Ospedaletti – a soul divided in two

Ospedaletti – a soul divided in two

I only pass trough Ospedaletti when I’m early and instead of the motorway, I allow myself the risk of taking Via Aurelia with all it’s setbacks, traffic and hold ups, that you can well imagine if you consider it’s our only main road. No wander then, that this town to me is nothing more than a cluster of elegant buildings and villas. A welcoming placard as you enter, and a farewell one as you leave it, many choreographic palm trees and the sea, just visible in the distance down below.

Below, under, into town.
Well yes, because above is a nice window, hotels, some bar and the panoramic promenade. The town (the real one) is below at sea level.

Today, since I have time, I decide to get out of the car and visit it. I park in the area where sooner of later they will complete the stretch of cycling path from Ospedaletti to San Remo. Here the first thing that strike me are the houses, in old Ligurian style, simple and for this pretty, then the beach, the Ligurian stone beach style, like in my childhood memories, when from Lombardy we would come to Liguria for our August holidays (rubber ring and rubber dingy strictly had to be new).

It’s not big, in fact it’s so small that I meet the same couple from Milan, in search of an ATM, four times:
I’m sorry I’m not from here, try on the main street” I suggest as the good and expert local I am.
“But this is the main road!” they answer as the good tourist from Milan they are.
Oh well, the main street is not imposing, but it’s nice with it’s glimpse of the sea and its typical houses.

A tiny winy house and the barrack, that reading I discover to be a defensive tower (another one defined for signalling, exists too). Completed in 1579, sufficient to keep the artilleries and two guards. I imagine that today it no longer defends anything, but I like to gaze fondly at platoons of tameless locals united against hordes of randy tourists during the fierily week of ferragosto…

I stop at a bar for ten minutes and have a drink, then I go back to the car. The road that brings me back to the Ospedaletti I know entwines into town, so as I ascend, I find again the elegant buildings and villas, choreographic palm trees frame a perfect postcard. As I wait for the green lights, I glance at a bench, from there you can see the sea, down there below.
Sure, sometimes it’s nice to look from above, just to not risk loosing one’s heart.
But you can’t compare it with the satisfaction of picking coloured stones from the beach, when all around you, for a timeless moment, all that exist is the sound of your breath tingled with the clangour of the sea…

Ospedaletti – a soul divided in twoOspedaletti – Liguria – Italy

writing and photography by paola faravelli
translated and adapted by daniela menzano

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