The last post left off at the olive oil factory of Carlo Carli in Imperia with “trouble at t’mill”. There was talk of revolution and dissent in my group of half-hardy trekkers on this Timon Lepidus Trip  This however spoiled not a bit the first fabulous thing of the day, which was:

Fabulous thing to do No.1: have breakfast on the terrace

The sunrise was, if anything, even more fabulous than on the previous two days, and the air just as warm.

Sunrise over the Ligurian Sea at Imperia by Charles Hawes

We sat glowing over our fresh croissants, fruit, bread and home-made jam.

Timon Lepidus Trip 2018: image by Charles Hawes

Left to right: Inma, Katarina, Alessio, Els and Marika (with an odd expression)

If we still carried anxiety about how we would cope with a 22km walk in 28 degree temperatures, as far as I recall, we kept them to ourselves (possibly because our leader, Alessio, had joined us for breakfast and no one wanted to spoil this very special start to the day.)

We were on the mini-bus by 7.30, driving  back to Taggia, where we had finished yesterday’s walk. In fact Alessio had already made things a little easier for us as rather than climb up the hill from Taggia to Castellaro, he drove us to this pretty hilltop village shaving at least a kilometre or two off the walk and saving us a steep climb.

Fabulous thing to do No.2: Visit Castellaro

In fact we saw very little of the village as we walked in line through its narrow streets ( I bet it is fabulous, though).

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

No one was about and if it did have a “must see” church, we missed it. I suspect Alessio was keen to conserve our energies……

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

…….because this was going to be our best experience yet of the real reason we were there, which was to:

Fabulous thing to do No.3: walk the Via della Costa

Up to now I had not been that impressed by our introduction to this 348 km way-marked walk from the Frech/Italian border to Rome. There had been too much walking by noisy roads and through built-up areas or unloved countryside. But today we had left the busy coast and were up in the hills.

Taking a tarmac road out of the village, we passed some roadside orange trees….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… and climbing gently, had a great view back to Castellaro.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

I’m sure we should have had a tour of that church

After a  mile or so the village was framed in the distance by olive trees.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Looking towards the sea, our view was of the A10 motorway and the green fairways of a golf course.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

We left the road and, still climbing,  joined a wide stone track which took us through an olive grove lined with trees; I was  already grateful for their shade.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

The views to the coast became quite impressive……

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… but what was so great was to be in the quiet of the hills on this warm and perfect day.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

We took a break on reaching Mount Morrei (around 1500 feet), which was immediately a designated posing spot.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Everyone took their turn…..

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

……Lorenzo contemplating climbing a tree but decided against it.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

After Mount Morrei the path was quite flat for 1/2 a mile or so and shaded by pine trees until we had a view of our first destination – the village of Lingueglietta.

Across the valley beyond this village there was our lunch spot – the village of Civezza.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

When she heard that there would be a drink and rest at Lingueglietta Katarina got quite excited.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Fabulous thing to do No.4: visit Lingueglietta

The village is officially one of Italy’s 200 most beautiful. We were soon strolling through its cobbled and deserted streets….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… where several houses had plastic bottles of water fixed to the bottom of their walls.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

According to Lorenzo to deter dogs from peeing at that spot. Who’d have guessed?

We made our way to the main square…

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

…. where the Chiesa parrocchiale della Nativita di Maria Vergine …..

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

…..had great views over the surrounding countryside.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

The doorway was probably the most lovely part of this little church….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

…. but I popped in for a shufty.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

The ceiling was especially nice.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

The most amazing thing about the village though was Alessio had arranged for a little wooden refreshment kiosk to open for our benefit where we were treated to a mini carb-fest and whatever we wanted to drink. Sometimes a cold coke is what hits the spot.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

One titbit was especially delicious and I asked the kind women serving us what it was called and what was in it.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Panzerotti: this one with Ricotta cheese, courgettes, rice.

Rested and refreshed, we left the village via its more famous church, the Chiesa Fortezza di San Pietro.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Sadly this C13th fortified church wasn’t open.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

It was quite a steep descent from the village into the valley….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… where an ancient stone bridge crossed a near dried-up river San Lorenzo.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

From the bridge we climbed back up the hill almost continuously. It was only a mile or two to Civezza and only the last bit was really steep but it was really hot and some of us found it a bit of a slog up the hill. At a chapel near the top we paused to re-group and for Lorenzo to do his showing-off thing by pull- ups on an iron bar.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

He’s hanging off right whilst Els takes a picture of his monkey impression

Civezza appears from the relatively uncommon signs I saw on the wall to be both on the Via della Costa….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… and the Sentiero Liguria.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Els and I were the first to reach the square opposite the pretty pink painted facade of the San Marco Evangelista Church. We  were admiring it with a couple of German tourists who, when they heard that we had climbed up the hill on foot, gave us a formal bow of respect. Nice.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

If you google images for this church you’ll find more of my pics on Getty

Civezza was as quiet as very other town and village we had been to on this trip. Its narrow lanes had the same “bridges” between the buildings to protect against earthquakes….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… and, and I have not mentioned this before, they were entirely devoid of litter.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Most houses were painted in warm pinks and soft yellows.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Our itinerary was to include a guided tour here but Alessio had taken note of those that had raised concerns about the extra walking involved on such a hot day and had stood the guides down. We made straight for the BARcollo ma non mollo, where we were greeted by its owner, Franco. Which leads me neatly on to:

Fabulous things to do No.5 – eat lunch on the terrace at Civezza

Katarina had stayed in this village the previous year and had become friends with Franco and his dachshund.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Thanks to Katarina Wohlfart (@antligenvilse) for this pic

Franco had laid a table on the terrace for us with white table-cloth and an awning and it was a perfect setting for a well-earned lunch.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Katarina is partial to Prosecco so this was offered to us all….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

