A border town, a city of natural pearl, a city of treasures telling of six historical periods: this is Ventimiglia. At the Balzi Rossi grottos there are important rock incisions famous internationally and dating back to the Paleolithic, to the caves of the Balzi Rossi, while one of the most beautiful and characteristic beaches along with the “eggs” one ore with the Calendre. The “Castellari” appear on the hill, fortifications for the protection of the territory dating back to the age of metals. In Roman times, Ventimiglia became Albintimilium, an ancient hamlet of which finds are now found at the Antiquarium, at the Gerolamo Rossi Archaeological Museum and at the Forte dell’Annunziata. The old town of Ventimiglia reveals its medieval side, with the Cathedral of the Assumption and the annexed octagonal baptistery, an example of Ligurian Romanesque architecture boasting original parts of the year One Thousand and the eleventh century church dedicated to Saint Michael. The Middle Ages are also celebrated every summer with the Medieval August Festival. The Aprosiana library, dating back to 1648, is one of the oldest in Italy and first in Liguria and boasts an ancient collection of exceptional historical value. Nineteenth-century Ventimiglia is expressed with the renovation of San Paolo fort and the convent of the Annunziata and with the beginning of aristocratic tourism. Lastly, the modern city, visited by more than one million people every year, today has a commercial connotation made of shops and the markets like the Friday fruit and vegetable one where it’s possible to meet the best chefs in the world. Not to miss, a visit to the promontory of Mortola with the lush Hanbury Botanical Gardens overlook the sea, a treasure chest of all kinds of the most beautiful species in the world and visited by Queen Vittoria.
Val Roia is divided between Italy and France, through which the river of the same name runs for about sixty kilometers before flowing into the Mediterranean Sea at Ventimiglia. The transfer of Nice to France in 1860 interrupted the valley’s territorial continuity, making it a border location where traditions and languages intermingle. If the upper valley includes Briga and Tenda, further down Fontan, Saorge and Breil-Sur-Roya can be found, all of which are now situated in France, continuing down towards the coast Olivetta San Michele, Airole and Ventimiglia come into view This overlapping of territories has intermixed the languages; the official languages are French and Italian, but they have been joined by a number of Ligurian Alpine dialects, all of which share a common root. Important transportation routes pass through the valley: the Colle di Tend mountain pass links it with Limone Piemonte and the historic railway line, treno delle meraviglie (train of wonders), connects Cuneo with Ventimiglia. To the west, the valley forms part of the Parco Nazionale del Mercantour (Mercantour National Park).
Surrounded by ancient olive trees, with traditional dry stone-walls, green wine yards and scenery overlooking the Roia river, the village of Airole is located ten kilometers inland from the coast and just a few kilometers from France. An explosion of nature with rocks, paths immersed in the greenery running between Italy and France, rafting, and canyoning on the river or in the new adventure park. Airole has been awarded the orange flag by the Touring Club Italiano and has an interesting museum of oil and rural life (Museo dell’Olio e della cività Contadina) This quaint and pleasant village has recently been discovered by many strangers who, thanks to word of mouth, have chosen to come here for their holidays, ort to enjoy the other attractions on offer.
From the Maritime Alps to the sea – this is the extension of the Val Nervia, marked by the flow of the river of the same name. A territory rich in ancient stories, where Medieval villages like Pigna, Rocchetta Nervina, Isolabona, Bajardo, Dolceacqua, Castel Vittorio, and Apricale twist and turn. The landscape is spectacular; the intense green of the olive groves becoming woods opens up in the vicinity of the towns, sometimes spectacularly perched on the ridges. The area around the stream and its mouth is part of a protected wildlife oasis managed by WWF, which safeguards its extraordinary heritage of biodiversity, while the stream is a site of regional community interest. Val Nervia is a part of the Park of Ligurian Alps and is included in the High Way of the Ligurian Mountains, a route of ancient mountain trails that, as a grid, extends across Liguria to La Spezia. The cuisine finds its cornerstones in the branda cujun and barbaguai, fried pumpkin and ricotta ravioli.
Val Nervia begins in Camporosso. Behind Ventimiglia, the town, according to the tradition, takes its name from several sources: from the red soil of it fields, from the foliage of the so many oleanders in the area, or from the many cultivated anemones. Whatever the origin, the bond with the earth is a strong one: born as a series of huts to house the farmers of Ventimiglia during the season , its small stone villages continue to mingle with the silver of the olive trees and the green of the wines The local Pigato DOC and Vermentino DOC are obtained from these vineyards. The fauna oasis of Val Nervia is located at the mouth of the Nervia stream, in Camporosso Mare.