Welcome to an enchanted country

Rocchetta Nervina is a curious and pleasant stop for those who want to explore western Liguria at leisure. This small village nestled among streams offers breathtaking naturalistic views.

Nestled among green forests, Rocchetta Nervina is famous throughout Europe for its extraordinary small lakes.

More adventurous travelers who want to climb canyons carved by waters over the centuries will find themselves inside gorges and vistas that are truly uncommon in an area so close to the sea.

Like the other villages of Liguria, Rocchetta has its ancient glimpses among the carrugi, its culinary specialties its typical products.

In this guide you will be guided through the history and traditions of this medieval village. You’ll discover how to cool off in the famous ponds and find lots of ideas and insights to enjoy your visit to this extraordinary village in Liguria.

Are you ready? Let’s start

The History of Rocchetta Nervina

Archaeological findings testify that the area where Rocchetta stands today has been continuously inhabited since Roman times. Tradition has it that a temple dedicated to the Celtic god of the sun stood on the summit of Mount Abelio, west of the village.

In medieval times, the municipality of Rocchetta Nervina was located in the diocese of Ventimiglia, which included all of Val Roja and Val Nervia reaching on one side to Bordighera and on the other to Monaco.

Politically it belonged to an important strategic area called the County of Nice along with Pigna and the middle Val Roja with Sospello (today Sospel), Saorgio (Saorge) and Breglio (Breil).

This area came, after the Angevin interlude, under the rule of the Savoy family in 1388, the year Amadeus VII had finally managed to obtain an outlet to the sea.

Its history is thus that of a borderland, constantly harassed by fighting and raids between its inhabitants and the neighboring supporters of the Republic of Genoa, particularly the Dorias of Dolceacqua.

Among the most dramatic moments were the war triggered by Imperiale Doria in 1360 and the more bloody war of 1625 in which the House of Savoy and Genoa faced each other backed by France and Spain, respectively, within the broader political scenario of the Italian wars.

What to see in rocchetta nervina

Rocchetta is famous among nature lovers for the unspoiled atmosphere of its small lakes: thousands of people every year make a nice rejuvenating stop here. For those who want to discover Liguria in its most hidden corners, I recommend a stop in Rocchetta. And, once here, why not let yourself be guided a complete tour of this Enchanted Village?

The ponds

Just behind the houses begins a series of basins known as “the little lakes,” an irresistible summer destination for a refreshing dip. The crystal-clear waters reflecting the blue of the sky and the bright green of the surrounding vegetation make for a wild and striking atmosphere.

Further upstream is the actual canyon of the Barbaira stream in which thousands of sportsmen from all over Europe canyoneer each year. This sport, which assembles caving descent techniques with mountaineering and swimming, is a great attraction and provides an insight into an absolutely unique environment such as the Barbaira canyon ecosystem, with its rocks, mosses, ferns and emerald green basins.

The path to the canyon’s starting point begins at the oratory and passes by the small country church of St. Bernard. The trail, which is part of the Balcone trail, leads in fifty minutes to Ponte Cin passing halfway up the hillside, often overhanging the stream, among high rocks, cultivated terraces and Mediterranean scrub.

Continuing on we reach, surrounded by dense unspoiled vegetation, the Barbaira springs.

Shorter walks, even loop walks, are possible, starting from the village and discovering attractive corners, such as the easy stretch leading to the small country church of Santa Lucia and the small bridge of Fontana Viva over the Oggia stream with its light-colored tufa basins.

Discovering the Borgo

A splendid Romanesque humpback bridge introduces us to the ancient village crisscrossed by a network of partly covered narrow streets, the typical “carugi.”

Immediately encountered is the Oratory of the Santissima Annunziata in which are kept two valuable wooden statues of the Madonna and two 17th-century canvases depicting the intervention of the Virgin extinguishing the flames during the attempt by Corsican and Ventimiglia troops on September 2, 1625, to conquer the village.

The oratory arose precisely in thanksgiving for the miracle that has been commemorated every year for four centuries. A few steps among the old houses and you are at the parish church of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, the real heart of the village.

