France is great and all, but it’s nice every once in a while to get the breath of fresh air that comes with exploring a different culture…
We were staying in the south of France in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, very close to the Italian border, which is amazingly beautiful in its own right (more to come on that on a later post). But being so close to the border, we just had to cross over into Italy to explore 3 towns: Ventimiglia, Bordighera, and Dolceacqua. I’ll talk about Dolceacqua in a later post (it’s so beautiful it deserve its own post). First things first – Ventimiglia.
Ventimiglia is the first town you hit on the Riviera just after the border. It’s famous for its Friday market right along the boardwalk. You can find a bit of everything at this market – kitchen supplies, pasta, shoes, clothes, leather goods, knickknacks, knock-offs – you name it, they got it. Our friend and host, Maria, was quite the bargain-hunter, so following her, we were able to find some good deals for clothes.
Sadly, I didn’t take too many photos here – I was too busy shopping (a girl has her priorities!) and trying to avoid the pickpockets in this crowded environment. But after the market closed, I was able to take a few shots of the surrounding town.
And of course, one can’t write about Italy without talking about the food! Our first meal ended up being at a random restaurant by the market in which the service was seriously lacking (as can be expected at a restaurant located in a tourist area), but the pesto gnocchi was to die for.
Before my first trip to Italy 8 years ago, a former co-worker told me, “You must eat gelato every day that you’re in Italy!” I haven’t forgotten that advice down to this day…
Where Ventimiglia is a bit raw and lively, one can tell that Bordighera is a quieter, more elegant town for the wealthy. Located about a 15 minutes drive east from Ventimiglia, Bordighera also sits on the Italian Riviera. Instead of taking a walk along the beach (where everyone else was on this sunny Saturday), we decided to first take a walk inland to see some of the beautiful bougainvillea-lined streets.
After walking around, we ended our tour of Bordighera at the beach, where I ended the day with a typically Italian drink, the Spritz.
Overall, I found Ventimiglia and Borghera to be 2 widely different, but interesting towns lying on the Italian Riviera. It’s definitely worth a visit over the border if you’re visiting the south of France.
Coming next… the sweet waters of Dolceacqua…
- La Grotta, Passeggiata Oberdan 23, Lungomare di Ventimiglia. +39 0184 33440. http://www.lagrottaventimiglia.com (Disclaimer: Don’t expect much in the way of service, but it is decently priced and they have a variety of pizzas and pastas. Another advantage is that they do gluten-free pizzas.)
- Voglia di Gelato, Via Milite Ignoto 13, Ventimiglia. +39 327 260 8544. Excellent gelato for only 1 euro!!!