On the Ligurian coast in Italy’s north, where the French and Italian Riviera meet, is a luxury experience set against an authentic Italian village lifestyle.
If you deviate just a few km inland from famous Riviera resorts like San Remo, Ventimiglia, and Bordighera, you will find a series of idyllic medieval villages virtually untouched by tourism.
The Liguria Region
Liguria is unique in that it offers such diverse experiences. Near the French border, between the Maritime Alps and the Italian Riviera coast, ancient villages such as Apricale, Dolceacqua, Perinaldo and Pigna huddle on hilltops, cascading into the valleys below. The Ligurian Coast makes a fantastic Italian road trip destination.
Medieval ramparts remind us these towns were once posts of warring republics. While the roads between villages may have improved, from an ancient history of animosity and isolation, each town has retained a unique identity.
To this day, each village has unique traditions, culture, cuisine and, in some cases, dialects. These are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Liguria.
Spending three weeks in Italy, travelling slowly from Venice to Rome, it is in the town of Pigna we discover the most beautiful way to experience authentic Italian living. It is the best of both worlds in both the French and Italian Riviera on the Ligurian coast.
A luxury 3 bedroom townhouse nestled in the narrow lanes of an enchanting medieval mountain village. A perfect retreat in an authentic Italian setting and the ideal base from which to explore Italy and France’s most vibrant tourist destinations.
Self-contained accommodation renovated to the highest standard while retaining the charms of the original medieval townhouse, with ample room for six people to enjoy a relaxed holiday away from the hordes of tourists.
Indulge in Ligurian Cuisine
Self-catering accommodation means you have all the amenities to enjoy the incredible fresh produce of the region.
The daily Ventimiglia market will have the culinary inclined more than entertained with offerings of fresh bufala mozzarella, homemade pestos – Liguria’s signature sauce and of course truffles. The region is renown for truffle hunting and in season, fresh mushrooms with flavours to die for are in abundance.
On arrival, we were treated to a hamper of Ligurian staples such as local pesto, truffle sauce, wine, pasta and olives. A perfect introduction to the culinary spoils of Liguria.
Wine and Dine in Liguria
Pigna boasts plenty of charming and vibrant bars, cafes and traditional trattorias. Pigna itself and surrounding villages have no shortage of wonderful dining options including fabulous agriturismo restaurants specialising only in local produce.
This is the charm of Liguria’s mountain villages. While the Riviera is no more than a short drive, these villages cater to a local crowd, not a tourist trade. There is no more discerning culinary crowd than a local one.
Remember, while villages may only be a kilometre or so apart, each will offer dishes unique to Liguria and some unique to their village. Maybe a stroll through some of the pristine hiking trails could be the perfect way to work up an appetite for a nice long Italian lunch in the next village.
The village of Apricale is very popular with the local weekend lunch crowd as it’s medieval streets have no shortage of excellent restaurants.
Authentic Italian Experience
Lose yourself in the charming medieval town where life ticks along as it has for centuries. We felt these villages held far greater appeal than those of the famed Cinque Terre.
While not directly on the coast, the mountain landscape was equally as striking and the atmosphere more authentic. The lack of tourists armed with maps and an all-day train ticket, ticking off the next postcard town may have had something to do with that.
Life in Pigna and the surrounding villages of Liguria is a very local affair. Sure, tourists make it to the area. Hiking in Liguria is very popular, and the mountain bike trails are well-known. It is also a very popular spot for cyclists and campers.
On a weekend, expect many of the restaurants in the villages to be overflowing with a family Sunday lunch trade.
These are the authentic Italian experiences you come to this part of Liguria for. But for the most part, life is a lot more relaxed than that of the touristic scenes of the Riviera and Cinque Terre.
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The French and Italian Riviera
The beauty of having a base in such an idyllic setting such as Pigna means you can mix it up with the best of both worlds. Sneak off by day to close by Bordighera or San Remo for a day at the beach on the Italian Riviera and be back by sundown to enjoy a relaxing aperitivo in the village without the crowds.
We recommend this part of the Ligurian coast as a great day trip from Nice, and the reverse is also very possible. Head the other way, and you can be across the border in one of the most beautiful destinations in the South of France – the French Riviera for lunch and a swim at glamorous towns such as Menton, Monaco, or Nice, only 40 mins from Pigna.
While places such as Monaco may not be in everyone’s price range, luxury accommodation in Liguria, close to the glamorous and famous tourist destinations, combined with an authentic Italian experience, is possible.
We believe this little slice of Liguria, in between the Maritime Alps and the Riviera coast, to be the perfect location to discover Italy’s north and Riviera.
These villages offer the same architectural and cultural atmosphere that made Cinque Terre so famous. Before it lost its cultural charm. Pigna and surrounding villages still offer this original experience.
Opting for self-catering accommodation in Liguria only enhances your experience of the region. It allows for a more immersive experience of the area and a more cost-effective solution to luxury accommodation in Liguria for groups or families.
Discover More About Travel In Italy
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Getting to Liguria and Around
Pigna is approx 21 km from the coastal town of Ventimiglia on the Italian Riviera. A major train station at Ventimiglia and local buses service Pigna and surrounding towns.
Trains depart regularly from Ventimiglia to all major Italian stations in the region and neighbouring French towns such as Menton, Nice and Monaco.