Welcome to the village of Doria

Dolceacqua is a lovely village nestled in the hills of Val Nervia, and is one of the gems of the Italian Riviera, just minutes from the sea and the nearby French Riviera.

Claude Monet,who in 1884 stayed in nearby Bordighera,went inland and in addition to the natural wonders of the coast, was enchanted by the village of Dolceacqua.

The Impressionist Painter drew the view of the village, the Castle of the Roman bridge of Dolceacqua and in his letters he wrote fascinated:

“… the place is superb, there is a bridge that is a jewel of lightness …”

Today the medieval village of Dolceacqua is still identical to how Claude Monet painted it in the late 1800s.

Because of its timeless beauty Dolceacqua is now a destination for tourists of all nationalities, who go here from the coastal cities of Liguria and neighboring France or who spend a few days of vacation in the numerous B&B spread among the carts.

Dolceacqua is the oldest Orange Flag in Italy since 2000 (more than 100 countries in Italy have been awarded this coveted award) and is the national headquarters of the Association of Orange Flag Countries having the Presidency.

It is a brand of tourist-environmental quality for the hinterland of the Italian Touring Club, defined by the World Tourism Authority as the only successful fair tourism project in Italy.

In this guide, you will walk the history and fascinating legends of this medieval village with its traditions and beauties. You will discover what to visit in Dolceacqua and you will find many ideas and ideas to make the most of your visit to this extraordinary village of the Italian Riviera.

Are you ready? Let’s start

The Story of Dolceacqua

The first official document that quotes Dolceacqua dates back to 1151, when the accounts of Ventimiglia had the first heart of the castle built at the top of the rocky speron overlooking the creek where the valley tightens and forks: the Roja valley on one side, the Val Nervia on the other.

In 1270 Dolceacqua was purchased by the Doria of Genoa and over the centuries the “Earth” was developed in the town that stands at the foot of the castle.

Wandering around this part of Dolceacqua you will be fascinated by the complicated concentric structure of the carts that develop around the castle.

In the middle of the fifteenth century, Dolceacqua began to grow and develop on the other side of the river: the new district of the “Borgo” was born.

The two parts were connected by the charateristic donkey-back bridge that so amazed the Impressionist painter Claude Monet.

For many centuries, Dolceacqua was the capital of Doria’s rule, which over the centuries spread along the valley of Nervia, encompassing the villages of Perinaldo, Apricale,Isolabona.

During the conflict between guelphs and guillotines, Dolceacqua always keeps himself in the guinea filth, opposing the Guelphs of Ventimiglia and Monaco.

For centuries Dolceacqua was contested between the Grimaldi of Monaco, the Savoy and the Doria themselves.

Finally in 1746 the castle was besieged by the armies French and Spanish and almost destroyed.

After the castle was destroyed, the Doria moved to the village, in the same palace that, in 1794, hosted Napoleon Bonaparte.

What to see in Dolceacqua

Dolceacqua consists of two parts: the “Terra”, the oldest part of the village, the one built all uphill, clinging to the castle, and the “Borgo”, later arose on the flat right bank of Nervia. Here are some tips for you on what to see at Dolceacqua:

Explore the “Land”

The most striking way to enter the “Terra” is to walk the Ponte Vecchio, the symbol of Dolceacqua. It was built in the 15th century on the ruins of an earlier bridge: the only donkey-backed archway, 33 meters long, gives it elegance and vigor at the same time.

Once you cross the bridge you immediately find yourself in the web of narrow streets, stairs, arches, covered passages that constituted the best defense of the medieval village. The village was in fact built with a semi-circle system around the stronghold: this created a series of sectors that could easily be isolated and defended.

To the right is one of the most curious alleys, the Scasasse: a link between the bridge and the parish square, excavated at the level of the stream and probably used for defensive purposes.

Along the main street, which rises first gently, then more and steeper, up to the castle, the ancient medieval workshops have been reinterpreted as art galleries, artisan workshops, and wineries where you can buy the fine food and wine products Local.

As you go up the perspective on the fabric, you can’t help but be bewitched by the chaotic and perfect geometry drawn by the many exhaust arches, the Suspended terraces and the thousand unexpected passages that appear at every step between the houses.

The Castle of Dolceacqua

Continuing the ascent along the Terra district, you finally arrive at Doria Castle. Over the centuries, the building has undergone several transformations.

The transformations and the different use destinations are still evident: today, visiting it, you can admire the military facilities, the service spaces, the prisons from the side facing the village, while on the other side – with a large courtyard to separate – the environments residential and representative areas.

The parrocchiale di Sant’Antonio Abate and Palazzo Doria

Going down to the height of the river you will find yourself in the square of the parrocchiale di Sant’Antonio Abate: in the rich Baroque interior is guarded the beautiful polyptych of Santa Devota, commissioned in 1515 by Francesca Doria to Ludovico Brea.

At the side of the church, on the base of the angular tower of the medieval walls, stands the baroque bell tower On the square proposes the sixteenth-century palace that the Doria erected, around 1744, at home after the destruction of the castle; the passage that still connects the building to the parish was once used by members of the noble family to access the church.

The Visionarium

The street is also home to the Visionarium 4D: designed by Ennio Andrighetto, it is a room for projections in 4D and Omnimax (total image) specializing in documentaries of high-quality natural interest, in which photography, music, and poetry merge in a crescendo of wonder.
During the show beyond the images in three dimensions, you hear the sound of real water flowing, the wind in the hair and the scents of nature.

An experience not to be missed!

