Apricale, Liguria, Italy by Photos Archive Agenzia In LiguriaMany of the buildings in the sunny town of Apricale date from the 11th century © Photos Archive Agenzia In Liguria

This hilltop village full of cats and uneven cobbles has several dark tunnels which are great to explore, as well as summertime theatrical events.

Apricale tumbles down a crag, a short drive above Isolabona in the Val Merdanzo. This is the place to base yourself to explore the area. The village takes its name from the Latin apricus, meaning sunny. Many of the buildings date from the 11th century and the town hosts theatrical events, some in medieval and Renaissance costume in summer.

What is lovely about Apricale is that it has only just opened up to tourists and has lots of charm. Less and less of the village sits abandoned these days as the town resounds to the sound of restoration as builders hammer away. Living was hard in the hinterland and many people upped and moved to the coast where there were jobs, schools and hospitals. Without tourism it is possible that the village would have been totally abandoned so it is good to see it coming back to life. It is great fun to explore Apricale’s dark alleyways, which are more like tunnels. It is full of cats and uneven cobble stones. You’ll soon notice that most of the foreigners are Swedish. That’s because a Swedish artist came here in the 1960s and painted the town. His work inspired his friends to buy houses here and they now own about 20% of the property in Apricale.

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