Dolceacqua is a typical medieval village of the Nervia valley. The oldest part of the village, located at the foot of Mount Rebuffao, is dominated by the Doria castle and is called Terra by the inhabitants; the more modern one, called the Borgo, stretches out on the opposite bank, on either side of the road that climbs the valley.
The first evidence of the settlement of Dolceacqua dates back to the Iron Age, in fact rough dry stone fortifications were found on the peaks of Aurin and Tramontina – in the area west of the area surrounding Dolceacqua – and other relics of the period.
Since the Carolingian era, thanks to the Benedictine monks (the founders of the monastery of Santa Maria della Mota), the cultivation of the olive tree has spread, from the earliest times the Taggiasca olive was used but the “intensive” culture begins only in a second moment. Thanks to the cultivation of the olive, the mills developed a lot and were built along the waters of the streams where water mills could be planted; they also improved the technique of viticulture by spreading the famous Rossese and other agricultural practices.
However, it was the Counts of Ventimiglia in the 12th century who built the first nucleus of the local castle, on the top of the cliff that from the left side of the stream that still strategically controls the fork of the valley itself and the roads that converge there.
The history of Dolceacqua continues between various passages of rulers of different families (including French) until 1861 when with the Kingdom of Italy the municipality of Dolceacqua was subjected to the district of Sanremo.
As soon as you arrive in the village it is impossible not to see the beauty of the old village, the castle and the old Romanesque bridge. These 3 subjects were depicted in the paintings of the illustrious French artist Claude Monet. A visit to all these 3 places is mandatory for anyone coming to Dolceacqua. The beauty of the old village is unique, sometimes it is also decorated by the inhabitants (depending on the periods of the year and the festivals of the town), the tangle of the streets makes the path almost a small labyrinth full of small shops of artisans, artists and producers of the famous Rossese di Dolceacqua. Once we get to the top we find the castle (it deserves a stop for a visit especially for the view); going down the other side you can find Palazzo Doria Garoscio which houses the library and the municipal art gallery. At the end of the route you return to the bases of the historic center reaching the church of Sant’Antonio Abate which houses the painting of Santa Devota.
On the other side of the Nervia river we find the new Borgo, full of restaurants and small shops.
A small suggestion is to look for a good shop to buy and taste the delicious “Michette di Dolceacqua” a small sweet delicacy typical of the village.