Going up from the coast of Vallecrosia towards the inland, following the course of the Borghetto river, in a little more than four kilometers you reach the village of Vallebona. The village is mainly vertical and, even if it covers a considerable height difference (about two hundred meters), it is arranged according to a concentric scheme around the parish church and the town hall. The small historical center is very well preserved and has a remarkable monumental unity, with arcades and covered passages that are typical of other villages of the province (such as Cervo, Baiardo, Dolceacqua and, on a larger scale, the "Pigna" of Sanremo); in many places the cobblestone pavement gives elegance and lightness to the small squares and the openings that are one behind the other, connected by stairs and winding alleys. The buildings of the outermost ring towards the valley merge into a sort of wall, which currently ends on the side of the access road to the village with the historic Porta di Santa Maria.
Rural village of medieval origin, but with an even more ancient history behind it, even if not very documented, Vallebona is located in the center of an agricultural area that enjoys excellent exposure, cultivated for many centuries with vines, olive trees, citrus fruits, vegetables and, more recently, flowers. Through secondary roads that offer good panoramic views, it connects to the west to the neighboring centers of the lower Val Nervia (Soldano, San Biagio della Cima) and, to the east, to Seborga and Sasso di Bordighera, from which you can take the best view of the village.
The small center was a possession of the Counts of Ventimiglia from the early Middle Ages to the 17th century, when it joined the independent Community of the Eight Places; it then followed the fate common to the entire region from the Napoleonic era onwards. The main monument is the parish church of San Lorenzo (ahche patron saint), founded in medieval times probably on a pre-Christian place of worship, then rebuilt in baroque style, which retains a beautiful fifteenth-century portal with slate decorations and next to the stone bell tower, still that of the medieval building, which stands well above the highest houses of the village and is easily identifiable from any point of the small valley. Precious, inside the parish church, the crucifix of the fifteenth century. The nearby town hall building, with its raised portico, creates a nice architectural and chromatic contrast with the religious building. The Oratory of the Disciplinati is also very interesting, with frescoed interiors and a painting of the Nativity of the Virgin by Maurizio Carrega, the painter of Porto Maurizio active between the eighteenth and early nineteenth century in many churches in the area. Thanks to the intelligent lighting, the shapes and volumes of the urban complex can be admired even in the evening, especially in summer on the occasion of one of the many events (theatrical and musical performances) that take place in the streets and squares of the town.
Because of its closeness to the coast and its good ventilation, Vallebona is very suitable for those who want to do bathing activities without renouncing to the evening quiet of the countryside. Besides the hotels, in the last years have been opened farm holidays, bed and breakfast and apartments for rent that offer many different solutions to the holidaymakers. Numerous are the possibilities of excursions in the surroundings, visiting the nearby villages or walking along the paths that climb on the terraces.
Since 2007, the event "Ape in Bloom" has been held in Vallebona in the summer: dozens of "Ape" decorated with floral decorations and other materials are displayed on the streets of the village, becoming real artistic installations and creating a cheerful and colorful setting. The Ape, the characteristic three-wheeled vehicle with an unmistakable design, has been the absolute protagonist of work in the fields throughout the province for decades: the narrow spaces of the inter-modal roads and the slopes make it the ideal means of locomotion and transport for farmers and in recent years, thanks to the successful event, it has become a recognizable "testimonial" of tourist hospitality in Vallebona.
Very appreciated typical products are the distillates of flower essences and citrus fruits coming from the cultivations of the area: very popular is the orange blossom aroma which is used in the preparation of sweets. In the restaurants it is possible to taste the classics of the regional cooking, in particular the rabbit alla ligure. A tradition still alive at Christmas time is the big bonfire in a square of the village, which is fed by the wood procured by the young people of the village and kept always lit from Christmas Eve until the Epiphany, becoming a place of aggregation and a festive occasion: every evening young and old meet to improvise music and dance, exchange gifts and spend some time together.
Since October 30, 2017, Vallebona has been the leader of the European project "Arco del benessere", which unites ten municipalities of western Liguria plus the French municipality of Saorge for the promotion of common activities dedicated to sport, wellness and correct lifestyles.
Village of Vallebona
Municipality of Vallebona
Province of Imperia
Inhabitants: 1 298
Altitude center: 149 m.s.l.
The Municipality of Comune
Via del Municipio, 3 - tel: 0184 290572