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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Happy Epiphany contd.

On Sunday we went on a long walk with a view of finding a route which incorporates Vezzano Ligure for the guide I’m working on. For unknown reasons we have in the over 4 years we’ve been here so far only fleetingly visited this village although it stares us right in the face from across the valley and we kept saying we must go and see it properly sometime. The only previous visits have once been to a party in the lower part and the second time at night, going out for a meal with friends. Vezzano lies right opposite Ponzano, the upper part slightly higher than us overlooking the confluence of the rivers Magra and Vara. Now so far I have always maintained that our village has one of the best views possibly in all of Italy (and I have seen a few), but now I have to concede that the view from Vezzano is even more spectacular. Not only can you see just as far along the Tuscan coast, you have a less restricted view of the Gulf of La Spezia, the Apuan Alps and the Vara and Magra valleys. It’s breathtaking! Below is the view from the ruins of the castle at the top of Vezzano onto the lower part and beyond towards Ponzano and the Apuan Alps.

There is also plenty to explore within the village. Apart from the castle ruin, there are various interesting churches, a pentagonal tower, like the one in Arcola, and numerous little alleyways with beautifully restored old houses.
Unfortunately, because it is situated at a steep promontory, it is not served by a network of footpaths. We walked up to it from the railway station, which is a narrow winding road with little traffic, first leading through the modern and bland part, but soon climbs steeply through olive groves and some beautiful stone houses. On the way down again we followed a footpath, which appeared to lead in the right direction. As we descended the mountain further and further the path became less and less obvious until it finally fizzled out completely in some bramble thicket only a few yards above the road along the valley. Having just descended some 200 metres and having the road so close we were not about to give up, but instead we proceeded to cut our way through the brambles, which took us a while, but was finally achieved. However, I obviously can’t recommend this path to readers of my book with the advice to bring a machete with them… But I do recommend a visit to anyone in the region. I find it surprising that the council of Vezzano doesn’t make much more of a song and dance about the virtues of their place to attract tourists. Well while they don’t it remains a bit of a secret tip.

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