… and Franco and Alessio were duly toasted.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Thanks to Katarina Wohlfart (@antligenvilse) for this pic

Unknown to me (though if I had thought about it I should have known) Alessio had already arranged the menu of bruschetta and pasta; I was getting desperate for greenery and asked for a  salad much to the approval of my companions. I thought that this was what we would all get, so I felt a bit of a heel when mine was the only one. The regional pasta is called Trofie, often served with a pesto sauce.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Thanks to Katarina Wohlfart (@antligenvilse) for this pic

Everyone thought it was delicious. There’s nothing like a sparkling wine on a sunny day to lift the spirits.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Add into the mix a terrace in a pretty village in Liguria with fab views to the surrounding countryside and it was a successful recipe for a strong sense of wellbeing.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

From Civezza the only way was down. We walked a mile or so on paved roads….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

…… and farm tracks by olive groves….

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

…..towards the bottom of the hill passing under the A10 motorway.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

I think the Via della Costa takes a road to Imperia from here. Alessio has other plans. His mission is to improve the route and what he is hoping to do is make use of the disused railway line to make a new foot and cycle path.  He had obtained special permission for us to test this out. I wish he hadn’t.

What not to do (Alessio please take note): walk on the railway track to Imperia

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Thanks to Katarina Wohlfart (@antligenvilse) for this pic

I don’t know if you have walked on a railway line. I did for a while on the Wales Coast Path and I can tell you, it’s not a nice experience. The stones between the sleepers are large and loose and unpleasant under the feet.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

The sleepers themselves are not far apart enough for a comfortable stride.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

It was altogether horrid. Marika appeared to enjoy herself, though.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Not even going through a tunnel made this fun as far as I was concerned.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

So whilst I am sure that Alessio’s plans are good I would rather have not done this bit. You might be OK if you are a tightrope walker.

Thanks to Katarina Wohlfart for the use of this pic

*************

That was it for walking for the day and we had time back at the apartment to shower and change before supper.  Alessio lives up in the hills above Imperia and he had arranged for friends of his to host us for supper.  They were a lovely couple and we met Alessio’swife and his handsome young son. Marika was the only one to take advantage of the swimming pool and whilst she played with the boy in the pool the rest of us chilled and chatted with a glass of wine. Anne was keen to see what their house and garden was like and the friend, who spoke reasonable English, gave me a guided tour.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

It was open-plan and full of interesting and objects and art, the lighting  warm and soft. I thought it cosy and charming. The garden was mostly full of olive trees (they make their own oil) tough shrubs and specimen trees. A bit rough, but lord knows, not everyone wants to make a garden.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Alessio’s wife and friends had been cooking for us all day and had laid out a beautiful table outside for a feast.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

Once again it  felt very touching to be invited by total strangers to their home and to be offered such generous hospitality.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

The food was a celebration of  savoury pastries and fried titbits; all delicious. And for pudding we were presented with trays of home-made biscuits.

The Timon Lepidus Trip 2018 between Castellaro and Imperia: image by Charles Hawes

I might have taken more pictures but at the same time this was one of those occasions to sit and savour the moment,  to take in this gift from Alessio and his friends that money could not buy.

******

Over 350 images from this whole trip can be found at Getty Images. Just click this link

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Thinking on My Feet by Kate Humble – a review

November 18, 2018
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I must start with a confession. I am prejudiced against Kate Humble. I am not sure why exactly. I think it’s all those pictures of her smiling. She’s forever smiling, like the late Beth Chatto, (though Chatto’s fixed smile was more like a grimace). Kate’s is that cheerful “I’m as friendly as a dog wagging […]

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Following  the Via Della Costa trail along the Ligurian Coast, courtesy of the Timon Lepidus Trip 2018, here are my “must sees” (and one to maybe pass on) between Ospedaletti and Taggia. 1. Fabulous thing to do No.1 – have breakfast at sunrise Yes, I know that this was on my last post, but just […]

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October 7, 2018
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In which Charles is introduced to a big Lizard and to bloggers from Italy, Spain, Belgium and Sweden. And eats lots of Pizza.   In April I received  a most unusual invitation: Dear Blogger, this mail comes from Liguria, a region situated in the Italy’s northwest. We have visited your website and your blog too, […]

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A damp walk on the Cambrian Way in Wales taking in Plynlimon, and the sources of the rivers Wye and Severn but not seeing very much apart from sheep.  Distance: 13 miles to Dylife, 10 from there to Commins Coch Dates walked:  14th and 15th August 2018 Maps used: OS Explorer 213: Aberystwyth&Cwm Rheidol OS […]

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The GR21 in Normandy, France between St-Pierre-en-Port and Veulettes-sur-Mer

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A gentle walk along the GR21 in Normandy between St Pierre-en-Port and Veulttes-sur-Mer; not overly exciting, but good if you like churches. Date walked: 25th May 2018 Distance: about 11  miles Map used: IGN 1809 “Fecamp”- a great large scale map *********** Judging by the paucity of comment on my last gripping episode on the […]

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The GR21 in Normandy, France between Fecamp and St-Pierre-en-Port

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A short walk along the very misty Alabaster Coast in Normandy – so no sea views but the German war defences were interesting. Date walked: 24th May 2018 Map used: IGN 1809 “Fecamp”- a great large scale map Distance: about 8.5 miles Rating: 6/10 ************ Shortly before Bob and I did our walk in the […]

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The Usk Valley Walk: Usk to Caerleon

July 29, 2018
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Date walked: 24th July 2018 Distance: 13 miles Map used: OS Explorer 152: Newport and Pontypool ************ You might have been wondering what I have been doing since I got back from France. Not walking – its been far too hot. I used to think of myself as a fair-weather walker. Now I think of […]

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