This is the largest and deepest valley of Western Liguria reaching the mountains of the Piedmont.
Some interesting villages worth seeing are:
Pontedassio, a 15th century village and very important producer of olive oil is crossed by the stream Impero.
Chiusanico: due to its panoramic position this charming medieval village was chosen by the Benedictine monks to introduce the cultivation of the olive-trees in this valley.
Caravonica was built along the stream Impero and used to be one of the most important places for the trade of olive-oil.
The upper Impero- valley is better known as the Maro-valley and offers some interesting villages, too:
San Lazzaro Reale with a 14th century stone-bridge
Borgomaro, the centre of the Maro-valley with its original Ligurian structure and famous for the “bread of San Rocco” (feast on the 16th August)
Maro Castello, the former seat of the counts of Ventimiglia
Conio lies 630m above the sea-level and is proud of its famous beans. The local feast is in September.
Lucinasco was built among the olive-trees and has two fine churches: Saint Stephen (15th century) and the sanctuary of Saint Madeleine on the shore of a small lake. There is also a small museum of local findings, craft and tools of everyday’s life.
The valleys of Caramagna and Prino
The mainly interesting villages are:
Moltedo, featuring the important painting “The Holy Family” attributed to the Flamish painter Van Dyck (or recently to Van Roos).
Montegrazie owns one of the most important medieval buildings, the sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Grace with the most extensive series of wall-paintings of the 15th century, representing “The Final Judgement”.
Piani too has a sanctuary, called Our Lady “dei Piani”, built before the year 1000 and decorated by some 15th century frescoes. It used to be the most important church of the valley for baptising.
Dolcedo is the main village of the Prino-valley, once a town of olive-mills. Today it enchants you with the
13th century bridge ”Ponte Grande” built by the Maltese Knights, the baroque church of Saint Thomas, the old loggia of the town-hall with stone-measurements dating 1613.
Molini di Prela with a double-arched bridge and the 15th century church of Saint John.
Valloria is a charming old village well known for its painted doors.
The Valley of San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo al Mare, an old fishing-village, former harbour of the counts of Lengueglia. Here starts a fabulous bicycle-track following the coastline and extended to Sanremo.
Torre Paponi, a small intact village of cobbled pavements between Porto Maurizio and Pietrabruna.
Pietrabruna with one of the oldest churches in Western Liguria, Saint Gregory.
Boscomare with the ruins of an old watchtower dating back to the 15th century
Lingueglietta, a former feudal seat of the family Lengueglia. The narrowly lined houses are typical for this formerly fortified village and so the fortified church of Saint Peter. Outside the village you will find the watchtower “Torre della Gallinara”.
Costarainera: remarkable is the former parish church of Saint Anthony Abbot of the year 1100.
Cipressa, a medieval village with the fine baroque church of the Visitation and the oratorio of the Holy Announcement.