Medieval hamlets rise out of the brilliant emerald hills and woodlands of the Val di Vara. The historic route of Via Aurelia connected the coastline with Italy’s interior for hundreds of years, traversed by merchants and pilgrims alike. Your flight lands at Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport, where your private transfer greets you upon your arrival. You make your way south to the ancestral home of Niccolò Paganini, the famous Italian violinist and composer, in the commune of Carro. The lanes wind through the various homes without straight lines, surrounding the central church.
You find the aroma of pine and cypress lingering in the air. The bright homes rising atop the hill contrast the surrounding greenery and rolling knolls. Your driver points out the ancestral home of the Paganini, visible from the main piazza. The charm of the quiet village embodies the beauty of the surrounding trees and unique layout of the winding lanes, historically used to protect villagers from marauders or passing armies. An enticing smell compels you to enter a small trattoria, a traditional Italian eatery.
The scent of creamy olive oil blends with the aroma of wild herbs filling the dining room. A cool breeze sweeps across the cobblestone lanes. The local recipes offer an introduction into the culture of Liguria and the valley, with the cuisine an integral part of life and expression. The chef uses chestnut flour to make the gnocchi and dresses the typical dish in a sweet walnut sauce. Fat pappardelle noodles dance in a bowl with potatoes and green beans emanating the delectable, herbaceous scent of fresh pesto.
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