Saturday 20 June 2009

Riviera dei Fiori, Italy

Why go?
This stretch of the Ligurian coast in northern Italy offers you everything from beaches, sunshine and bustling towns to mountains, castles, caves and medieval villages – plus the region is small enough to get around easily by car. Here history, art, culture and traditions blend perfectly with chic modern restaurants and bars, and various outdoor pursuits, such as sailing and climbing. And with the French border so close you can easily jump on a train or hire a car and be in Monaco in next to no time (it’s worth noting that a 35-minute taxi ride from Sanremo to Monaco costs about Euros 70). Any other reasons to go? Ah yes, there’s the food – Liguria is one of the capitals of the healthy Mediterranean diet – think delicious pasta, fresh, mouthwatering fruit, vegetables and olive oil.

What to do and where to go
One of the most charming places on the Riviera is Bordighera, the city of palms, which was greatly loved by the English, Russian and German nobility in the last century - and Italian Queen Margherita, Regina d'arte e cultura, who had a residence there. The Villa Regina is now a museum for contemporary art. It still has a very nobel spirit, with the beautiful Anglican Church, the Villa Garnier and the Bicknell Museum.

The town is an ideal family base from which to explore this lovely region. As well as boasting an attractive pebbly beach alongside a tree-lined promenade, it has great restaurants – try the modern seafront eaterie La Reserve on Via Arziglia (+39 0184 261322). And don’t forget the Pallanca Exotic Garden where more than 3,000 species of cacti thrive in a stunning setting.

Market lovers can browse stalls in the town on Thursday mornings or head to nearby San Remo (Tuesdays and Saturday mornings) or Ventimiglia (Fridays).

An absolute must is a journey into the mountains and a look around the ancient villages. If you only have time for one, head off to Dolceacqua, which has an antiquated castle (music festivals are held there in August); a single-span medieval bridge and beautiful churches – and the Visionarium, a tiny cinema showing 3D documentaries, complete with relevant odours and an amazing sound system.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, enjoy a glass of the famous Rossese and see how it’s made by taking a trip into the mountains to the vineyard Terre Bianche ( And for a real taste of old-fashioned Ligurian cuisine, drop into Osteria dell'Acqua Dolce in Dolceacqua ( for delicious vegetables, followed by home-made ravioli, meat and potatoes.

When to go
The climate is fairly mild all year round and there’s plenty of culture on offer, which means there’s something to do even on wet days. Those who don’t like very hot weather July and August may be too steamy as the temperature often soars well into the 30s. Locals suggest the best time to come is in May and June when the heat is comfortable and the region is in full, beautiful bloom.

Where to stay
Budget: Nestled among the vineyards of Arcagna, the Locanda del Bricco, a country-style inn, can accommodate up to 19 guests in comfortable rooms with a special and traditional breakfast, served among the vineyards. Feel free to ask for more
Mid-range: Highly recommended is the Victorian-style, family-run Hotel Villa Elisa (; +39 0184 261313) in Bordighera, which provides a perfect spot to explore the Riviera – and Monte Carlo – and is within walking distance of the old town and the beach. Surrounded by a grove of orange and lemon trees, this three-star hotel has a heated outdoor pool, very comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and an invigorating Thai massage service.
Luxury: The five-star Royal Hotel in San Remo (royalhotelsanremo.+39 0184 5391) has great Mediterranean views and it boasts a new, state-of-the-art wellness centre.

How to get there
By plane
: Nice is the obvious gateway to the Riviera dei Fiori.
By train: It takes just one hour to go from Nice to Bordighera by train and costs just a few Euros. Bordighera Train Station
By Car: Autostrada A10 Ventimiglia-Genoa - take the Bordighera Exit

To find out more
• Log on to to read about the town. For the Riviera, check out

Watch the video about Bordighera
Link: Video-14 min.-52 MB

Time tunnel

The western Ligurian Riviera is one of the richest areas in Italy in pre-historic finds dating back to the Upper Palaeolithic period, from 30000-35000 up to about 10000 years ago. Home erectus found refuge in the natural caves of Balzi Rossi that overlook the sea. Stone utensils belonging to the so called 'Cro-Magnon race' where brought to light by French and Italian archeologists and are kept today in glass display cases at the National Prehistoric Museum. The museum complex also exhibits fossils of elephants, rhinoceroses, marmots, reindeer etc. that bear witness to the climatic changes that have taken place during the various geologic eras.

