San Lorenzo Valley
Behind San Lorenzo, an alluvial valley opens up and reaches the slopes of Faudo Mountain. It originates from some municipalities developed perhaps thanks to the construction of the large connection formed by the Roman street Julia Augusta. Upstream of the coast there are Civezza, Pietrabruna, Boscomare, Lingueglietta and Cipressa, whose roots seem to be dated to the year one thousand. Immersed in t6he olives in the slopes ofFollia mountain, Pietrabruna is known for the stroscia, the ancient sweet mad with flour, oil, sugar, vermouth or marsala, yeast and lemon zest, so friable that you don’t cut it but “strosci” crumbling it. The remains of a ‘400 tower characterize Boscomare, built for the ancient need of defending the town from the Saracens that can be found in Lingueglietta. Medieval remains are still the church of St. Antony of Costarainera, of Benedictine origin and the village of Cipressa, where there are also the baroque church and the ‘700 oratorio with the Sundial.
In the hill behind Cipressa, climbing up from San Lorenzo al Mare, is the enchanting village of Lingueglietta. Characterized by red roofs and wide panoramas: its narrow backstreets run through vaulted passageways and up slopes towards the fortified church of San Pietro. Dating back to the 13th century, its military a religious site became bastion of defense to protect the population from pirates. The Earls of Lengueglia, who gave the village its name, governed Lingueglietta on behalf of the Republic of Genoa for good seven centuries.
San Lorenzo al Mare
is the smallest municipality in Liguria by area, although not by population density. A coastal village that has become a popular seaside holiday destination – it has been awarded with the Blue Flag – whose origins date back to 12th century when it was a dock on the mouth of the Aqua Santii Laurentii, the river from which it takes it name. Historical vicissitudes have resulted in San Lorenzo being divided into two district urban areas; which, if seen from an aerial perspective, give the appearance of an anchor; the area along the coast and the area in the hills, which is still particularly rural. San Lorenzo is the starting point of the Pista Ciclabile del Ponente Ligure (Western Liguria Cycle Path), which continues as far as Ospedaletti and will probably be extended even further to the east in future.
A village ideally located between Imperia and San Lorenzo, is the set amongst lush olive groves overlooking a magnificent seascape. Its origins are deeply rooted in legend, which speaks of noble Venetian families settling the village and building the beautiful church of San Marco to appear like the bow of gondola about to set sail. Another distinctive monument is the Torre degli Svizzeri, appearing like the stern of the imaginary boat that us Civezza itself.
A city born from the union of two villages and hamlets could only offer a variety of different and rich stories and visions. Imperia’s souls are two, like the centers that connote it. The ancient one is the Parasio, the medieval district of Porto Maurizio, perched on the promontory and filled with alleyways overlooking the sea and amazing religious architecture like the charming Logge di Santa Chiara. The modern one tells about the flourishing commercial industry linked to olive oil and ideal frame is the port of Oneglia, a Calata Cuneo that, with its pastel-colored fishermen’s homes, has assisted the mooring of sailing ships and barges now replaced by modern yachts. If the landscape of the valleys surrounding the city reaffirms the strong linkage of the territory with the olive culture, well described by the Olive Museum in Oneglia, Imperia boasts an important naval tradition that re-emerges with the biennial rally of Vintage Sails and in the halls of the Naval Museum in Porto Maurizio.
Starting from the village of Prino, in Imperia, where the stream of the same name flows out and going up the hill, Val Prino winds. Its center is Dolcedo, ancient feud of the Marquises of Clavesana and then Genoese. Not to be missed is the Medieval bridge, built by the Knights of Malta in 1292 and the church of St. Thomas, original of 1100. And even the fortified tower of Torrazza, or the small lakes of Lecchiore, from which it’s possible to go to Faudo Mountain to over thousand meters and enjoy the sight. Prino stream rises in a basin in between low mountains among which Moro Mountain stands out. Below, Villatalla extends, reachable from Molini di Prelà, near the remains of Pietralta Castle. Going even up, there is Valloria, a small medieval town and meeting point for artists who turn the old doors into artworks. They are currently 150, an heritage that is included in the FAI Places of the Heart together with the St. Martin bridge in Clavi, as well as the hamlet of Bellissimi di Dolcedo, famous for the paper hot-air balloons party.