With a wide slope, from the sea to the 2200 meters of Monte Saccarello, from which the stream giving it the name arises, the territory of Valle Agentina extends from Arma di Taggia to Triora. However, the length of the valley is limited – it is about 30 kilometers long which the landscape turns from a purely coastal environment into a mountainous area, in the heart of the Ligurian Alps, where it is not unusual spotting groundhogs, chamois and eagles. Saccarello Mountain, the highest peak of the whole region, from which is possible to see Corsica, Albenga plain and Mercantour, is an authentic crossroad between Valle Argentina, Roia Valley (Provence – France) and Valle Tanaro (Piedmont) thus creating a mix of cultures and traditions. The valley includes Badalucco, Triora, Realdo, Andagna, Montalto, Molini di Triora, Verdeggia and Creppo.
Between the hinterland and the coast, Taggia offers a series of villages that gives the rise to the two realities of Arma di Taggia and Taggia. The first one is a tourist center, with its beaches and the second is linked to the land that gives the name to the olive variety that distinguish the entire area, the Taggiasca. For religious history Taggia is an important center; the Fifteenth-century convent of San Domenico is a place of acknowledged cultural interest with its beautiful frescoed cloister and the Gotic church of Santa Maria della Misericordia, a hub for artists of different geographical origin including the Genoese Ludovico Brea, protagonist of Ligurian Renaissance of which the building houses some works. Taggia is also known for the feast of Furgari, canes filled with gunpowder that are lit giving rise to sparkling scenic explosions that illuminate the old town in honour of Saint Benedetto Revello, one of the oldest Ligurian recurrences that began in 1626 takes place every year on the second Saturday of February. You have the realtor agency Agenzia Immobiliare Ibis on the Promenade of Arma di Taggia!
Extra virgin oil, dried cod and beans, all of which are protected by the Slow Food movement are just some of the reasons to visit Badalucco. The village is located deep in the olive oil territory, of which it is one of the major production centers: there are numerous old olive and flour mills. For art lovers, the village’s streets have been brought to life with murals and ceramic art pieces, which adorn the plasterwork down narrow backstreets and on medieval houses. Badalucco is the starting point for a multitude of walks taking on bridgeways, sanctuaries, landscapes and caves at an altitude of one thousand meters.
The village of the witches, as Triora is also known, a village in the Valle Argentina where ancient legends tell of a bloody witch trial in 1588, which culminated in a number of young girls and a boy being burnt at the stake, all of which is documented in the Museo Etnografico e della Stregoneria (Ethnografic and Witchcaft Museum). The dilapidated houses, stone aches and vaults invoke a magical atmosphere that never creases to surprise, with slate portals and bas-reliefs dating from between the 12th and 18th centuries. Triora’s traditional dark, rustic bread, made with strong wheat flour and bran, is one of the 37 breads of Italy. The 112-meter high, single-span Ponte di Loreto, which crosses the Argentina river, is simply breathtaking.
It is possible to breathe the ancient maritime charm in Riva Ligure, a small village now tourist hub with its coastal and marina. Road station of the area called Costa Balenae in Roman times and archeological area today, Riva Ligure developed during the Middle Ages, as told by the still existing religious buildings. Destination of frequent Barbarian invasions during the 16th century, the city suffered attacks and a defensive structure was therefore erected for the enemy sighting and the defense of the population and today only a square-based tower remains.
Santo Stefano al Mare
Along the Pista Ciclabile del Ponente Ligure (Western Ligurian Cycle Path) backed from numerous floriculture greenhouses, is the village of Santo Stefano al Mare, a renowned tourist resort especially frequented by boat enthusiasts. Indeed, since 1988 its main attraction has been the Marina degli Aregai tourist port, offering a thousand berths for boats from 6 to 40 meters and providing an array of services as well as state-of-the-art surveillance systems. Due to the nature of its port and the area where it opens up the sea, Santo Stefano al Mare is often the stage for international sailing regattas.
The Cycle Path
– 24 km of cycle path in the nature and overlooking the sea: it is the extraordinary route through which the Cycle Path of West Liguria winds, created on the route of the old railways tracks of the Genoa – Ventimiglia line. Breath-taking views overlooking a crystal-clear sea; an explosion of Mediterranean vegetation and several towns and villages that, following one another, give life to the authentic face of the West Liguria Coast, from San Lorenzo al Mare to Ospedaletti, passing though Santo Stefano al Mare, Riva Ligure, Arma di Taggia and Sanremo. There is space for everybody: cyclists, skateboarders, skaters or walkers. Along the way, there are bike rental and refreshment areas for a well-equipped route that, sheltered from the traffic of the chaotic Aurelia street, is one of the most fascinating cycle paths of Europe. A route that will be lengthened in future.