The sea and mountains come together in this thin strip of land called Liguria, and give rise to a unique cuisine, the best possible match.
In Ligura's vastest plain, at the mouth ofthe Centa River, stands Albenga, an ancient town where the compact mediaeval construction is still conserved, with stackedhouses and towers stretching toward the sky.
from ancient times, vegetables and fruit orchards were cultivated in the plainnear the village. The foothills have always provided pasture, arable lands and vineyards. Even today, the plain hosts all types of cultivation. The most renowned are artichokes and asparagus, next to the famous basil which plays a leading role in the local cuisine.
Excellent wines are produced in the foothills, wines such as Pigato, Vermentino and the Doc wines Colli di Luni. Some recommended sights to visit in the area include the archaeological itinerary along the Via Julia and the mediaeval buildings such as the Cathedral of San Michele, the municipal building, Palazzo Vecchio, and the house of the Malasemenza.
The inland area of Albenga includes Cisano sul Neva, Balestrino, Zuccarello and Castelvecchio Rocca Barbena, and is bursting with castles and fortified villages along the important road connecting the coast to the inland area.
The "borgo" or village of Balestrino, with its perfect feudal structure in concentric circles, is connected to the most impressive castle dominating the landscape, and is adapted to the natural formation of the rocky spur. In this place where time stands still and nature prevails over man, places and landscapes transmit an inner priceless peace. For those who love to travel, this town is not to be missed.
The cuisine of Balestrino offers many exclusive specialties: ravioli con il faraballÓ, vegetable and legumes soup, or dishes made with salt cured anchovies.
Another picturesque historical walled town is Zuccarello, often the site of modern-day mediaeval re-enactments, games and gastronomic events. Here, the cuisine features snails and savoury pies made of rice and vegetables, companied by the best wines of Liguria, such as those of the Doc Golfo del Tigulllio or the excellent Pornassio.
From here the visitor can go to Busalla, in the heart of the high valley, Alta Valle Scrivia, inside the Antola National Park, Parco naturale regionale dell'Antola. Busalla is the main centre of theValley. In mediaeval times it was already an important point of reference for the through ways. Some of its interesting features in the 19th century Libertystyle buildings which, during the 1940s, faced the main road and gave the centre an airof bourgeois solemnity. A visit to Busalla is a must for any tourist or traveler going inland from Genoa.