Tag Archives: liguria

seaside italian style…

So the Italian middle class are a lucky lot…families tend to hold on to their houses from generation to generation so that often, as well as the family home, there will also be a house at the seaside and also maybe even one up in the mountains…With great good fortune have been regularly invited over the years to the tiny village of San Rocco in Liguria to one such family home, perched high up on forested hills over-looking the Mediterranean…

San Rocco perched on top of the hill – mid photo

Below San Rocco is Camoglie; the less chi-chi (but still eye-wateringly expensive) neighbouring town to Portofino…

The beach Italian style…you pay money for the umbrella or you tough it out under the remorseless sun on the shingle…folks here don’t seem to be bothered by the masses and like their beaches CROWDED!!! This is not a particularly busy day!

panorama of the beach at Camoglie, click on image for a better view…

To get down to Camoglie from San Rocco you descend 220 meters down some stone steps passing through olive groves and the backs of people’s houses, on one of the walls i found these little figures inserted into the mortar, some are tiny, the size of my thumbnail…

Oh yes, and camoglie has a fish festival in May that involves cooking fish on a MASSIVE scale! the photo below shows to old frying pans! Fact!

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la pigna mon amour…

the church top centre denotes the highest point of La Pigna…

So like i was saying, i was in Sanremo for a quick location scout. Why? Because the art residence i currently wor for, UNIDEE has been invited by the local residents association La Pigna Mon Amour for the 3rd year running to come and stay with them for a week and do some art/interventions/interactions regarding this problematic and compelling area. Here is a glimpse of our first 2 day stopover:

La Pigna by night

So La Pigna is the somewhat forgotten medieval centre of the glitzy seaside resort of Sanremo. Down in the modern quarter it’s all tacky seaside Italian style with beach umbrellas, fun fairs and one of only 4 casinos that exist in Italy. Here, the bourgeoisie and über kitsch live side by side. While only a few minutes away in a parallel universe up a hill we have La Pigna. It is achingly beautiful with narrow winding streets designed specifically to lose the invading hordes over the centuries. It is built on  steep inclined steps (no cars can fit there) with ancient medieval gates, the smell of urine, drug dealers, normal folks, a few yuppies…all going about their business…It has a bad reputation and the Sanremese population don’t tend to go there, they say its dangerous, dark, smelly..inconvenient. The big question is  what to do here for a week that engages, does not exclude, is not patronising, has some kind of resonance…it’s not easy…we will be back in August and i will keep you posted…

white lightning…

Been trying to photograph lightning for years and finally managed it. We have just spent a few days with the UNIDEE residents in the La Pigna quarter of Sanremo (Liguria). We will be spending a week here in August on a kind of of mini residency inside the 4 months at Biella…but i will explain about that in the next post…Back to the lightning…So i was lucky enough to have ace filmmaker/photographer Shah Zaman at hand, so he helped me with settings etc,  so the following photos are a collaboration between Shah and myself:

This one above is actually the last shot we took, the lightning having been very far off in the distance suddenly got much closer to us, lighting up all the surrounding water, so in the name of wanting to live till tomorrow…we legged it!

focaccia di recco…

…jumping back to liguria briefly and getting back to the important subject of food, i wanted to talk about the focaccia di recco – ligurian cuisine is not my favourite, as a regional style, it can be a bit narrow and a bit samey, BUT the stuff that they do do, they do REALLY WELL. This is the focaccia di recco,

i had never heard of it till i came to live in Italy, it’s a really thin focaccia dough, spread with a sour soft cheese like stracchino, or crescenza and then sprinkled with a little milk, it’s cooked in the oven till golden brown with a slight crust on top. Its kind of sweet and sour, and silky at the same time and it is SO good, it is crispy round the edges while the middle takes on the consistency of a very substantial crepe. Round here, to stop it sticking, they sprinkle the bottom of the baking sheets with chick pea flour and this gives a slight extra crunch.

decorating construction…

Is it better to decorate construction of construct decoration???(extra points for getting the reference) In Genoa, they sure like to decorate construction, venturi would have approved. Here are some of the thousands of trompe l’oeil and frou frou adornments of the buildings round these parts…

the vertical centre line of windows on the right even contain variations on the way the shutters are open, sometimes it does look almost like the real thing

This one is crazy, the road is so narrow you can’t really see the ornate decoration, it can only really be enjoyed by the neighbours directly in front…

my favourite…weird and wonderful, a whole building in genoa in wedding cake colours with relief sculptures of what can only be described as mutant caryatids…