When you drive around that last curve and the town comes into view, you're sure you will see Julie Andrews come running down the hill singing "The Sound of Music".
It's just a surprising and engaging sight--the little town perched atop this hill.
The lushness of the surrounding green hills is hard to capture in a photo, but I tried.
It was Monday morning, and Riccardo and I started our climb up into the town. He said I should do this without protest, and I was so charmed by this town that it didn't occur to me to make any complaining comment about the uphill effort. The streets were cobblestone and pretty uneven, but you can feel the history beneath your feet.
Along along the way, there were frescoes. This town has apparently attracted some artists who contributed their talents to some civic beautification.
Here's a prettily decorated doorway we passed on the way up. What we didn't see were many people. This town has a population of less than 600 people.
There were a few interesting attractions in the town piazza at the top. There was this old castle.
And its next door neighbor was this church.
When we walked up for a closer look, we saw these painted cutouts propped on the top balcony of the castle.
A little closer look at these interesting figures. There's a bishop and some royalty.
Back at piazza level, there was a place where people once came to get their water, and this is one of the faucets.
There were three altogether, and one of them still works.
I thought the shape of this building was pretty interesting. It's flat on the right side.
An example of the arched alleyways that are common in this town.
And another fresco, probably my favorite. I have pictures of about a dozen.
In recent years, there have been foreigners who purchased vacation homes in this town. But Riccardo says there are very few tourists that come here, and I believe it. We saw only a handful during the time we spent here. I'm sure I would never have seen this place if it weren't for my special tour guide and friend Riccardo, and I'm so delighted that I did.
We planned to tour San Remo in the afternoon, but it rained, so I hopped on a train back to Porto Maurizio. These three days with Riccardo and Marina were really great. I have been so very lucky that all my penpals turned out to be terrific people. I will leave Italy with a commitment to ensuring that these friendships endure.