It doesn’t matter if who says it is a strategic expert or a Sunday coach: it’s simply well-known that you never change a winning team. And it’s for this reason that nice and early Barbara and I go out searching for one of those places which, once visited, enter your heart and stay there forever.
We get into the car and take the Autostrada dei Fiori (A10 motorway): after an hour and a half of travel stories, dreams and a bit of work, here we are, finally, in the province of Imperia, Cervo to be precise.
Despite the name of the place making us think instantly of an animal which lives in the woods (‘Cervo’ is Italian for ‘deer’), we actually find ourselves in a hamlet by the sea As soon as we have parked something strange happens, something almost magical.
We are catapulted into another world where an old stillness marries perfectly with the modernity of web 2.0.
Cervo reveals itself straight away, it strikes you immediately for its beauty: today it still has the characteristics of a medieval hamlet by the sea, with sixteenth century towers and walls which over the centuries have protected it from Turkish attacks. Green hills of olives trees circle and frame it. This historic centre, all pedestrianised, still contains historic buildings full of history today (it has been lived in since the Pre-Roman period!): it doesn’t surprise me, therefore, that this has been certified as one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy. Literally speechless and captivated by this almost bewitched place, we begin to ‘lose ourselves’ in its cobbled streets, without a precise destination.
Every little alleyway is a succession of small shops belonging to artisans and artists.
Indeed, art, history and culture are at home here. Ceramics, wood, soap, olive mills, everything is produced like in older times. We suddenly become drawn in by a shop of ceramic creations: we meet Simona, a very kind artist who designs and creates beautiful jewellery and various objects using porcelain, enamel, gold, hard stone and fused glass. Unique objects heated five times up to 1260°!
She shows us some of her pieces of art and tells us some nice anecdotes, for example, when people ask her if cups made by her and decorated with gold would be ok in the microwave or if the decorative plaques displayed on a wooden panel from 1700 were actually ornamental fridge magnets.
Simona’s passion for ceramic is also expressed in courses for children; she shows us the work of one of her 4 year old students. I smile, it makes me happy. The title of a famous classic by Louisa May Alcott comes to mind ‘Little Ligurian artisans’ (though perhaps the title wasn’t exactly that…)
We are forced to say goodbye due to limited time, with the feeling that all those who live and work here are fortunate, and that they draw inspiration daily from the splendid territory surrounding them.
Passing through the dense web of little streets we arrive in the picturesque Piazza Dei Corallini. This space is also a meeting place for local inhabitants, tourists, artists and sportsmen. What a lovely surprise to see a group of 5 Belgian cyclists arrive, slightly tired but with satisfaction in their eyes for having reached their goal.
This square is also the ideal set for the ‘Stile Artigiano’ photo shoot. Giorgia, the Genoese model, is perfectly modelling fashion ‘Made in Liguria’ on this occasion too. All the staff are rigorously 100% Ligurian (photographers, the artistic director, the make-up artist, the hairdresser, the stylist) working with passion and team spirit. The weather (sun and a gentle breeze) and the atmosphere are more pleasant now than ever and even the contrast between the old location and the dress of modern inspiration is harmonious.
A seagull comes to say hello and almost invites us to follow it to the sea. The water is in fact another element which makes this hamlet special: the beach is characterised by the presence of small bathing establishments but you can also choose from beaches and rocks which are free and where you can dive into the clear sea and tan under the sun. We almost accept the seagull’s invitation.
Then we become distracted by another peculiarity of this small centre: its strong link to music. We notice that the illuminations in the centre are shaped like treble clefs We become curious and discover that the place has been hosting for many years the Festival Internazionale di Musica da Camera (The International Chamber Music Festival), a prestigious cultural event with important names, from experts to conductors and musicians. This year, from the 10th July until the end of August, will be the 50th edition!
Between one photo and another, a certain hunger comes over us. Here the queen of the kitchen are Taggiasca olives, we absolutely must taste the oil. Said, done. Tasting it in the shadow of an olive tree in one of the typical restaurants is priceless.
Time flies quickly and we must head home.
I’m happy because I’m already thinking about when I’ll return. Who wants to come with me?