medieval village of Apricale is situated at 273 meters above
sea level in the Nervia Valley in the Province of Liguria.
The name Apricale derives from the Latin ‘Apricus’ which
means exposed to the sun. But the main characteristic of
Apricale, which has enchanted visitors for a long time, is
the scenographic aspect of the village. A waterfall of antiquec
stone houses on a hill, dominated at the top by
its Castle. Apricale has about 650 inhabitants and in its
glory days more than 2000. There are more people living in
the village but a lot of them own second homes and stay
here for a few weeks or months during the year.
hills/mountains around us are about 1000/1200 meters high.
The little river in the valley comes from Monte Bignone and
is called Mandancio. From Apricus we have a view on
Perinaldo at about 700 meters above sea level. Perinaldo is
famous for its observatory. Giovanni Domenico Cassini lived here
in the late
was an astrologist who
discovered the rings and satellites of the planet Saturn.
Apricus it is just a 5 min. walk to the little church
Santa Maria degli Angeli at the bottom of the village. This
church has ‘freschi’ made between the 15th and
the 18th century and restored between 1989.1990.
In the vaulted ceiling, dievided in 4, you can see the
saints Agostino, Ambrogio, Gerolamo,Gregorio Magno..
the other side of the church we see the washbasins where the
people went to do their laundry.
village has conserved its structure and its medieval
and has been officially designated “One of the Most
Beautiful Villages of Italy” http://www.borghitalia.it/pg.base.php?id=4&lang=en&cod_borgo=420. The network of little alleyways in the village
called ‘carugi’hasn’t been changed for the last 1000 years.
The land around us is all terraced, supported by dry stonewalls.
The terraces were used for agriculture. The first documents
from Apricale as a village (statutes) are from 1267.You can
see the original documents in the Castle, Castello della
the statutes was a chapter about punishment.
If someone was convicted of a homicide their house was
destroyed and their goods given to the family of the
victim. The killer was beheaded and
the head was exposed as an example. You can see the house of
the executioner (casa della boia) near the square.
There are still a few public ovens in town. The inhabitants
prepared the dough for the bread at home baked it in one of the central ovens.
entrances to the village were closed by wooden doors. There
is one at the entrance of the square. There is also a
hole on the left side of the door which was used to fire at
square is still the central meeting point for the
inhabitants. In the summer it is a perfect place for outdoor
dining in one of the two restaurants. Events taken place all
year round. Christmas Eve around the bonfire, New Years eve,
St. Valentine’s, Theatre in August and the Pansarole
September. Dance evenings and concerts also take place during the summer
of the rooms in the castle is dedicated to the most famous
person in the history of Apricale. Cristina Anna Bellomo
(1861-1904). She ended up at he court of the tsar in Russia
before the Russian Japanese conflict. She and her niece
who she was travelling with
both were feared as spies by both
. In the afternoon of 30 may 1904 Cristina was killed by her
husband at the age of 43.
The picture on the wall in the castle is of her niece
Maria Pizzio, when she visited her aunt in St. Petersburg of
Apricale has become an artistic centre in large part
due to the vision and work of
our good friend Daniele Noel who
continues to bring
famous artists to the village. There are regularly important art
exhibitions in the castle, from Picasso to Folon from Miro
to Louise Bourgeois etc. etc.