Final Borgo – a little finale before the final finale

We’d had a quick swim along the coast, just west of Genova, and then Paolo turned inland. “I have something special planned for you today.” So we drove through Finale Ligure (a modern city that hugs the coast road) and started climbing and winding towards the old city, to Final Borgo, perched high on a defensive hill overlooking its newer version and the Med in the distance.

We were heading to the Osteria del Castel Gavone.

But it was a Monday.

And it was closed.

osteria-del-castel-gavone, final borgo

Until they decided to open it.

For us.

For us … alone.


They call him Sweet Talkin’ Paolo” :)


osteria-del-castel-gavone, final borgo interior

So we settled ourselves in the primo position on their astounding little terrace.

With a 180 degree view that looks north towards a deep gorge and its eclectic castles…

osteria-del-castel-gavone, final borgo terrace

East to the valley and villas below …

view from osteria-del-castel-gavone, final borgo

And south to Finale Ligure and a turquoise horizon.

terrace osteria-del-castel-gavone, final borgo

All without leaving our seats.

view from osteria-del-castel-gavone, final borgo

And given it was a Monday and they weren’t prepared and we’d caught them unawares, well they just threw together what they had on hand. And it was splendid. What look like chips are actually panisse, a local dish made from chick pea flour and water. I’ve tried David Lebovitz’s recipe at home and it worked a treat.


Andrea and Catia. Molto molto grazie. Your generosity was one of the highlights of our visit to Liguria and for me, one of the highlights of the whole trip away. Such a beautiful, beautiful setting. Soooo beautiful! And with a church right opposite we found ourselves once again saying “Maddy could get married here! Or Darce!” :)

andrea and catia


There is a famous walk you can do in Final Borgo. It’s called The Ring.

Paolo knew there was a path from the restaurant so the boys took the lead …

the boys lead the way

And despite there being little evidence of any path, we followed their path …

the girls follow

Until we found the real path.

finding the path

Which eventually became a bigger path that took us past another castle …

walking down to the historic village of final borgo

walking the ring final borgo

And into the heart of the old city.

final borgo

final borgo

It’s a solid walk on a hot day but a spectacular way to finish an especially special day.

walking the ring final borgo

Final Borgo … add it to your Ligurian wish list :)


I have one more tale from Liguria to share and I have to apologise for how absent I’ve been here at the blog but we’ve had Darcy sitting his final school exams and Madeleine in her final semester of fashion design at uni. It’s been a pretty tense collision course over the past few months, perhaps more for their mother than for them. I’m sure they would beg to differ 😉  But just know that I’ve missed our conversations and as a new chapter opens not just for them, but for us, I’m hoping to be back here more often. Exciting times ahead me thinks. Hope you’ll stick around. Lotsa love.  xx


    Blown about in a sea of wild orange

    As the joggers jog
    And the walkers walk

    We sit quietly by the bridge.

    flowers and bridge

    Blown about in a sea of wild orange.






    orange and pink







    Lazy blurs by the water’s edge.


    Duck streams and left over pinks.


    A weedy riot of river bank colour.


    But just away…

    Just a little away…

    Lies a secret garden where the local wild things are known to flit.


    Little wonder.

    For it is a little bit rare and a little bit special and a big lot loved.


    And they make a damned fine pot of tea.

    For Sunday morning early birds.



    And found.


      ‘Today we go to France!’

      Every day Paolo is up at 5 am checking the weather.

      ‘Today we go to France!’ he declares one morning. ‘The weather in France iz good today.’

      Ok. If we must … we shall go to France.

      Roquebrune Cap Martin

      Just across the Italian border on the French Riviera you can park your car at Cap Martin and there’s a walk that takes you around the point towards Monaco.

      cap-martin-looking east to Menton

      There were signs saying “No swimming off the rocks” but we couldn’t find any that said “No skinny dipping.”

      Ever discreet.

      cap martin walk

      A nice little private bathing pavilion – if you have a spare gazillion.

      cap martin beach shack

      Mansions aplenty on our right all along the path – hidden behind lush, dense gardens – but the rocky coastline, its turquoise nooks and the Bay of Roquebrune with Monaco in the distance was the big drawcard.

      cap martin walk

      looking across to monaco

      cap martin walk

      monaco yacht and swimmers

      Some lunch, an Aussie swim (that is, getting your hair wet and swimming out past the poseurs), a quick train hop back to Cap Martin, a couple of cheap last minute rooms on, a freshen up and a drive into the Provencal hinterland.

      We were hoping to get to St Paul de Vence but the Var River blocked our path and rather than detouring miles to cross it, we found ourselves wandering instead in a little hilltop village called Aspremont.

      aspremont doorway


      Lots of purples. My kind of town.


      Zen had had a long hot day, the most well traveled dog of any I know.

      aspremont and zen

      aspremont village

      A winding run back into Nice where we had possibly the worst meal of the trip.

      ‘This … izz shiiiit.  I’m sorrrry but thizzz … thizzz izz survival food.  Tomorrow we go back to Italy!”

      Ok. If we must … tomorrow we go back to Italy.


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