Balzi Rossi Museum Ventimiglia - Tel.: 0039-0184 38113 Opening hours: every day from 08:30am to 07:30pm. Closed on Mondays.

Friday 19 June 2009

Sweet peas and goat's cheese

Yes, it's that time of year's that time when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Fortunately there are lots of Italian foods that are not fattening! This is a light recipe that one could serve as a starter or as a main course.

I use Vittorio Cassini olive oil. It is beautifully aromatic and perfectly complements the sweet peas and the creamy tang of the goat's cheese.

Serves 2 as a main course (4 as a starter)

- 25 g butter
- 2 large banana shallots, peeled, then sliced into rings
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch

- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 thin slices of fresh italian bread
- 50 ml olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
- 200 g fresh sweet peas, blanched and refreshed
- 100 g fresh broad beans, blanched and refreshed
- 1 tsp chopped tarragon
- 60 g goat's cheese, diced

Heat the oven to 180 °C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Begin by caramelising the shallots: heat a medium-sized frying pan, then add the butter. When foaming, add the shallots, ½ tsp salt and thyme. Cook gently until golden - between 5 and 7 minutes.
Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a further 10 minutes, then set aside. Brush the bread with 2 tbsp olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes, until crispy.
To assemble the salad, place the peas, broad beans and tarragon into a bowl.
Mix with the remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange on plates with the shallots, goat's cheese and croƻtes.

Fresh fruit dessert

Fresh fruit is always a treat, and healthy too.
This apples with limes and oranges recipe is a nice dessert. To serve 4 -
Prep Time: 15 minutes
4 golden delicious apples
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
An organically grown lime
An organically grown orange
A packet of vanilla-laced powdered sugar
A sprig of mint
A pinch of salt


Squeeze the lime and the orange, and combine the juices. Add half the brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and mix well.
Peel and core the apples, then slice them crosswise into thin rounds and put them on a serving dish.
Sprinkle them with the remaining brown sugar, and the citrus juices. Set the dish in the refrigerator, and let it chill for 2 hours.

In the meantime, wash the mint and pat the leaves dry. Remove the zest from the lime and the orange using a paring knife or a potato peeler, and julienne it.

Serve the fruit - dust it with the powdered sugar and garnish it with the zest and the mint leaves.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Sweat - feet and wheels

Liguria lifestyle takes on two wheels - Europe's longest and most scenic bike path, stretching between San Lorenzo al Mare and Ospedaletti (just a stone's throw from Bordighera on your way to Sanremo) is without a doubt a wonderful attraction. The old railway line was converted to make way for the bike path with a lane for pedestrians. The old railway stations were being converted into bars, restaurants and value for money hotels for backpackers. A bike hire facility by the path ensures that the whole family can enjoy it-bikes equipped with baby seats are available - all that for an affordable price. In addition to being an ideal way to visit the quaint sleepy villages, it is also also perfect for taking a leisurely bit of exercise.

Two wheels-super scooters If you prefer two motorized wheels there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a motorbike ride in glorious weather and you certainly won't be alone. Scooters, love them or hate them, are a significant part of Italian culture. They are a great way to beat the traffic on congested roads and you don't even always need to have a licence to ride one. It is possible to rent scooters and motorbikes if you simply fancy giving it a try.