Go to site

visit the “Borgo”

In the Borgo district, there is the oratory of San Sebastiano, where you can admire a valuable wooden sculpture attributed to the Maragliano.

Here is the headquarters of the brotherhood that on Sunday closest to January 20 organizes the procession dedicated to the saint: following a rite of clear pagan origins, a large laurel tree is transported, adorned with colorful hosts, a symbol of abundance and harvests Agricultural

typical products of Dolceacqua

Dolceacqua has a centuries-old history and even some of its most characteristic products have an ancient origin. History and legends are intertwined with delicious specialties.

The Michetta

It tells a legend that the cruel Imperial Doria, lord of Dolceacqua, had been so ruthless as to claim the “jus primae noctis” and the beautiful Lucretia, rather than indulge, had preferred to die.

The inhabitants of the village then rose up and forced the tyrant to renounce his privilege forever.

The victory of the people against the tyrant was celebrated on August 16 with the preparation of a sweet, the michetta, a kind of double brioche covered with sugar. The women, preparing it, realized that the dough had a shape reminiscent of the female sex, and then they took it to the village shouting “Omi, au, a michetta a damu a chi vuremu nui” (“Men, now we give it to whoever we want”)

Since then, on the morning of August 16, the young people of the village, followed by an orchestra, go around the village, visiting the cellars and stopping under the windows of the girls, to whom the michetta is asked loudly.

After seven hundred years, the michetta continues to be the sweet of the village. and on special occasions and parties, it is accompanied by The Rossese, the DOC wine that is the other must of Dolceacqua.

The Rossese di Dolceacqua

Dolceacqua’s red gold is his wine, the Rossese, appreciated by Pope Paul IIl Farnese, who had his Roman cellars supplied, and of which Napoleon fell in love, who would have renamed him by his name if the pride of the producers had not prevented him.

First DOC of Liguria, it is known as Rossese of Dolceacqua, although the recognized producing villages are fourteen, to emphasize the historical origins of the crop that seems to have been introduced by the Doria.

Once poured into the chalices, when the ruby color lights up with this excellent wine it gives off the characteristic warm scent that makes it perfect to accompany the simple, but tasty, specialties of local gastronomy.

Food of Dolceacqua

Dolceacqua despite being a small village has a very interesting choice of restaurants and the common thread that unites them is the typical Ligurian cuisine: simple, genuine and very tasty.

As you walk the narrow alleys or while you are browsing in some shop, ask the locals for their favorite restaurant. Now here are some tips for you:


The Erbun

A salty pumpkin pie with polenta, milk, a chopped leek salt and oil.


The Fugasun

A salted herbal cake with a simple oil dough.


The “pasta cun e erbe”

a sort of focaccia toted with tasty seasonal herbs.


The “pasta cun a bagna”

Similar to the Bordighera’s “Sardenaira”


The “ravioli c’u pesigu”

tasty ravioli of borage closed with a “pinch”.


“U Cuniu”

The Ligurian rabbit with all the scents of the territory: olives, Mediterranean herbs and The Rossese of Dolceacqua.



the front quarter of the stuffed lamb.


The Tacunà Cake

shortcrust pastry based

Dolceacqua Events

Dolceacqua is beautiful to visit all year round, but there are some moments in the life of the people of Dolceacqua that mark the passing of the seasons, now even with centuries-old traditions.
If you are lucky enough to be in Liguria during one of these occasions you can live a unique experience up close. Here are some events and events in Dolceacqua:

Procession of San Sebastian

In the Borgo district, in the Baroque oratory of San Sebastiano is preserved the statue of the Saint that on Sunday closest to January 20 is carried in procession preceded by a large laurel tree adorned with colorful hostes, ancient symbol of the abundance of agricultural crops.


In spring the traditional “Carugi in Fiore” takes place, which sees the whole old town covered with floral arrangements.

The inhabitants of the village compete in a competition to create the most beautiful and artistic floral composition, which, every year is inspired by a different theme.

Each “Carrugio” comes alive with musical entertainment, wine tastings, cultural events and much more.

All the typical shops, wineries and shops remain open to tease the many visitors who attend the event.

Michetta Festival

On August 16, the Michetta Festival (sweet like a brioche), recalls the figure of Lucrezia, who died according to tradition so as not to yield to the jus primae noctis demanded by Imperial Doria, and the rebellion of 1364 that drove out the tyrant.

Dolceacqua fireworks

At the end of August Dolceacqua lights up on the occasion of its extraordinary fireworks show.
The show takes place near the ancient bridge, in the river and at the base of the castle.
Thousands of visitors arrive to Dolceacqua in the afternoon to fully immerse themselves in this magical atmosphere. And when the show begins the squares and terraces of the village are packed with ecstatic people.

Christmas bonfire

At Christmas, large bonfires are lit on the two main squares of the village and the Earth as a symbol of participation in the most intimate festival of the year.

It is a tradition for the young people of the village to go to collect wood to feed the fire in their ward to compete to make the fire last as long as possible.

How to get to Dolceacqua

Dolceacqua is the second village you meet by driving up the Nervia Valley, just minutes from the coastal towns of West Italian Riviera, Bordighera and Ventimiglia.

I suggest you to reach it by car even if it is served by a public bus service operated by Riviera Transport Line 7 (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 Dolceacqua.

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!


Thanks to this definitive guide on Dolceacqua you have all the information you need to organize your next trip to discover the Italian Riviera.

By reading this guide you will have realized that Dolceacqua 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? Just let me know by writing in the comments and share with us how and when you decided to visit the beautiful Bordighera!

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