Drive: Seborga-Perinaldo-Cervo

February 5, 2007

(February 2, 2007) Our ultimate destination was Cervo (see restaurant posting for Ristorante San Giorgio), but the journey was planned to be circuitous taking advantage of what we hoped would be fields of mimosa in bloom. Because it was a Friday, we chose to exit after Ventimiglia, at Bordighera, and then take the road to Seborga, that 10th century village in Italy that has both a mayor and a “prince.” We walked around the village and noted a charming looking restaurant called Hosteria del Coniglio, with a few tables in the front courtyard and a nice dining room and then possibly some outside in the back (0186 223 820, closed Tuesday).

Fortified with an infusion of coffee we turned toward Negi, finding ourselves on what Gary termed the most primitive perinaldo-longview.JPGroad he had yet encountered in Europe. There were no route numbers, but we followed the sign postings. First, Negi, then San Martino, and Suseneo seeing no other vehicle the whole way except the postman and woman on their scooters. We did see, however, great swathes of mimosa, not quite at their peak but still magnificent, and groves of blooming broom and eucalyptus; olives, too, of course. After Suseneo, we turned back onto a more major road to get to Perinaldo, the town we had heard was charming and in the heart of mimosa country. And it is both.

To get back to the sea for our ultimate destination of Cervo, we turned toward San Romolo, driving now on the north side of the mountains so there were no mimosa, no broom, no olives, just normal New England-type woods.dall-ava-2.JPGIn San Romolo, a village that is a central square, a pizza place and a restaurant/tabac and devoted to car rallies. Since it was lunch time and there were cars in front of the restaurant, Dall’Ava, and they had posted signs which we had noticed en route, we decided to take a chance. Inside was a front room/bar with newspapers, dall-ava-1.JPGsouvenirs and cigarettes.

 The dining room, however, was quite welcoming, with its roaring fire and views out over the mountains.We split an antipasto of various cold and hot dishes and then had one of the best mushroom risottos ever. There was a red wine, called L’Armean, specially made for the restaurant, in the ancient Roman tradition and available nowhere else, so we had to try it. At only 12% alcohol, it was a good choice for lunch. The whole bill was 39 €!

As we left and started down toward San Remo, we noticed that the temperature was 6 degrees up in the mountains and by the time we reached sea level at San Remo, some 20 or 30 minutes later, it was 16. Along the coast here are several villages that look inviting. We chose to stop at Diano Marina and were amazed at the huge pedestrian area, diano-marina.JPGone of the streets of which had once been a broad avenue, was still lined with orange trees. Two restaurants appeared to be worth a visit another time: La Femme, 64 via Cavour (0183 493 125) and Il Fondo on the corner of Cairoli and Nizza but without an obvious phone number.

view-from-san-giorgio-room.JPGOn to Cervo and its medieval perched village. We had already walked through Cervo’s sea side part some months ago and so now wound our way up to the old town, parked and checked into our suite at the Ristorante San Giorgio (see separate posting).  The modest suite is an upstairs apartment, consisting of a bedroom, small sitting room, modern, marble bath and a roof-top terrace.  It was clean, the bed was comfortable, and it was certainly convenient as it is next door to the restaurant. Cervo is a lovely old, town, inhabited since the IVth century BC and not tarted up at all. cervo-church-interior.JPGSt. John the Baptist’s Church is a magnificently decorated baroque church finished in the early 18th century. There is an oratory believed to date to the 13th century.

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