Welcome to the land of the sun

Apricale is a must for every trip to discover Italian Riviera. It has been defined as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy for the breathtaking impact it offers visitors, climbing from the Val Nervia, and for the wonder that you feel discovering every corner more secret.

Isolated on the top of the hill, above the green of the woods, Apricale looks like an impenetrable mosaic of densely built houses, one leaning against the other.

A concentric labyrinth of houses and alleyways, and between the houses stand out the castle, the church and the bell tower.

Then, as you get closer, you begin to see the narrow passages and steep stairs crushed between the ancient walls and it turns out that this beautiful village is not, of course, inaccessible.

The village, one of the most fascinating in the whole of Italy and the first in our town to boast the certification of excellence, still retains all its charm as a forgotten place where time seems to have stopped.

A classic example of the inland villages of the west Italian Riviera, between terraced fields, olive trees, and oak and chestnut forests.

In this guide, you will be guided through the history and fascinating legends of this medieval village with its traditions and secrets. You will discover how to visit Apricale at its best and you will find many ideas and ideas to enjoy your visit to this extraordinary town of Liguria.

Are you ready? Let’s start

The History of APRICALE

The first written documents date back to 1267: they are the oldest statutes in Liguria, linked to the constitution in the free municipality of Apricale. It is a veritable body of law, containing rules of criminal, civil and administrative law, entitled “Capitula facta et emendata” (which makes you guess the existence of an older version).

The codes regulate every aspect of the life of the inhabitants of the village, dealing with all kinds of issues. Among the prescribed rules, the most curious (and bloody) are the punishments provided: ranging from the cutting of a hand or a foot for those who steal cattle to the beheading of adulterers to the burial of the murderer (still alive) with his victim.

The history of Apricale, however, officially begins about two centuries before: the foundation of the castle, wanted by the accounts of Ventimiglia, is to be traced back to the year Mille.

The place, chosen as a defensive outpost, is called Apricus, or exposed to the sun: around the castle will develop the village.

In 1270 Apricale entered the fiefdom of the Doria of Dolceacqua (and will remain there for five centuries), passing definitively into the sphere of influence of the Republic of Genoa.

To avenge the death of his brother Luciano at the hands of Bartolomeo Doria, Augustine Grimaldi destroyed, in 1523, the castle built by the local lords to defend the town.

In the eighteenth century, Genoa’s difficulties are reflected in Apricale: wars and economic crisis, but also frosts, droughts, and famines make it the darkest century in the history of the village, until the occupation French of 1794.

In 1815, according to the dictates of the Congress of Vienna, it became part of the kingdom of Sardinia.

What to see in Apricale

Apricale comes from “apricus”,which in Latin means exposed to the sun, and in fact, the village is all built on the southern side of the hill, with a semi-circle trend around the Square on which was the medieval stronghold.


The curtain of houses that surrounded it in its lower part constituted a kind of defensive belt in which the three gates opened to the village.

The stone houses surrounding Apricale at its bottom represent a kind of defensive barrier in which the three main gates of access to the town opened.

And it is by crossing one of them that, parked the car, you enter the village and you go through the lattice of narrow streets that constitutes the most fascinating character of the village.

Walking in winter along these semi-deserted lanes you will immerse yourself in an enchanted silence that every summer gives way to the newfound vitality of a village that, in the season, crowds with tourists and holidaymakers.

On the walls of the houses, at the intersections between the streets, you happen to come across some murals, often depicting moments of life in the fields, the work of numerous contemporary artists who, fascinated by the beauty of the village, wanted to leave a mark of their Step.

Square Vittorio Emanuele II

The heart of the village is the beautiful Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, with the fountain of Gothic origin, the stone seats, the arches under which justice was once administered, the spectacularly arranged buildings on different levels and, to the south, the open gaze on the Valley.

Here, both in summer and winter, most of the events and occasions of aggregation take place between the inhabitants of Apricale and visiting tourists.

Oratory of St. Bartholomes

Behind the square is the oratory of St. Bartholomew, a sixteenth-century building that was decorated with Baroque taste during the 18th century. Inside it contains a beautiful Renaissance polyptych depicting Madonna della Neve (among the penitents, dressed in red, the client is also painted) and an oil table showing Saint Anthony Abbot.

parrocchiale della Purificazione di Maria

On a terrace just above, the parish of the Nativity of Mary, of medieval foundation, but rebuilt in the nineteenth century, is on a terrace just above. Next to the church is the scenic fifth consisting of what remains of the stands of the “Castello della Lucertola” and the lower section of a 12th-century circular tower.

Castello della lucertola

Next to the church is the impressive lizard castle, which houses the museum dedicated to the history of the village, numerous temporary exhibitions and a beautiful hanging garden. The visit includes the mezzanine floor, with the rooms dedicated to Apricale (where you can find archaeological finds, reconstructions, photographic material, works of art and memorabilia), the upstairs salon for exhibitions and underground.

