This afternoon in Ventimiglia Alta it seemed as though only the cats were out and about.

 

 

There were more people on the streets later in the day but I get the feeling the medieval walled town is rarely busy.  The action in Ventimiglia has moved downhill to a modern sprawl of apartment blocks and flyovers, leaving the extraordinary warren of narrow lanes and passages to pedestrian and cats.

Ventimiglia isn’t an obvious destination for tourists travelling by car.  There are so many other medieval hilltop villages to choose from in Italy and I guess many of them have more attractive neighbours.  If you’re travelling by train it’s a stopping point on the coastal route to Rome, which is how I come to be here.  Here’s a first glimpse. There’s more to follow.

(Click on any photo to view the gallery)

P.S. First impressions can be misleading in so many ways.  It’s true that Ventimiglia Alta, the medieval town on the hill, is not a major tourist destination.  Now I’ve explored the other side of the river I can see that many people do come to Ventimiglia on holiday but they come for the sea and the long, curving shingle beach.  The old town seems much busier now the sun’s come out but not with tourists.  There are a few discreet B&B signs but for most of the people here this is home.

What these photos don’t show is the steepness of the foot streets climbing into the old town. Downhill living has its advantages if your hill climbing is limited by age, infirmity or a baby in a pram.

And finally, Ventimiglia only has one flyover.  The autostrada emerges from a tunnel high up above the river valley and promptly disappears under ground again on the other side.