Dolceacqua and Isolabona in the Val Nervia

Nervia Valley

In the far western part of Liguria, between two ridges and engraved by the winding flow of the stream that gives it its name, lies one of its most fascinating valleys: the Val Nervia. A field of bloody fights between different factions during the course of history, it has in Dolceacqua and Isolabona two of its most representative small towns.

The residential area of Dolceacqua is a village with the characteristic historic centre located at the foot of the feudal castle, originally of the ancient family of the Counts of Ventimiglia and after that of the Doria. The castle, which dates back to the 12th century, is on the top of a rocky head located in a strategic position along the access route of the valley.

The small town is divided into two sections, once linked only by a daring one-arch humpback bridge: the Village and on the opposite side at the foot of the fortress the ancient quarter of la Terra  (Earth).

Above the town of Dolceacqua, about three kilometres away, we find Isolabona, whose current structure has a medieval origin and consists of  typical stone houses  with narrow lanes (carrugi)

The first historic document in which Isolabona is mentioned, dates back to  1220 and  is included in the Historiae Patriae Monumenta, Liber Jurium“, where the residential area is called “Castellum”.

Isolabona, also, suffered various vicissitudes because of the supremacy of the Doria family as is testified by the castle on top of the centre which has a square tower and polygonal structure and was built between the 1300s and 1400s.

18th February 1884: Dolceacqua in the Val Nervia: the spot is beautiful, there’s a bridge which is a jewel of lightness – Claude Monet

[Aldo Avagnina]