For more information feel free to contact us -

Two feet
- Let's walk from Balzi Rossi to Ventimiglia. The panorama is boundless and the salty sea breeze mingle with the fragrance of the flowers that brighten terraces and gardens.
We start at the Balzi Rossi Caves and the Museum of Prehistory - The area is made up of caves and crevices in which large numbers of animal remains and stone tools of the Palaeolithic Era have been preserved. Traces of the old Roman road's route are still preserved in this site. In summer there's a beautiful beach (look at the beachimage OUR WORK - it is the Balzi Rossi beach

Six wheels - The spectecular railway line that links Ventimiglia and Limone offers the traveller a landscape that winds attractively through a succession of meadows, pine forests, gorges and rivers that frame the enchanting villages set among the mountains. The extremely panoramic line can be used for special trips. Mountain bike enthusiasts can also load their bikes onto the train.

Sports - try to increase your ability to burn calories
Swimming 250 (crawl) - 300 (breaststroke)
Brisk walking 160
Running 250
Cycling, moderate 250
Bike, vigorous 350
Tennis 200
Squash 400
Golf 115
Having Sex 70 - 80

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Check for fleas and ticks

At this time we return to speak with Dott.ssa Monica Scannicchio, the kind vet.
Dott.ssa, it's springtime. Can you please advise us on what we should do for our best friends, our dogs - we want to do lots of things together like biking or walking and being outdoors.

This is what the Dott.ssa recommends:
Check for fleas and ticks

How to to so: Check for fleas
It's a good idea to check pets for fleas on a regular basis. It is especially important to check if your pets seem unusually nervous or grumpy, or if they are scratching more than seems natural.
When checking for fleas, look for black specks (flea dirt) on your pet or on its bed. There are 2 easy ways to do this: 1. Run a metal comb (available from your vet or pet store) through your pet's coat making sure that you touch the skin below. If the comb gatheres black specks you may have found flea dirt. 2. Place a white towel beneath your pet and rub your hands across its fur. If black specks fall on the towel it may be flea dirt.
If you find live fleas with either one of these methods, drown them into soapy water before they can jump back on your pet.

Check for ticks
Because ticks can be dangerous, it's a good idea to check your pet thoroughly every day. Build it into your regular routine. Look for ticks as you brush, pet and play with you cat or dog. Examine as much of your pet's body as possible paying particular attention to the head, neck and paws because that's where ticks prefer to attach themselves. You may feel a tick bump before you can see the tick. Contact your vet immediately if you believe your pet has a tick. If you remove a tick, do so slowly using tweezers (never use your hands), save it in a bottle and bring it to your vet so that they can determine the species.

If you need further information, feel free to contact Dott.ssa Monica Scannicchio; Ambulatorio Veterinario Il Girasole; Via Turistica 14, Camporosso
Monday to Friday: 9.00- 12.30 / 15.30 -19.00 Saturday: 09.00 - 12.30
Tel : (0039) 0184 266116; In case of emergency Tel: 340 4898508

If you would like to have a lovable dog to take care of it and to offer a good home please make contact with The Dott.ssa or I would be happy to assist you. Thank you!

Have you heard of that? Please get in touch and let us know your experiences.


Monet's trip to Bordighera
Starting from the second half of the 19th century, Bordighera and its surroundings became the favourite destination of numerous artists from all over Europe, who often stayed and sometimes set up residence here. Even the painter Claude Monet, who came here at the end of 1883 with his friend Auguste Renoir, was deeply impressed by the exotic lush vegetation and by the light, which persuaded him to stay to try to immortalise on canvas the colours of the Mediterranean. He found inspiration in various places in Bordighera including Villa Etelinda. A glimpse of the tower of this building appears in several of Monet's paintings - or the old bridge, the symbol of Dolceacqua. It was Claude Monet, who sang the praises of this old monument. 'The place is superb, a jewel of lightness'.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Our work - celebrate any occasion, but not just in any way

Celebrate any occasion, but not just in any way.

This is where we can help.

VivaDolcevita knows what you need to turn an ordinary party into an event, creating an occasion to make a lasting impression on your guests. Whether it is a wedding, gala, rural dinner in a cosy atmosphere, vernissage or sales presentation, the perfect event depends on a good idea and its realisation. This is our forte. Depending on your wishes and desires we take over the complete organisation: from designing invitations to the organising of travel itineraries, choosing the decorations or booking artists and chefs.

