Have you ever heard of this medieval town called Badalucco? Neither have I. If you love anything ancient and fortified—come here; for the humpback bridge, the stone houses, and rugged terrain of Italy. A true mountain community exists here along the Argentina river, and it’s just 20 minutes from Sanremo.
My neighbor, Sylvia, called to ask me if I wanted to take a drive to this town. It was a beautiful, sunny day, despite the winding roads, which wreak havoc on my stomach, however, I would never say no for a road trip to Italy. We followed the river on most of our journey, above the town of Taggia, with only one objective: looking for a place for lunch. Wild boars and rabbits abound in the hinterland, they could be on the menu!
Badalucco is in the Italian region of Liguria, a crescent-shaped stretch of coastline, after the French border, known as the Italian Riviera, squeezed in between the sea and mountains. Interestingly, the name of this town in Latin is “bella duco” fighting spirit of the Ligurians who fought and lost to the Roman Empire, then fell into the hands of the Duchy of Savoy in 1861.
Over the hills and through the woods…
Along with biking, as well as hiking, fishing and bird watching activities are popular. Just one of the many villages from the medieval ages, peppered throughout the hinterland of Italy, nestled away from the maddening crowd—virtually untouched. The town has around 1,200 people, and depends mainly on tourism.
Since I had not been this far north in Luguria,
…I could offer little help. My friend did the proper thing and pulled over to the side of the road to peruse her Michelin Guide. It was a good time to get out of the car and stretch my legs. My stomach felt sick, and I distracted the nausea by snapping a few photos of the area. We were surrounded with a far-reaching view of the mountains. A few breaths of the pristine mountain air refreshed me, hopefully, only a couple more hair-pin turns to go.
Spectacular views are everywhere. Visually, our canvas, an open-air museum of what life was like during the Roman times. These villages are truly artistic treasures. When you see one far off—they appear surrealistic, an outcrop, surrounded by the forest like the photo above.
We parked the car and wandered over to the town square for a cafè, near the ever-present bell-tower. Although fairly quiet; children were playing with their parents close by. Parking is a challenge in small towns, normally, you will have to walk to your destination. A fast café, some conversation with people at the next table, and we were off again.
Found under a mushroom!
Back on the road, a bit further, we came upon a gigantic mushroom at the edge of the road, which is the entrance of a restaurant called, Ca’ Mea. My friend mentioned this was a popular place. I had to trust her, plus, I adore mushrooms of any kind, and these were porcini!
It had all the calming architectural elements that I needed; Old world hand-craftsmanship, in a former Olive mill. Next door, is a gorgeous agriturismo B&B lined with geraniums. These aspects trigger my wellbeing. The history of these medieval villages is fascinating and here I can feel what it’s like to live in the past.
The stone walls are unique and called “rough stone” which gives it a true rustic look with tiled roofs.
Interior of Ca’ Mea
Here is just a short list of what we had: Bruschetta, ricotta alla Ca’ Mea, torta al formaggio, dish of mushrooms with steak tartare underneath, mushroom frittata, mushrooms with potatoes, tagliatelle with mushrooms, mushroom risotto, lamb, and tiramisu for desert. Ten courses in all.
There are so many dishes that when the server brought the lamb, I could not eat one bite, Tiramisu was on the menu and I wanted to see how their dish compared to mine. Let’s just say…I ate it all!
There is a story behind this desert…
The bill was 35 euros each, including their house produced bottle of wine, and grappa. What a fabulous authentic menu of quality products in the countryside. Be warned – pace yourself!
Wish I could come back here in September when they have the “alla baucogna” festival and taste their dried cod, white beans, and EV olive oil that are famous items of the Slow Food movement. Cod in any form… is one of my favorites.
Parting shot in the river bed;
Badalucco, is located about 60 miles west of Genoa, and about 50 miles from the French border. No urban development here, all natural characteristics—a great get-a-way from city life.