road fork to Borgio and Verezzi.
–by train – you get off at Finale Ligure train station or Pietra Ligure train station and then you take a bus to Borgio Verezzi (from Finale Ligure line 40 to Borgio and then line 84 to Verezzi; from Pietra Ligure you take directly line 84; WARNING! during winter, weekends and bank holidays line 84 doesn’t shuttle).
The first mention of Borgio comes from 181 B.C. when the Roman army beat a local tribe in this place. For the Romans, the victory was very important because it opened them the way to conquer the rest of western Liguria. In Middle ages, Burgum Albinganeum and Veretium (medieval names of Borgio and Verezzi) became a part of the Republic of Genoa. Then during the Napoleon domination, the hamlets became a part of the Ligurian Republic. Then in 1861 became a part of united Italy. During all these centuries Borgio and Verezzi were two, different municipalities. Just only during the Mussolini period, in 1933 they were united and became one municipality called Borgio Verezzi.
The legend says that Verezzi was founded by Saracens pirates that had decided to leave their lives on the seas. It seems that there is a bit of truth in the legend because the architecture of Verezzi is not similar to the Ligurian architectural style. What is more, the buildings have Arabic and Islamic influences and it makes that it doesn’t seem to be in Liguria at all 😉
So if you have turned left, you will get Borgio. The hamlet is really very tiny. You can pass through the main street via XX Settembre which leads you to the main square of the hamlet named Piazza San Pietro. Next to the square is located the main church of Borgio, Chiesa di San Pietro.
Chiesa di San Pietro (St. Peter’s church)
It was built on the foundations of a castle that existed there previously. It is decorated in the neoclassic style and has one, main aisle and 6 small, lateral chapels.
From Borgio you can also get to the local grottos. They were discovered in 1933, however, the local people knew about some caves in this area for ages. The entrance costs 9€/pers; kids 6€/pers. Grottos are opened from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm; more info here.
If you back to the principal road fork, and turn right, you will arrive at the first part of the hamlet of Verezzi – Poggio.
This part of Verezzi hosts the theatre festival. Every year, from July to August, on the main square Piazza San Agostino are organised numerous stage shows. All plays are in Italian. What is more, they are played by the best Italian actors, so for sure, it is worth to see them. More about the festival here. Next to the square is located a tiny church built in the XIV century that can be visited when you are there.
However, the biggest attraction of the San Agostino square is the panorama that it offers. From here you can see a part of the western Ligurian coast with Gallinara island. It is really a breathtaking view 🙂
From the square, you can continue your stroll through the street that leads to the second part of the Verezzi- Piazza and Roccaro.
Piazza & Roccaro
They are incredibly picturesque. Here are located restaurants and b&b that offer a fantastic view of the Ligurian coast. Also here the style of the buildings has important Arabic and Islamic influences. You can really forget that you are in Liguria … it seems to be in Sicily or in Arabic countries.
Then, from the main road that brought you to Verezzi, you can continue (by car or on foot) and go to the higher part of Verezzi, Crosa-Chiesa.
The building’s style is the same as in the previous hamlets and also here you can admire a fantastic view on the Ligurian coast. Other characteristics of the houses are prie sgarbè. They are the pierced stones that are used as the bases for pergola of grapevine. They are used also as support for the structures that give shadow for terraces.
From the main part of the “old town” you can go through a trail (about 5 minutes walk) and get a local church, Chiesa di San Martino.
Chiesa di San Martino (Saint Martin church)
It was built in the XVII century. The interiors are decorated in the Baroque style. However, the biggest attraction of the church is one of the paintings that are present there. On the left, you can see a painting titled “Crucifixion of Saint Peter” that is attributed to Caravaggio (!).
After all this art and culture you can relax and rest in the nearby bar/restaurant Rosa dei Venti. You can stop here and eat something for lunch or dinner. The best thing is that all tables have a magnificent, panoramic view of Ligurian coast and sea. Booking is recommended. More info here.
I think that a trip to Borgio Verezzi will completely change your point of view about Liguria. Absolutely worth to be seen!