Inside the castle, you can also visit the rooms. One of these is dedicated to Countess Cristina Anna Bellomo, the Countess of Apricale, a woman of fascinating and intricate history, who seems to have come out of the pen of an imaginative novelist.

typical products of Apricale

Apricale as well as having a food and wine similar to the other towns of the Val Nervia to its typicality, boasting centuries of traditions.

Pansaroles with Zabaione

The Pansarole are an exclusive delicacy of Apricale And even though to many this name does not say anything to all the inhabitants of the surroundings, this exquisite sweet to eat accompanied by zabaione immediately comes to mind.

Every person from Apricale has a secret to preparing the best “pansarole”. At Apricale, in any case, you can not go wrong, the best idea is to enjoy them in together maybe during a village party.

Extra virgin olive oil

The cultivation of olive trees for the production of extra virgin olive oil to ancient origins in Liguria.

The valley surrounding Apricale enjoys an extraordinary temperate climate with a low thermal excursion. And here, the olive tree has found a perfect environment and an ideal climate to grow and bear fruit. The territory around the village of Apricale is rich in “Fasce” (terraces) built by man over the centuries where olive trees thrive.

The oil produced with taggiasca olive is considered by many experts to be the best in the world.

eat in Apricale

Eating well in Apricale is really very easy, the restaurants are not many but they are really one better than the other. Discover them among the tight alleys and go and enjoy the specialties of what attracts you the most. Here are some of the dishes I recommend to taste in Apricale:


The Pansarole

Absolutely to try and trouble to call them “Bugie”.


i Barbagiuai

They are large ravioli with a filling of pumpkin, cheese, egg yolk and handy.


il coniglio bruscau

A particular way of preparing the rabbit, which is browned with its skin.


La Fidelanza

A pasta with sausage, tomatoes and herbs.

Events in Apricale

A common feature of the Val Nervia Towns is to be quiet and quiet during the off-season and to light up the events and events during the summer. In this context Apricale is really a gem thanks to its gastronomic and cultural initiatives.

il Teatro della tosse

Every year, in August, for about two weeks, Apricale becomes the stage of a theatrical exhibition that represents its scenes in every corner of the medieval village.

Every summer thousands of people flock to Apricale thanks to this cultural event perfect for both adults and children.

Pansarole festival

The Pansaroles are the protagonists of the festival that every year on September 8th, the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, or the following Sunday, attracts to Apricale all the gourmets in the area.

In the village square, in a large frying pan, you fry these excellent biscuits, known elsewhere as lies, which you eat then, hot or cold, immersed in a delicious Zabaione cream.

Bonfire in the square

The inhabitants of Apricale have a tradition of gathering around the bonfire on Christmas Eve. Around this intimate event are often organized initiatives at the castle and historically the women of the town prepare the Pansaroles with Zabaione cream.

how to get to Apricale

Apricale is one of the towns that meet climbing up the Nervia Valley, just a few minutes from the coastal cities of west Italian Riviera, Bordighera and Ventimiglia.

It is advisable to reach it by car even if it is served by a public bus service operated by Riviera Trasporti(www.rivieratrasporti.it).

The nearest airport is Nice, which is 50km away(http://www.nice.aeroport.fr)

Another airport to lean on is Genoa(http://www.aeroportodigenova.it/)

Towns and cities in the surroundings

On this page I gave you just a taste of the things you can live and visit during your stay in Apricale.

I am preparing for you pages dedicated to other villages and cities in the area, to offer you even more ideas and suggestions that only those who live in this area have always known

Do you like this guide?

We are almost at the end and before you leave this page I would be very pleased if I could share it on your Facebook page or other Social to help other travelers like you!

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Thanks to this definitive guide on Apricale, you have all the information you need to organize your next trip to discover the Ligurian Riviera.

By reading this guide you will have realized that Apricale has a lot to offer for any type of traveler and at any time of the year.

I gave you all this information because in the tourist guides you find very little about the wonders that you can discover in this area. The few tips that other guides offer do not give you the opportunity to organize your stay in the best possible way.

Also, in the guides, it’s hard to find practical tips and hints on things that really are worth visiting, try and live when you plan to leave for a holiday on the western Riviera.

One last tip that I would like to give you is to also use this information that I gave you as a base for your personal itinerary by inserting what you really care about, what you like and what most seems to align with your idea of vacation. You’ll find that, whatever type of trip you prefer, the Riviera di Ponente will always be content and surprise you.

I really hope to have given you everything you need to be able to start organizing your own unique and rich travel itinerary.

Did you like the guide? Did I miss something? Let me know by writing it in the comments and share with us how and when you decided to visit the beautiful Apricale!

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