In the hinterland of West Liguria, 572 metres above sea level, stands Perinaldo, an ancient medieval town steeped in history and science in addition to legends balanced between magic and esotericism, the sacred and the profane.

Born around the year 1000 with the name of “Podium Rainaldi” in honour of Rinaldo, a family member of the counts of Ventimiglia to which it belonged, Perinaldo owes its charm to the many events which followed throughout time. After becoming a Ghibelline domination of the Doria family from Genoa, it becomes the stage of harsh fights against the Guelphs of Monaco and in 1524, passes under Savoy.

Those are the years during which Perinaldo is enriched by art. Valuable Baroque pieces are visible in the Parish Church of San Nicola, dating to the XI century and renovated during 1600 by architect Maraldi, or in those of Sant’Antonio and Santa Giusta. Those are also the years of the Inquisition, which sent young Perinetta Pizia to the stake, accused of witchcraft. It is said that there were witches here, but also wizards devoted to alchemic practices, and that some rituals are still practiced today.

The Santuario della Visitazione, which also dates back to the XVII century and where science and religion merge, is also extremely fascinating.

Sunlight is projected through a small hole along a meridian line 20 metres long, which crosses all the church and represents a millionth part of the meridian which connects the two poles of Earth. The meridian’s path also crosses the town.

Interest in astronomy goes back a long way: one of Perinaldo’s most illustrious sons was Gian Domenico Cassini, who in 1660 discovered the 4 satellites of Saturn, its division into rings, the Great Red Spot and the differential rotation of Jupiter’s atmosphere.

To the great scholar are dedicated the Museum and the Astronomic Observatory which, equipped with advanced technology, allows enthusiasts to experience evocative views of the sky.

Perinaldo is also a synonym of food specialities. The fine purple artichoke, a Slow Food product, the excellent local wine and extra virgin oil shouldn’t be missed.

Enjoy Perinaldo under every aspect: savour its history, its mysteries, art, science and allow yourself to stroll through the old streets smelling its scents in the air: those of the good things from the past.

[Rosanna Calò]