There are some places in the world you don’t look for but you get there anyway. I don’t know why, but there is this feeling of belonging somehow. Montalto Ligure is just one of those tiny wild villages placed on a mountain top in the Mediteranian Alps.
In Glori we saw a big building far away in the mountains and we asked what this is. We thought it would be a monastery or something similar. Someone told us, this would just be another village. But it would be very hard to get there and only two habitants would still live there. Both more than 90 years old.
San Bernado Di Conio
There is a road leading to this mountain village which is recommended only in the months May to November. In this complicated surroundings, in 1944, during WW2, the Nazis chased members of the Italian Resistance. Every September the people of san Bernado die Conio celebrate their heroes.
In San Bernado, a small chapel nearby, under thick layers of paint, drawings from the Middle Ages where found.
One of those villages which was build in the Late Middle Ages in the Valle Argentina where the alleys are steep and close and live seams to have stopped all watches and calendars. We had many breakfasts in the central bar with sensational coffee and snacks.
Buying Olive Oil in Badalucco
We wanted to buy olive oil from the region and so we stopped at a sign on a private house. I knocked and heard a slightly shivering voice from the inside “Sto arrivando!”. After waiting for an unfamiliar long time, the door opened and a very old lady appeared in the frame. I asked if she would sell olive oil, she said yes and invited us in. The room was a mixture between restaurant and living room, a bar, sofas, family pictures and certificates on the wall, paired with heads of a wild boars. I made the mistake to ask her, if we could try the oil before buying, she nodded and went to the kitchen to cut some bread, which was visibly a hard task for her and took quite a while. While trying, she ordered us to take more from the oil, with such little amounts we wouldn’t have the real taste. After that, we would have bought everything for nearly every possible price just out of guilt. Thank god the oil was very good and just a slightly expensive :-).
Two picturesque villages in a row. Great views to the sea, funny coloured houses, nice cafés. But with all this flattery about Ireland I have to come to the less beautiful things now: First was, that it is not possible in all those picturesque villages to stroll quietly along the roads. Instead there is a steady stream of cars passing through the most beautiful parts and the people crowd on the small sidewalks. It leaves all the beauty to your imagination or maybe if you look up and ignore what happens on the ground, as I did for taking the photos.
Second thing is housing architecture. There are those wonderful old raw stone buildings of mostly sheep farmer families on the countryside and the traditionally coloured houses in the villages with their broad chimneys an their wooden carved business signs speaking of big craftsmanship of the times. But the region didn’t seam to have found an architectural language of modern times yet. Every piece of great contemporary architecture I saw (and this also counts for interior design) is imported. There is no Irish architecture which is aware of the past and its natural surroundings which continues classical Irish design into the future. Instead you’ll find mostly ugly, modernistic prefabricated housing in the middle of the greatest and wildest landscapes with thick plastic windows directly from the home depot stores, concrete fences and no intended garden at all. Interior Design (if it’s not traditional like for example in many pubs) is mostly inspired by English Interior Design but without the great materials and the will to develop coziness and individuality. I would really like to see those Irish style family homes with a love for proportions and space. There must be some.