Wednesday, June 19, 2013


My gracious friends here in Liguria, Riccardo and Marina, invited me back to their home to spend another three days as their guest.  I was delighted to accept their invitation.

On Sunday morning, Riccardo and I went to explore another mountain town, Perinaldo, which is perched above Apricale, the delightful village we had visited two weeks ago.  The view from this small town is spectacular--you can see Apricale below and in the other direction, the sea.  On the winding road up to the town, we passed dozens of runners who we guessed were doing a 10K race, all UPHILL!  Many of these runners were seniors, and I was more than impressed with their stamina.  I couldn't walk that far uphill, let alone run.

Unfortunately, it was very foggy when we arrived in Perinaldo, as you can probably tell from this photo of the old town walls, so I didn't get to enjoy the spectacular views.  

So we just walked around the town for a while.  

I'm not sure it's good for the old walls that flowers grow from them, but it certainly is beautiful.

As with all these old medieval towns, the streets are narrow, and the stones beneath your feet uneven.  And you always have to keep an eye out for what the dogs leave behind.

This house is REALLY old, maybe 7th or 8th century, we guessed.

And, the typical arched passageways were abundant.

This one was a special surprise with the beautiful painted greenery and birds.

This fresco invited you into an osteria, the equivalent of a tavern in the U.S.  It's not medieval--it was painted in 2012--but I like its brilliant color.

We wended our way down the hairpin curves of the mountain and enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by the talented Marina.  There was a fish that was a cross between salmon and trout, steamed asparagus, and a delicious tuna-vegetable salad.  Afterward lunch, we walked to nearby Ventimiglia to join the festivities of the Battle of the Flowers, an annual event that celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.  While the city limits of Ventimiglia are right across the river that runs next to Riccardo and Marina's home, it was quite a long walk to get to the city center where the festival was being held.  

On the way, we passed some Roman ruins that I had seen from the car several times.  I was happy to finally get photos.  These are the ruins of some Roman baths.

And this is an ancient Roman theater with seats of white marble.

Crowds of people were already lining the streets to see the parade that is the main event of this festival.  There were several bands.

And there were people dressed in the native costumes of the past, like these lovely girls.

These floats are all made of flowers!  I can't imagine how many hours it took to cover them.  I don't know who this guy is and neither did my hosts.

At first I thought this might be Elvis, but on closer examination, I think not.

I wasn't sure of the meaning of this one with many faces and a kind of psychedelic guitar, but I like it.

There were some figures I recognized, like this little fibber.

And Spiderman is an international celebrity.

This pretty lady is representing the tradition of Ventimiglia.

One of these entries won first prize in the float competition.  Can you guess which one?

This colorful procession made two rounds of the parade route.  In between the floats were carts of flowers.  During the second round, they threw flowers at the crowd, and the crowd threw some of the flowers back at the parade, but kept many for pretty bouquets.

This cart was shooting flowers from its two canons.

By the end of the second round, the streets were covered in smashed flowers, but many people left with large bouquets.  I was able to catch only one flower because I wasn't at the front of the crowd where most of the flowers landed.

We walked through this city park on the way back and saw the damage done to some of the palm trees by bombing during World War II.  There's history everywhere here--some medieval, some more contemporary.

There are many festivals in Italy, but this is the first that coincided with my travel schedule.  I was very happy to witness it.

Oh, the winner of the float competition--Spiderman.  Second place went to Pinocchio.

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