Of all the expressions linked to this holiday, the Italian saying “felice come una Pasqua” is my favourite one, because it speaks about a full and truly joyful happiness. And to wish you a happy Easter and give you moments of happiness, I suggest you some routes if you say hello to the sea in Alassio during these first spring holidays. Easy experiences, accessible to everyone, that will make your heart smile for a long time.
The Vayadù space on the Western Riviera that offers the greatest emotions during this season is Arabesque House, a large flat facing the sea with 8 beds, which you can live with all the people you consider family…. because in Italy we always say that you can live Easter “with whoever you want”.
Muretto of Alassio and a breakfast halfaway between the centuries.
It is the most emblematic place and it may seem obvious to talk about it, but for me passing through there is always a jump back into a legendary past, which has shaped the imagination linked to the Ligurian Riviera.
It seems to me that I can see Hemingway’s long strides as he enters the Caffè Roma and orders his favourite whisky and I can hear him chatting with Mario Berrino, the owner with a dream: to turn his album of celebrity autographs into a colourful open-air work.
From the 1950s till today, from Jean Cocteau to Valentino Rossi, via Anita Ekberg and Franco Battiato, the terracotta tiles engraved with the signatures of famous names continue to grow. And the “Muretto” that has become the symbol of Alassio continues to get longer.
At the beginning of each season, I sit on the terrace of that café for a slow breakfast and I admire the last stretch of this spontaneous and unfinished work, which seems to dissolve time and speak, transforming its colours into voices of past eras.
The blooms of Villa Pergola Gardens
The history of this enchanting place is inextricably linked to the English families who came to winter in Alassio at the end of the nineteenth century, helping to transform a small fishing village into a popular tourist destination.
These families chose Villa Pergola as their favourite accommodation, with a unique view over Baia del Sole and an enormous English garden populated by fountains, ponds and an amazing variety of wisteria, agapanthus, citrus trees, water lilies and lotuses.
I can still breathe the scents and colours of the ‘Wisteria Party’, which English families used to celebrate the blossoming of wisterias and which every year brings me here to look around. Pink and white wisteria waterfalls create real sceneries in which I immerse and regenerate myself.
Not only Baci di Alassio: the petit fours of Balzola cake shop
Another joy of my days in Alassio are its Baci, created from an ancient secret recipe based on cocoa and hazelnuts. Today, you can find them on every corner, but I like to pick them up from Balzola cake shop, which was the first to offer them at the beginning of the 20th century as a sweet souvenir!
Entering Balzola cake shop does not only mean Baci di Alassio. Every time I find myself among the cream and pistachio Art Nouveau wainscoting, I feel like I’m in a wonderland of Provençal petit fours: chinottos, candied flowers, pralines, macaroons, amaretto biscuits, marzipan fruit, almond croissants… all before my eyes in a thousand colours.
I always buy a lot of Baci for everyone, but I also take with me fantastic images that seem to have come out of a vintage storybook.
At the Cappelletta on the port of Alassio for the most beautiful sunset
Celebrating the sunset is one of my favourite activities in all seasons, but when the days get longer and the sky becomes full of a thousand colours… how can you not be happy?
When I’m here on the Riviera, I like to enjoy it from a privileged position and so I climb up to the Cappelletta on the port of Alassio. From that location, the dusk becomes a magical view: on one side the thousands of reflections on the sea, on the other side the lights of the port of Alassio and all around the sight of the sun going down.
Starry night from Arabesque House terrace
When night falls and the stars come out, I like sipping a glass of wine and whispering secrets on the little terrace facing the sea at Arabesque House, while the sea continues its dance. Back and forth.
How many times on that little terrace I thought that happiness is a simple thing after all, if only we were reached from all the poetry that exists.