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The beauty and wonder of destinations of Liguria

Where: Liguria

Who: Mete di Liguria

Six women joined together to transmit their land’s values

From botanical gardens to vegetable pies to art, a female led plot is being weaved in the far western part of Liguria. The charming dwellings of Mete di Liguria are the starting points, from the valleys to the sea, between San Bartolomeo, Diano Marina and Imperia. The itineraries are routes filled with emotions that only the 6 ladies from Mete can suggest to their guests, thanks to their knowledge of the secrets their land offers. The destinations are seductive: mountain villages or open countryside, either facing the sea or the woods, in delightful small pink houses or in watchtowers, in a landowner’s villa or in a historic country house. All of this created by women who want to enhance the culture and traditions of their territory, and by doing so, demonstrating that one can forge a successful business model that embraces the local residents and goes against the usual norms of tourism standards. Each of these 6 ladies left their former jobs, and started literally, brick by brick, restoring old houses, adding touches of refinement and quality. They researched how to make the most of the surrounding land with the goal of making the visitors fall in love with it and they transformed their passion into an asset to be passed on. Rosanna changed jobs for a project she defines as 'demonstrative'. After having been mayor, Rosanna took on an old site of ruins, with history, architecture, culture, ambience and well being in mind. The result : by working in a team together with other women, she now hosts visitors to 'I Freschi', a rustic country house as simple in design as refined, offering personalized recommendations on activities and itineraries.

Maura restored some old family houses and created the “ Borgo Muratori”: stone vaults from the 16th century, an old oil-mill offering wifi, a citrus garden abundant with oranges, lemons and mandarins, where one can stop and meditate or dirty ones hands helping out with the gardening. Next to an old farmhouse, Maria Donata created “Valcrosa”, four houses amongst olive groves, with barbeque facilities, a wood oven, reading room with wifi, swimming pool, whirlpool tub, sauna, toys for children, wine tasting and from where the guests can go trekking, cycling and making the most of the outdoors. Gabri transformed her own house into a refined B&B known as “ Il Mirto” offering two elegant accommodations with a patio, swimming pool, barbeque, sauna and a breathtaking terraced garden. As for the “ Molino dei Giusi “, Lorena started from a house amongst rows of geraniums and bougainvillea, with a kitchen garden and cooking lessons. Then she continued by restoring an old tower with a swimming pool. Now her next project has brought her up to heights where on the horizon, one can see Corsica, for her third place of accommodation, befittingly named “Eremo” ( The Hermitage ), with a garden designed by the famous landscape architect Jean Muss. Tiziana created 6 apartments in the “ Uliveto Saglietto “ in the mountain village of Poggi, where olive trees mark the passing of centuries. Here oil is produced which you can try, you can go to the museum, or you can buy wines and jams while the children play, snack and discover the magical delights of fireflies. And, during the hot summer nights under the olive trees, you can relax listening to chamber music recitals.

Then, these 6 ladies met up and together they formed a consortium aptly called Mete di Liguria ( Destinations of Liguria ).

Their goal is to introduce the best of the western riviera of Ligura, not only in their homes but also in unexpected locations. For example, for those passionate in botany, they suggest a visit to the nursery La Fronda owned by Ivana Logullo in Imperia to discover the infinite surprises of rare plants that can only be found there. Or the jungle of succulent plants and flowers of the Asseretto sisters, in their nursery AG in Sanremo. Or tea amongst the flowerbeds and paths of the Villa della Pergola, a luxurious historical Relais with a park tended 2 centuries ago by Daniel Hanbury, the brother of Thomas, whom the famous villa is named after.

The first gourmet stop is above the roofs and the port, under the castle of Cervo Alta, at the Ristorante San Giorgio, overseen by Caterina Lanteri Cravet, a Michelin starred chef. She is well known for her simple recipes made with fresh seasonal ingredients of superb quality and vegetables from her own garden. After enjoying the breathtaking views of the panorama and the Castle, you can stop in the piazza to enjoy the display of works by Mariella Balestra, who bakes ceramic and glass in ovens in the high grounds of Porto Maurizio and sells her creations in her workshop. Always on the subject of art, but this time antiques, when you descend to Diano Marina, in the shop “ Arte e Antichita “ owned by Mariangela Aimale, you will find yourself immersed amongst precious objects and furniture, lovingly collected by the owner herself. Suggestion for food lovers - fill your basket with focacce, pizze, vegetable pies and desserts from the Pasticceria ( pastryshop ) Benso, only a few steps away. Or, go to Imperia, to a real tavern, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere . The artichoke flan, stuffed cabbage leaves, the parcels of meat and vegetable wrapped in lettuce leaves are rare specialties of Ristorante L”Armuen. Or, go up to the mill of Triora, in the hinterland of Taggia, because there, Angelamaria, in her shop, sells highly sought after beans, cheese from the “ terra brigasca”, sorghum brooms, flour and products typical of these valleys. In Cipressa, in an olive grove between Imperia and Arma di Taffia, the doors open onto a most unexpected museum. This time it is modern art, as the two artists, Judith Torok and Carlo Magitto collect creations from young artists and well established artists. All of these artworks are displayed in the rooms and the parks of the Villa Biener Arte Contemporanea. Unless you don’t want to take a walk into the past, in Bordighera, there is the Museum of Clarence Bicknell and the magnificent Villa della Regina Margherita, where you can discover the history of art from the past to the present.

INFO
www.metediliguria.it
Agriturismo Borgo Muratori www.borgomuratori.com
I Freschi www.ifreschi.com
L’Uliveto Saglietto www.saglietto.it
B&B Il Mirto www.ilmirto.com
Molino dei Giusi e Torre Rossa www.molinodeigiusi.it
Agriturismo Valcrosa www.aziendaagricolabianchi..it

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