Wednesday is our nominated day for “an adventure” as T is currently taking the day off Kindy. We have spent our other Wednesdays exploring the towns and villages in the local area but thought we would take a longer excursion today. The Italian Riviera is only an hour or so from Monforte and – given the weather is beginning to cool down and we would drive 30 mins to get to the beach at home anyway – a trip to the beach seemed like the thing to do.
We ventured off straight after breakfast, taking the scenic route along the ridges of the Langhe into Liguria before joining the Autostrada to take us down to the coast.
It is amazing how quickly the scenery changes from Hilltop Villages surrounded by Vineyards, ordered rows of Hazelnut Trees and forests of Oak and Chestnuts to the faded pastel seaside towns, silvery Olive Groves and rocky, limestone outcrops. In the space of 30kms it seems like you have completely changed countries.
Utilising some local knowledge we visited Finalborgo, a little medieval walled village just in from the coast. The town was established in the early 1100s and then destroyed and rebuilt multiple times over the next century. Despite this it has maintained its charm and the village is quite compact.
There are no cars but the town still had a lot of local activity and it hasn’t been overtaken by tourism. We had a lunch on the run – two active boys will do that to you – of (very good) pizza, and then an explore of the town before the promise of a beach took us back to the car. Again on a recommendation, we drove back along the coast to Noli.
Noli, after an auspicious start (it contributed to the First Crusade in the 1090s and was an independent republic for over 600 years), is now a pretty town with a fantastic beach.
Over summer, in between San Remo and Savona, every inch of beach is covered by bronzed, beautiful people – not somewhere we would usually blend in – and the towns are packed with tourists. But in Noli, on a balmy mid-twenties day at the end of September, there were enough people around for the town to have a quiet buzz and for us to enjoy the beach without any problems.
And in any event, as the sign suggests, we were only there for ‘sun therapy’…
T was stoked by the chance to go to the beach and swim in the “Italian sea” (and Dad was just happy to get wet). He was particularly interested in why the beaches are made of stones instead of sand – as a budding geologist, I explained that it was because of the types of food that the fish eat (noting that this may or may not cross the delinquent parenting line).
We had a fun day and we have chalked it up as the best adventure day so far! It reminded us of how, with a very small amount of effort, Italy continues to bless us with great experiences.