Saturday, May 17, 2014

Italy 2014: Day 16: Saturday: May 17: Noli

It is a little cooler this morning than it has been but breakfast is still served outside overlooking the Mediterranean.

Our agenda today includes a visit to the Museo dell'Olivo located in Imperia, about an hour north of Noli by autostrada.   The museum is underwritten by the Carli family (a major commercial oil producer) and it is quite an operation.  It is very extensive...18 rooms of exhibits starting with the beginnings of olive production in the ancient world and demonstrating how pervasive the use of the olive has been in history.  The narration on the audioguide is clear and concise and we find that we haven't left ourselves enough time to see everything.  But it is very impressive....

If anyone would like to take the "virtual" tour, you can go the museum web site.

Leaving the museum, we take a drive around the two towns (Oneglia and Porto Maurizio) that were combined by Mussolini to create Imperia.....and get caught in in a narrow dead end street.  This happens at least once on every trip (I blame the misleading signs from a construction detour) but we are rescued by a helpful Italian who comes out of his house to guide us (I am driving in reverse which I am not good at) to a spot where we can make a turn and escape without harm to us or the car.

Our new friend Max in Loano had also recommended that we stop at Cervo--a medieval town with an impressive church--that overlooks the sea.  It is indeed very striking.

We take the road that goes up the hill in back of the town, find a parking lot and arrive at the top of the town. There is a food and health fair being held which makes the narrow alleyways even harder to negotiate as we walk down and look for a place to have a sandwich.  The streets are picturesque and steep and we are having no luck finding a likely spot.


We make our way back to the top of the village and sit down in a busy bar hoping to order a sandwich but they are so busy that we decide not to wait.  Just outside the walls, we see a food truck where they make pancakes and a quasi-farinata to order, one at a time in a skillet on an electric burner.  The results are pretty tasty and we sit on a wall in the piazza and eat our lunch.

One more stop on the way back to the large beach town of Alassio.  I have been meaning to come here for years and since I sent a client to Alassio last year, I was very interested in getting a first hand look.  We find a space along the promenade and walk on the seaside promenade while keeping an eye out for a gelateria.  The beach is not wide but very long and, on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, there are lots of people enjoying themselves.

We find our gelato, enjoy it and get back in the car for the drive back to Noli.

For dinner, we return to the Bucun du Preve where we are greeted warmly by the boss; she calls us "mi amici americani (my American friends)" and shows us to "our" table.  Tonight the restaurant is almost full so the staff doesn't have as much time to talk to us but we enjoy our meal again.  Diana has the brandajun with pesto and then the pansotti (ravioli) with a walnut sauce and I have a gigantic serving of steamed mussels (we had seen an order the night before) which were terrific followed by the trofie with pesto...We decide to split a secondo--a filet of morone (the same fish we had loved at Il Vescovado) but this preparation was unfortunately overcooked. Another bottle of the delicious house white disappears and we have no room for dessert.

We say our goodbyes, and tell them "a la prossima" (until next time)....

A quiet walk along the water, a quick ascent on the magic funicular and we are back in our room.

Tomorrow we leave Noli for Piemonte....somewhat reluctantly.

Jim and Diana