If you want to celebrate the day of 25 April in a place of other times, Apricale will be for you: here it will seem to you to go back over the centuries, to the age of fairy tales of princesses and princes. Apricale, in fact, is a medieval village among the best preserved in Italy. Walking on the ancient sloping cobblestones, you will have the pleasant sensation of getting lost in a labyrinth made of narrow alleys that, following a spiral path, will lead you to the top of the village. From there you can enjoy the splendid panorama of the Val Nervia which extends towards the Riviera Ligure di Ponente. In short, the perfect village for those who love doing up and down the stone steps, without having to be particularly trained. However, we advise you to put on a pair of comfortable tennis shoes!
Apricale, in the province of Imperia, is a small village perched on a hill in the western Ligurian hinterland and surrounded by the Maritime Alps, is about 15 kilometers from Ventimiglia, 17 from Bordighera, 30 from Sanremo and just under an hour by car from the border French. Also due to its proximity to the "city of flowers" (where the well-known song festival is held in February) and to France, we highly recommend it for a trip that may include other interesting tourist locations in the surrounding area.
What immediately strikes Apricale, when it reaches its slopes along the provincial road, is the "lizard-like" arrangement of the houses, which climb up the hill forming sinuous curves. Not surprisingly, at the top of the village, stands the Castello della Lucertola, which looks like the tip of this imaginary tail. A bit of etymology. The term "Apricale" comes from the Latin "Apricus", which means "sunny", "exposed to the sun". And, indeed, the beauty of the surrounding landscape, immersed in the silent olive groves, shines with tranquility.
Being located in the hinterland, at an altitude of 270 meters in an isolated mountain area and 20 kilometers from the coast, the most convenient way to reach Apricale is by car. From the A10 Autostrada dei Fiori exit at Ventimiglia or Bordighera, take the Provincial Road 64 up to Isolabona, where you take the Provincial Road 63. In a few minutes, after a couple of hairpin bends, you will arrive at the various parking lots along the road at your feet of the village.
Apricale is the village most loved by artists. During your walk in the historical center, in fact, you will notice, as well as the massive presence of plants and flowers placed next to the doors of the houses, also of as many murals painted on the brick walls. In fact, Apricale is very popular with painters from not only Liguria but from every corner of Italy. Their signatures accompany their artistic masterpieces in the open air, external paintings with human subjects engaged in normal daily life activities.
In the center of Apricale, in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, stand the churches of the Purification of the Virgin Mary and of St. Bartholomew and the Castello della Lucertola, the artistic heart of the village. Built around the tenth century, it was conceived as a defensive fortress by the Counts of Ventimiglia. In 1500 it was razed to the ground by the Grimaldis of Monaco, only to be rebuilt in the nineteenth century for military purposes. Today, inside, the Museum of the history of Apricale is kept, which houses several galleries of Ligurian artists, including the illustrations of the well-known Genoese painter Emanuele Luzzati, who died in 2007.
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele represents the epicenter of the aggregative activities of the village. Many folklore events are organized here during the year. Please note: The romantic night, which is celebrated in all the villages of Italy on June 25th; the Teatro della Tosse, traveling shows through the streets of the village from 5 to 15 August; the Sagra della Pansarola, every first Sunday of September dedicated to the typical Apricale dessert, accompanied by hot zabione; patronal feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, 8 September; New oil festival, for the entire month of November; Bonfire in the streets on December 24th. In short, visit Apricale in any season of the year: art will accompany your every step, to discover a village... to be framed!