Founded in the 16th century but with later Baroque additions, the church stands on Rocchetta’s most characteristic square where, during the Christmas season, the typical Christmas fire burns from the night of December 24 to the morning of January 6.

The northern façade of the church faces the balun square, an ancient game of fist-ball that has always been played by the rocchettini.

The whole village is a succession of narrow streets and small squares that open unseen views and vistas of the crystal-clear waters of the streams.

A nice viewpoint can be enjoyed from the footpath under the fortified houses by the Barbaira creek where it is also possible to stop for a picnic. Already within walking distance of the village, the streams are crossed by several small stone humpback bridges that allow for short hikes surrounded by nature.


Summer 2019 saw the opening of the museum center that aims to trace Rocchetta’s history and craft tradition in a lively-looking space whose past continues to live on in the present.
Inside the Dubarie Tower it is possible to see the old structure of the village’s tanneries, the mill and Rocchetta’s ingenious water system.
During the visit, Mr. Enrico, who has faithfully reconstructed the mill, will be happy to put it into operation to show how it was used in ancient times.

dubarie official website

The caves

In Rocchetta Nervina it is also possible to venture into speleology and explore the mysterious caves carved by water over the centuries. For this type of activity, you need to be accompanied: to find an experienced guide, you need to contact the Bordighera CAI group.

cai bordighera website

typical products of Rocchetta Nervina

Rocchetta Nervina in addition to having a food and wine similar to the other villages of the Nervia Valley to typicalities all its own, the pride of centuries of traditions.

Goat and beans

The culinary specialty of Rocchetta Nervina is crava e faixoi, goat and beans, a dish capable of combining the strong flavor of goat meat with the delicacy of white legumes from Pigna, Conio, and Badalucco.

The cooks dose herbs and flavors with ancient skill in which they cook the cut meat of a young animal long and slowly, so that it remains tender. Only at the end do you add the beans, and the result is a simple and tasty dish that is worth trying.

Extra virgin olive oil

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

The valleye surrounding Rocchetta enjoys an extraordinary temperate climate with a low temperature range. And here, the olive tree has found a perfect environment and an ideal climate to grow and bear fruit. The land around the village of Rocchetta is rich in strips (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.

eating in Rocchetta

There are few typical small restaurants in Rocchetta where you can enjoy local products, so it is very difficult to go wrong. And they are all there as soon as you arrive in the village. You can find them before the Ancient Roman Bridge.
Here are some of the dishes I recommend you try in Rocchetta:


Rabbit a la rocchettina

A great classic of the Ligurian hinterland.

Savory pie

Try the pumpkin and chard one.



Handmade farfalle with beans in tomato sauce.


The ravioli

Herb ravioli seasoned with tomato and butter and sage.

Events in Rocchetta Nervina

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, Rocchetta is really a treat thanks to its gastronomic and cultural initiatives.

fairy tale festival

The Rocchetta Nervina Fairy Tale Festival is one of the most beloved and anticipated events in this area of Liguria.
The village is transformed into an enchanted world where the most beautiful fairy tales are told. Theatrical scenes accompanied by lights, music and the extraordinary setting of the medieval village are performed among the carruggi. The ideal show for children and adults.

goat and bean festival

On the last Sunday in July, Rocchetta Nervina dedicates a festival to its most typical dish: goat and beans, which, to satisfy all gourmets, is accompanied by other dishes from the local gastronomic tradition and, of course, the tasting of wine and oil, products of which the area has good reason to be proud.

how to get to rocchetta

Rocchetta is one of the towns one encounters going up the Nervia Valley, just minutes from the coastal cities of western Liguria, 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 have given you just a taste of the things you can experience and visit during your visit to Rocchetta.

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

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With this definitive guide to Rocchetta Nervina, you have all the information you need to plan your next trip exploring the Ligurian 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? Let me know by writing it in the comments and share with us how and when you decided to visit the beautiful Rocchetta!