Fanghetto is a small rustic picturesque thousand-year-old Italian stone village, perched on the side of a mountain just 15 minutes above the Riviera and 45 minutes from the Nice Airport. Built like a Pueblo honeycomb over the ages, Fanghetto beckons you to explore her charming Piazza and Church, and her two cobbled footpath 'streets' just above the parking lot. With her tiny square (a summer concert is held there), curving arches and stairways, an ancient bread oven and a huge stone olive press, the village gives you a magical glimpse into Roman and medieval times even as you luxuriate in your own private intimate 'Villa' with modern amenities and comfort.
Near the French-Italian border, everyone speaks Italian and French, and a few, English. In summer the population swells form 10 villagers to over 100 people, many from Holland, Belgium and France, a few from the US, and some in the arts. It is not unusual to hear a violin or an aria nearby.
Our intimate 'villa' is reached by climbing the Via Corridoio stairs past the church, turning right down the mysterious Via Oscura, up some steep angular stairs to our tiny entrance courtyard.
Take the path from your Villa down to the Roya River to a small sand and pebble beach, providing a cool dip and sunbathing. If your supplies run low or you want the best Cappuccino around, walk 15 minutes down to Marisa's (where you turned off of the highway up to Fanghetto). Walking and hiking trails abound. A Roman footpath runs right outside your door on the Via Corridoio, leading up and down the valley, connecting with a wonderful labyrinth of well-marked and maintained hiking trials throughout the mountains.
The living room of your cozy 'Villa', with its fireplace (nice in the late spring and early fall) offers a view of the church, and room for reading, conversation and rest, or listening to music from the CD collection. The convertible couch provides a spot for a fifth person or kids to sleep (for safety reasons on the upper terrace children should be 7 or 8). Just a few steps away from your table is a separate, fully equipped kitchen. On Sundays you can look down on the priest greeting his small flock. Just a step above the kitchen are a bathroom and bedroom, with a small alcove table for writing and looking out over a great mountain view. Our sometimes finicky internet connection is best from there.
A stairway up from the living room leads to a spacious roof terrace, with a charcoal grill, chairs and cocktail table, a larger table with umbrella for al fresco dining, and lounge chairs for sunning and naps. As you look out over the beautiful Roya valley and mountains, you will be amazed by the extensive centuries-old terracing by monks and peasants for growing olive trees.
Spectacular views up or down the Roya valley await you, as do the soothing sounds of the river from below. Soon the swallows come out, and then the stars—a perfect setting for good food and wine, great conversations, star-gazing (no pollution) and unforgettable memories.
But your biggest surprise still awaits you. Step through the archway under the stairs, down into a stunning master bedroom, with its luxurious queen sized bed, spacious armoire and large bureau; enjoy a relaxing 'rain' shower in the large second bathroom. There is also a separate toilet, and hidden washing machine. This bedroom is a place for deep sleep and wonderful dreams. One of the pleasures of this room is looking up at the white barrel-vaulted ceiling with all its amazing curves and niches. The walls are three feet thick keeping you cool in summer, and warm in spring or fall (helped by an electric heater if need be).
Fanghetto is just 20 minutes from Ventimiglia and the Riviera di Fiori, with her fabulous market every day except Sunday, her terrific restaurants, and great beaches with restaurants and lounge chairs. Or, just 30 minutes from Menton and the French Riviera--the Cote d'Azur, with her amazing restaurants, beaches with restaurants and lounge chairs. Monte Carlo beckons just 45 minutes away, and Nice an hour.Get the full listing »