Italy is an endless process of discovery, and our Italian contributor Daniela Pittaluga heads to Liguria to the charming Borgio Verezzi – one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Bordering with France, Liguria is in north-western Italy.  The region features impressive mountains, rolling hills, green Mediterranean turf and overlooks the Ligurian Sea. Borgio Verezzi is a comune (municipality) in the Savona Province about 60 kilometres southwest of Genoa. Four separate villages – Crosa, Piazza, Poggio, and Roccaro – together make up Verezzi.

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The main tourist centre of Poggio is to be thanked for Borgio Verezzi’s status as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

Borgio Verezzi has two distinct areas: the beach resort along the Riviera di Ponente called Borgio and the medieval village on the hill in Verezzi.

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Verezzi is characterized by pink stone buildings set in a landscape of rock and sea, and linked by carruggi (mule tracks) and the crêuze, used by mules and wagons in the past. The centre of Verezzi is Piazza Sant’Agostino, where the Borgio Verezzi theatre festival is held in August.

The upper village of Saracen on the Verezzi hill has joined houses of the local pink stone and boasts of some pretty spectacular views of the Liguria coast. This Mediterranean architecture is clearly of Arab-Islamic influence.

Enjoy a lovely walk on the Comune Nature Trail or the 3-km Culture Trail. We promise that the hard work is worth it – there are guaranteed unforgettable views at the end of the road.

The four villages are characterized primarily by their terraced or slightly vaulted roofs. It is lovely to wander through the villages of Verezzi walking along the various crêuze.

In Roccaro, see the 18th-century Chapel of the Madonna Immacolata with its Baroque style altar and decorations; this is the only building whose roof is covered with slate from the area. Poggio spreads around the tower in two perpendicular lines, while Crosa is the oldest and most interesting village. It seems to be carved directly into the stone and there is a system of caves dug into the hillside which were already inhabited during the Palaeolithic age – you will find the most important religious buildings here.

 

Above the village, near the Phoenician Mill, on a spur of rock visible from every part of Verezzi, stands the Croce dei Santi (Cross of Saints), 3.50 meters high, made in stone; the cross was placed there in 1664 by Capuchin monks returning from the Holy Land and is now a destination for religious pilgrimages associated with Marian apparitions.

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The best known village is Piazza, home to where Piazza Sant’Agostino with its 17th-century church (restored after the war). In Borgio town, visit the 18th century Church of San Pietro, in neoclassical style, and the medieval Shrine of Our Lady of Good Counsel in the cemetery.

On the outskirts of Borgio Verezzi, take a journey into the most colourful caves in Italy. Grotte Di Borgio Verezzi (Borgio Verezzi Caves) for its 800 metres long underground route. The stunning colours of the caves are credited to the presence of various minerals, the stalactite formations are incredible. The “Mantle of St. Martin” formation reminds one of the drapery of a fabric. “Sea Bells” are sonorous stalactites – if struck,  they produce a sound similar to the tolling of bells. You will reach emerald lakes and ponds to complete the magical journey.