Apricale, Italy, Small Village in the Hills above San Remo

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Apricale castle,Liguria, ItalyMy first glimpse of the small village of Apricale from the road was nothing short of breathtaking, as the town appeared to loom out of nowhere. The homes appeared to have been built on top of one another, and the scene looked like a postcard.

Apricale  lies in the hills high above the coastal resort town of San Remo, on the Italian Riviera in the region of Liguria. Apricale is a little bit off the beaten track and not populated with too many tourists except in the summer months. Its proximity to the French Riviera and northern Italy make it a popular spot for European tourists.  With a population between five and six hundred, the village is a nice change from the more crowded touristy towns like Rome or Florence.

The oval-shaped Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II is the heart of the small town and the place where the local residents and visitors come together for all the important events. Apricale cats, Liguria, ItalyTo reach this piazza, be prepared to walk, as the staircases and narrow steep streets (called caruggi) can only be traversed on foot. Vehicles must park at the lower end of this pedestrian-only town.

Cats of Apricale

Along the way various breeds of well-fed cats stroll the streets and sit on staircases, and by the numbers of cat bowls on the steps, it is apparent that the local residents have adopted them as honorary Apricale citizens. Some of these cats are friendlier than others.

Apricale art on walls, Liguria, ItalyPaintings on Walls

One of the more interesting aspects of Apricale is the hand painted pastel murals and works of art on the walls throughout the town. These paintings are dated from the 1960’s and 1970’s and they depict scenes from countryside and rural living.

Castello della Lucertola

Apricale has a castle, Castello della Lucertola, or Lizard’s Castle. It is actually the remains of a castle although much of it is still intact. Inside there are seven rooms with different themes, and one room is used as a theater museum or gallery, exhibiting figures from designs of the artist Emanuele Luzzati. One of the towers that looks like steeple has a bicycle attached to it, left by one of the visiting artists years ago.

Piazza Events

Apricale piazza, Liguria, ItalyOne of the biggest events is the summer theatre performances which take place in the piazza in August. For the past 20 years, the Teatro della Tosse arrives from Genoa, and there are also performers from the nearby French Riviera town of Nice.

July is the month of the finals of the Pallone elastico, or Balu, tournaments, where 16 teams compete in a game which is only played in this area of Italy. An elastic ball is bounced off the walls in the piazza and the players are very serious in this local sport. The winning teams receive trophies which are proudly displayed in the bar in the piazza.

Apricale tower, Liguria, ItalySeptember brings the Apricale Festival in the beginning of the month with processions and cooking panserole in the piazza. Panserole are a local treat somewhat like sweet fritters.

In January local residents celebrate the New Year around a bonfire, “falo di natale,” which was lit at Christmastime and remains until the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. If you listen closely to the local Apricalesi, you may hear the dialect being spoken.

Apricale has a population of less than 600 and is only 75 miles from Genoa. For a change of pace and a town which is off the beaten path, Apricale is a great place to spend a day.

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Guest Post By: Margie Miklas


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