You may have noticed that from this year I have decided to give a single address to the Vayadù houses: you will find them all on the western Ligurian Riviera, facing the sea or close to my favourite beaches.
My most vivid memories as a child live there, and to this day it is still my safe haven when I am in search of inspiration and peace.
Nature offers the best show, alternating between stretches of golden sand sloping down to crystal-clear waters and white coves embraced by sheer cliffs.
Heading inland, lush hills quickly climb, offering breathtaking views of the big blue or stretches of coastline dotted with villages full of history and atmosphere. Not to mention the allure that envelops you as the French border approaches.
This scenario has always been associated with summer holidays, but I find that every time of the year has its own charm. That is why I decided to write this diary in four seasons: to tell you about my life here and the inspirations that each season brings.
Springtime between seafront smart working and Villa Pergola Gardens
My review begins with the season when Vayadù’s New Year’s Eve occurs, the one that starts with a slow pace of work and then intensifies as summer approaches. In spring I spend increasingly longer periods in Alassio, alternating between smart working and relaxing moments.
At this time of year, I like to meet up with lifelong friends, whom from this year I was able to welcome into Dehors House wonderful building on the Alassio seafront.
With its 3 en-suite rooms on two floors, it allowed us to move from moments of celebration and sharing to moments of privacy and rest very easily.
In those days, I enjoyed the show of Alassio’s awakening: I was always the first one to sneak out of the house to do the shopping at my favourite grocery store in a Budello that was still moving quietly.
The rest of the morning passed between chats and cups of coffee among the olive trees in the courtyard facing the sea, before we set off on a slow walk.
A destination that can easily be reached on foot from Casa Dehors and that is at its best in spring is Villa Pergola Gardens, populated by fountains, ponds and an astonishing botanical variety.
I have already told you about them in another blog post, but they cannot be missed in my spring diary, because I return to visit them every time their legendary wisteria cascades bloom.
It is less than a 15-minute uphill walk from Dehors House, which is completely repaid by the wonderful view from up there, free to run over the rooftops and along the Gulf of Alassio.
Sunset then became the realm of our long aperitifs on the roof terrace, to greet the day with brightly coloured photos.
A summer of family holidays and trips to Gallinara
Summer is the season when my children join me and in general Alassio is populated by families who choose it for their seaside holidays.
If it is a large family like mine or even a gathering of friends, Arabesque House remains one of the best solutions among the Vayadù facilities.
With its large living area facing the sea and its 3 en-suite bedrooms, it gives children long days of games on the beach and it offers adults maximum comfort at home and on trips. I often chose it when my children were younger and I choose it again today when my grandchildren join me (speaking as an aunt, eh). With its large living area facing the sea and its 3 en-suite bedrooms, it gives children long days of games on the beach and it offers adults maximum comfort at home and on trips. I often chose it when my children were younger and I choose it again today when my grandchildren join me (speaking as an aunt, eh).
When we are all together, I love to have dinner around the big table in the living area, with wide-open windows and a view of my sea.
On lazy evenings when we do not want to get into the kitchen, there is always another table waiting for us at the Esca Laboratorio di Mare, where we always try some new exotic interpretation of our fresh local fish.
In the rare moments of summer rest, I love to spend a day with the kids snorkelling and exploring the wild natural beauty, with an trip around Gallinara Island, the famous natural oasis one kilometre from the port of Alassio.
We enjoy being guided close to its reef that plunges into clear waters populated by sponges, moray eels and sea breams. After exploring the sea bed, we stay on board, let the waves rock us and return to shore with our eyes full of wonder.
Romantic escapes and sunsets at the Bestoso pier: autumn in Alassio
Once summer is over, the beach empties out and the seafront cabins give way to a free horizon.
This is the time of year when my seaside walks resume and many of my guests come to Alassio for a romantic getaway.
Like me, they find inspiration in the suspended atmosphere of misty days – which we call ‘caligo’ here – when the sea seems to get deeper, its voice louder and the air thicker.
The Vayadù place where a slow pace reigns par excellence is Pirouette House with its lush garden, where you can spend long hours reading, having breakfast or lunch under a cool sky.
Pirouette House is a whole house with large spaces that make one feel a bit like a resident, but close to the Alassio seafront and the views of the benches of the Bestoso pier.
I like everything about Alassio in autumn: the footsteps on the damp sand, the free gaze from the harbour to Capo Mele, a hot tea for two with the wind in your hair.
A solitary seafront retreat. To meet again in winter.
When the beach is deserted and lit by a pale sun, I like to spend a few days in Alassio by myself. I find this slow ‘off-season’ time very inspiring: it gives me the right concentration to create new projects and gives me moments of pure pleasure.
The first is a sweet breakfast at the historic Balzola pastry shop, which patented the legendary Baci di Alassio at the beginning of the last century. I start the day with some almond croissants, a hot cappuccino and a few pages of the book of the moment.
Another great pleasure of my winters is the Alassio-Laigueglia walk, about which I have already told you extensively in another blog post. It is completely waterfront, easy and flat, along a 3-kilometre beach.
In winter, I like to walk along it even at dusk, to be accompanied by the dim light of the old street lamps that light up on the way, reminding me of the atmosphere of a noir novel.
During my solitary retreats I also enjoy reading. My favourite place is the niche under the roof in the Tango loft, a double bed that becomes my corner of paradise, a real refuge overlooking the sea.
In general, Tango is the ideal accommodation for those travelling alone or as a couple, even for longer periods: an intimate flat with an entrance in the Budello and a lovely little terrace overlooking the sea.
In short, with Vayadù I wish to offer a place to those who seek the enchantment of the Ligurian sea and of its villages at any time of the year. Places that meet different needs and rhythms, but always designed to dialogue with the people who inhabit them and the wonders of the places that host them.
And you, in which season do you prefer to experience the sea?