I love the sea in winter time. It's relaxing and I profit to recharge my batteries.
With good weather I always want to be outdoors even if I can not even go to the beach with swimsuit and sunscreen. Therefore I often try to explore the Ligurian hinterland to discover new villages.
Few week-ends ago the choice fell on a village not far from home, Soldano.
This village of about 1,000 inhabitants, is located in Val Crosia, just behind Vallecrosia (IM), and can be reached from the coast in about fifteen minutes. You can clamber up the road to Perinaldo, and right after San Biago della Cima you arrive in Soldano.
The shape of the village is rather special. Arriving we expected to find the town center on our right and the first thought at the entering the village was to leave the car in the first parking lot we found. Curious, though, we decided to go ahead and we found that, unlike so many other small villages in Liguria, here in Soldano there is no shortage of parking areas: all the part that runs along the main road is used for the purpose.
After leaving the car we amazed once again as part of the old town extends upwards on the left side of the road.
We started walking for alleyways and hopped looking the church square, usually the center point of a village.
The old houses that still make up the historic village are now mostly restored and is a pleasure to see how these small towns do not fall into disrepair, but keeps in good condition.
The thing, however, that most surprised me here is the attention to visitors.
All along the medieval village we find explanatory panels about old doors, old churches, ditches and protective systems with clear descriptions and a little imagination helped us to understand how the village was structured, when it was a fortified village, and when the coastal inhabitants retreated inland to escape the raids and the attacks of the Saracens.
Following the panels, which refer to each other by specifying the number of steps to reach the next stage, is a great way to run far and wide throughout the historic village.
We had the opportunity to see the church of St. John the Baptist, Baroque, overlooking the main square, and the Oratory of St. John the Evangelist, dated from 1400, in a short distance on the same square that has not yet been restored as the parish.
A very panoramic view is the one of the gardens, at the side of the square, with games for children and a lovely walkway that in spring and summer, with leafy plants, provides shelter and shade.
The most characteristic and enjoyable part of these walks among the inland villages is the possibility to meet local people that live there. Adding some vacationers who have here their summer house some foreigners who love the Ligurian hinterland, we also well frequently meet some old ladies sitting on a bench in the sun and have the pleasure to talk or some gentlemen seated outside coffees watching people coming and going.