And what better place for your event than the Riviera? It doesn't always has to be glamourous - a wonderful day can be had in the countryside, in Dolceacqua or Perinaldo, surrounded by nature and a wine tasting at a winery or an oil tasting - or may we help to find the perfect venue? A castle perhaps?

What, if 'he' wants to play golf and 'she' wants to join the beautiful boutiques in Bordighera, Sanremo or Ventimiglia? No problem, we organise any activity. We hire the services that our clients want locally. Really, anything is possible.

Recent events have included a Gala Dinner for British and German equestrian enthusiasts at the home of a friend of Count Dohna in Bordighera and a birthday party for Countess Larissa von Arnim's daughter Lilian, with an exclusive guest list ranging from current to future Vips. Future plans include a book presentation by Dr. Bernd Dams and Andrew Zega from Paris, who will presenting their titles to the Riviera.

Isn't it annoying that the beautiful things we associate with Italy are often difficult to carry by plane? Would you like to conjure up the Meditteranean atmosphere during the year and indulge others and yourself? We can take care of this - we visit the local producers, select the best products and take care of decoration, packaging and dispatch - this applies of course, also for presents and business gifts. Tailor made to your requests.

Read more

Please get in touch Tel.: 0039 - 333 932 66 27 or mail to Thank you!

Monday 15 June 2009

Ongoing Events and Exhibitions on the Riviera

Some people are surprised to learn that Nice Cote d'Azur is the second biggest airport in France, and are even more taken aback to find out that you can fly direct from the Riviera to far-flung destinations like New York and Dubai.

The residence of Margherita, Regina d'arte e di cultura in Bordighera is opened to visitors.

Osservatorio Astronomico - 'Stellaria' Museo Cassini www.

Bordighera Atelier di Villa Mariani Pompeo Mariani. Il Mediterraneo.
Via Fontana Vecchia 5 e 7, 18012 Bordighera
Guided tours are available by appointment. For information please call 0039 - 0184-265556

To have a daily update of Bordighera please check

Monaco For more information check

Market lovers can browse stalls in Bordighera on Thursday mornings or head to nearby Sanremo (Tuesday and Saturday mornings) or Ventimiglia (Fridays). In Bordighera the Mercato Nuovo can be found in the Old Market Hall, where a fantastic selection of fresh fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, flowers, plants and wines are available daily.

Thursday 4 June 2009

Tuesday 2 June 2009

English and German Speaking churches

St. John's Church Ave. Carnot, 06500 Menton
Services are on Saturday at 09.30am - 11.30am. Anglican
International Baptist Church 13 Rue Vernier, Nice
Services Sunday evening at 06:30pm.

Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche, Corso Garibaldi 7, 18038 Sanremo
Pastora: Frau Maike Bendig
This is the church in close proximity of the parking garage Palafiori. Free parking on Sundays.

Monday 1 June 2009

Indulge Plan - Gift your favourite foods

Isn't it annoying that the beautiful things we associate with Italy are often difficult to carry by plane? This can be due to the current regulations or just to lack of space. Think of olive oil, wine, the Dolce Vita and music ...... would you like to be able to conjure up the Mediterranean atmosphere during the year and indulge others or yourself?

We can take care of this - we visit the local producers, select the best products and take care of decoration, packing and dispatch - this applies, of course, also for presents or business gifts. Tailor made to your requests - we look forward to hearing from you at

Decide for yourself, for men for example some bottles of Rossese, Pigato, Vermentino and/or liqueurs, chocolates or (perhaps) a visit to the Monaco Yacht Show or a rally?

Or for the ladies for example olive oil from Vittorio Cassini, chocolates and (perhaps) a beauty weekend with sports and shopping? Or a cookery course for him and her? Or, or, or ....... as you can see, the possibilities are unlimited - but we will manage it. Just call Tel.: 0039 - 333 932 6627.