A fascinating tour around Imperia allows you to experience the most authentic Ligurian hinterland. Going up the narrow Argentina Valley, Badalucco is an ancient small medieval village made up of carruggi, workshops and typical stone houses. Murals and ceramic decorations, and the 16th-century Ponte di Santa Lucia make this village an open-air art gallery. Neolithic and Bronze Age finds have been unearthed in Tana Bernard, on the slopes of nearby Mount Faudo. A path through the woods of the Oxentina valley links it to Marsaglia Park, home to the aqueduct of the same name, built in the 19th century to quench the thirst of San Remo.
An hour and a half's drive away is Pieve di Teco, in the upper Arroscia Valley, founded by the marquises of Clavesana in 1232. Its origins date back to Teichos, the Celtic divinity from whom the mountain that embraces it takes its name, at the foot of which stood a small parish church, to govern the souls of the valley. It retains a 15th-century urban structure. Under the arcades of the main street there are numerous shops and the portals of the ancient palaces in sculpted slate. Visit the Salvini Theatre, which with its ninety seats is perhaps the smallest in the world, and the Territory Museum, which displays the "Ubaga masks", contemporary works linked to popular traditions.
The tour can be concluded after about an hour's drive along state road 28 through the eight hamlets of Dolcedo, perched on the characteristic olive groves of the Prino Valley, dating back to the late Middle Ages. The parish church is dedicated to St Thomas and its frequent renovations and extensions have resulted in a mixture of Romanesque and Baroque styles. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Acquasanta overlooks the green Lècchiore, the alleys of the village, the palaces with high open loggias and the cobbled bridges. The village of Piazza, divided in two by the river Prino, is still connected by the bridge built in 1292 by the Knights of Malta.