What better way to spend a beautiful Saturday than a spur-of-the-moment trip to a small, lazy, medieval Italian village for a little lunch and exploration. From Antibes, it took less than ninety minutes by car to be transported to the charming hamlet of Dolceacqua in the Nervia Valley of Liguria. With a population of less than 2,000 inhabitants, Dolceacqua is divided into two sections linked together by a beautiful ancient bridge, “Ponte Vecchio”. On the right-hand side of the bridge is the oldest part of the town called “La Téra”, with winding streets that run concentrically toward the 15th-century castle that towers over the village.
We headed over the bridge toward La Téra in search of a great Italian lunch, and we were not disappointed. We started out with Bresaola with rucola, Grana Padano cheese, and fragrant olive oil, then I moved onto one of my favorite Ligurian specialties, Trofie al Pesto. Trofie is a small, hand-rolled pasta, in the shape of a very teeny tiny croissant, and it is served with boiled cubed potatoes and sliced and cut haricots verts, and tossed together with delicious basil pesto. Trofie is nearly impossible to find outside of the Ligurian Coast and surrounding areas, so I almost always order it when I have the opportunity. Dave had a dish of delicate Gnocchi al Pesto, which he almost always orders when he has the opportunity. Everything was washed down with a local dry, red wine (DOC) called Rossese di Dolceacqua.
After lunch, we wandered around on some of the trails above La Téra, and found some beautiful views overlooking the village and the medieval castle. We then walked over to the other side of the Ponte Vecchio to check out the newer portion of the village, and to continue our promenade among the terraced vineyards, the fields of freshly planted tomatoes, and the picturesque village houses. Before heading back to Antibes, we stopped into some small shops to pick up some local goodies so that we could continue the Italian theme for tonight’s dinner.