Itineraries19 September 2019

Walk among the olive trees of the Dolcedo ring [Video & photo gallery]

Easy and of great naturalistic value, the Dolcedo - Lecchiore - Bellissimi ring is all immersed in the silver-green of the olive trees. It touches three villages, five churches and, if desired, also includes a stage in small lakes in the woods.

Dolcedo, credit Davide Papalini

Dolcedo, credit Davide Papalini

Departure from Dolcedo

Start from Piazzetta Doria, in the beautiful Dolcedo. We pass under the vault of the Municipality with the emblem of the town and we find ourselves in the churchyard of white and black pebbles of the church of San Tommaso. We take the stairs and, turning right, we come out along the river. We continue on the comfortable paved road, leaving the stone bridge on the right which, crossing the Prino, leads to the town of Ripalta. We note, overlooking the water, the remains of ancient mills. We continue straight following the white and red signs. The road becomes paved and uphill. We console ourselves with the view of Ripalta, perched on the hill, with its ancient bell tower and tall houses with arcades.

Curiosities: The large arcades on the upper floors (altane) that characterize many ancient buildings in Dolcedo and its surroundings, used to be used for drying fruit and mushrooms. They then became an instrument of distinction (small pillars, capitals, arches, stuccos) of the wealthier families.

Ascent to Lecchiore

After about ten minutes, we neglect to the left the asphalted road that leads to the Boeri district and we advance on the path among the olive trees (indication Lécchiore). We touch an abandoned white chapel, with the decorated vault, and proceed on the path. Cut a cemented hairpin bend to the right. We meet shortly after a first niche; at the second, coinciding with another bend, we take the climb to the left. We are surrounded by strips of olive trees from the ancient dry stone walls. After passing a yellow house, three quarters of an hour from the start, here is the bell tower of Lecchiore. We climb to the left, flanking a net, and we find ourselves at the back of the parish church. We cross the center of the village, passing under a vault of stones, and, among old restored houses, we arrive in via Acquasanta. Here we follow the asphalt road, which winds through a jubilation of olive trees, up to a stone stairway downhill to the right (a picket with Valloria indication). He will take us to the Baroque Sanctuary of Our Lady of Acquasanta.

The Sanctuary of the Acquasanta

The Sanctuary is in a particular position: a shady gorge where the Prino stream flows into small waterfalls between the rocks. The sky-blue door is barred but it is possible to glimpse inside, on the altar, a Madonna dressed up and colored stuccoes on the walls.

Curiosity: according to one of the legends, the sanctuary was born in the XVIII century for the devotion of some soldiers who, having escaped a danger, placed here a statue in white marble of the Madonna. Immediately from the ground water began to gush, which later proved to be miraculous. Reason why the shrine of Our Lady of Acquasanta was built. The statue is still there, in a niche next to the pronaos, protected by a wrought iron grate.

The lakes of Lecchiore

While some rest at the tables in front of the sanctuary, in the shade of a gigantic horse-chestnut tree, we make a detour of half an hour (to and fro trip). Getting back on the paved road where the houses end we take a small road that goes into the woods and takes us to the lakes of Lecchiore in ten minutes: a series of pretty hidden green pools among the trees. We return via the asphalt road to Lecchiore, but, having reached the height of the small fountain, we proceed to the right, slightly uphill, crossing the upper part of the town. After a tall house with a loggia, we take the cemented to the right that still borders some house and then it becomes a beautiful path among the olive trees.


After ten minutes, at the same time as the first noon tolls, we see the little church of Bellissimi in the green. In front, a panoramic terrace with benches overlooks the gray-green valley. We lean out and at a glance we see three of the many murals that decorate the town. Privileged subject: the "balui"!

Curiosity: Bellissimi is the land of the balus, that is to say balloons, colorful paper air balloons that are thrown into the air at a big feast held every first Sunday in September.

Back to Dolcedo

From the terrace we go down via Bellissima (it's called that!), left side, and take via Umberto I. Arriving at a junction with a gate we see Dolcedo on the right: it is the canonical descent. But we prefer to go down to the left to fully enjoy the magnificent olive groves. A very suggestive route (at sunset it must be magnificent!). And poetic ...

Curiosities: a citation of Giovanni Boine, who had a grandfather at Bellissimi, gives the idea: "Our fathers have not left us palaces ... they have built walls, dry walls like cyclopic temples, thousands of ferreous walls, from the sea up to the mountain. ”

We then follow a trail to the right in the meadows where the olive trees thin out. Arrived at a group of houses (township Boeri) recognizable by the presence of two stone lions at the sides of a gate, we take to the right. We are on the asphalt now. We turn left downhill (signposted Dolcedo) and, within a few minutes, we re-enter along the river from which we started. Here again, over the bridge, Ripalta: now it is late to visit it but I am sure that, after lunch, a loggia will not escape ...

NOTE From the sanctuary of the Acquasanta you can reach Valloria, the village with painted doors ! ... ..

Judit Neuberger

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