The village of Colla Micheri and Thor Heyerdahl
A paradise on earth: this is how Thor Heyerdahl defined Colla Micheri. If after traveling the world and facing the Pacific on the “Kon Tiki” raft, the Norwegian explorer decided to move to this small Ligurian village, there must have been a reason. By continuing to read, you will get to know this small town not far from our village.
Colla Micheri is a fraction of Andora but can be easily reached with a walk from Laigueglia, among olive trees and maritime pines. From via Monaco you take an uphill road until you reach a mule track that leads to the top of the hill. Soon you will find signs: continuing to the left you reach Colla Micheri. The peculiarity of this village is that the houses were built on the rear slope of the hill, in order to avoid incursions on the coast, as they cannot be spotted by the Saracens who landed in Laigueglia.
The center of Colla Micheri is gathered around a small square with a beautiful gray and white flagstone pavement. Here stands the church of San Sebastiano, with its brick red facade. In front of the building there is a plaque that tells of when Pope Pius VII stopped here in 1814, returning from his French exile. Hostage of Napoleon for five years, once freed, it is said that the faithful flocked to greet the elderly pontiff as he passed. For this reason Colla Micheri also takes the name of “Il Passo del Papa”.
From the square, an endless series of alleys leads to narrow alleys, as often happens in Ligurian villages, which end in ancient houses, rich stone buildings, embellished with flowers and plants outside.
Thor Heyerdahl: the explorer
Now almost uninhabited, Colla Micheri became famous in the 1950s because Thor Heyerdahl decided to settle there. But who was Thor Heyerdahl? The Norwegian explorer and anthropologist went down in history for his adventurous exploits. In 1947 he made a 101-day trip from Peru to Polynesia on the large balsa raft, the “Kon-Tiki”. Its purpose was to prove the theory that Polynesia had been reached by people from the lands of the Incas, and not from Asia, as is still believed today. He built the boat according to the skills and material availability of pre-Columbian civilizations. He relied on indigenous workers, skilled in the construction of ships similar to those that, in ancient times, had to sail towards the ocean.
He repeated the adventure in 1970, crossing the Atlantic Ocean with a papyrus boat (Ra II), from Morocco to the Antilles; with a raft of reeds (the Tigris) he sailed from Iraq to the Maldives instead.
Thor Heyerdahl to Colla Micheri
It is said that the Norwegian scholar was looking for a “paradise on earth” to spend the last years of his life. The taxi driver who took him to the Italian towns (he did not drive the car) told him that they should not have gone that far, and he took him to Colla Micheri.
The landscape that is visible on clear days is, in fact, truly unique: on the one hand you can witness the motionless spectacle of the sea, from which the coasts of Corsica emerge, on the other the snow-capped mountains of the Alps. Heyerdahl therefore bought several buildings which he restructured and began cleaning the surrounding woods. His ecological thinking, and his boundless love for nature, led him to worry about the numerous fires that plagued Liguria.
In 2002, now ill, Thor Heyerdahl died in Colla Micheri and Norway gave him a state funeral.
Once again, the surroundings of Loano prove to be full of surprises. If you are looking for a village to discover, Colla Micheri is the right place to visit during your Ai Pozzi Village holiday!