Apricale is a small medieval hamlet, one amongst the most beautiful in Italy, located in the inland of Sanremo, about 100 km away from Loano. It is set in a scenographic way alla round the main square, stage of cultural exhibitions and events organized year-round.
A bit of history
The name comes from apricus, meaning sun-drenched, exposed to the sun; the town enjoys a privileged position indeed, on top of the hills and surrounded by olive trees, with a good weather, too.
The first human settlements date back to the bronze age, even if the official foundation is set in the X century thanks to the Counts of Ventimiglia who, in that same time, built the castle of the Lizard (castello della Lucertola), still in place today.
In the year 1092 the first notarial deed quotes the hamlet of Apricale: that very document is still preserved in the modern Townhall.
Starting from the XIII century the first land and possession purchases by genoese families began, as a buyback exit for the debts of the Ventimiglia’s Counts towards Genoa. After several ups and downs, the territory was handed back into the hands of the Counts. In 1267 they issued a new charter of rights, considered amongst the oldest constitutions in Liguria.
In 1287, Oberto Doria, Lord of Dolceacqua, bought the fiefdom and merged it with the Isolabona one, inside the Marquisate of Dolceacqua, condition that remained unchanged until 1573. In 1524 the Marquisate was subjugated by the Duchy of Savoia.
In 1793 Apricale was annexed to the canton of Perinaldo and subsequently to Monaco’s one.
In 1805 Apricale becomes part of the Sanremo district.
With the fall of the First French Empire, in 1815 Apricale is initially ruled by the Kingdom of Sardinia and by the Kingdom of Italy shortly after, starting from 1861.
As always we recommend to let yourself be driven across the maze of stone alleys, connected to each other by narrow steps.
At the back of the main square is located the oratory of San Bartolomeo where a renaissance polyptych portraying the Madonna of the Snow is treasured. Just in front of it we find the parish church of the Purification of Virgin Mary, built approximately in the XII century and restored over again in time.
The castle of the Lizard, was built on a rocky spur in the X century; entirely restored, it has become a location for events and cultural exhibitions. An hanging garden is to be found inside its walls, that encircle it with three arched doorgates; one of the towers has successively become the belltower of the parish church.
At the foot of the hill, there’s the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, adorned with renaissance and baroque frescos.
A little bit in the outskirts, built nearby the cemetery, was raised the church of Sant’Antonio Abate with the front in full baroque style and the remaining walls from the ruins of San Pietro in Ento, a romanic church of benedict origins, the oldest in the area.
Apricale is at the same time an ancient and modern hamlet: it is in here that theatrical exhibitions from the famous Genoa’s Teatro della Tosse take place. Moreover, it is a place loved by artists that painted murals on the front of the houses. Another original touch is to be found with a bycycle mounted on top of the belltower, a contemporary work of art.