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We discover the medieval village of Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena

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Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena is a medieval village included in the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

It is located inland from Savona, from which it is about 50 kilometres away, at an altitude of 1100 metres.

Immersed in a medieval atmosphere, Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena fascinates with its narrow alleys that chase each other up to the castle, which is privately owned and cannot be visited.

Let’s discover together where it is and what to do in the suggestive stone village of Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena.

Where it is located

Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena what to see

Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena is one of the suggestive villages of the western Ligurian hinterland, where time seems to have stopped.

The village is small and can be easily toured in an hour or so, but it can be combined with a visit to another characteristic village in its vicinity, a walk in the greenery or, more simply, a lunch in one of the two excellent restaurants present.

castelvecchio rocca barbena castle

As soon as you arrive in the hamlet, from the panoramic car park, you come to Piazza della Torre, the heart of Castelvecchio, a small square surrounded by small stone houses, hugging each other, and a graceful medieval tower.

To the side of the square is the Oratorio dei Disciplinanti, which houses the fresco of St Mary Magdalene.

The gaze then turns to the ancient stone fountain and the portico, also with stone seats.

It is worth reaching the castle, even if it cannot be visited, to stroll through the narrow, winding alleyways with cobblestone paving, and to browse here and there in the courtyards and renovated houses.

Strolling through the village, under a succession of vaults and arches that hold up the houses to one another, is a very atmospheric experience.

If you are looking for a place to relax, there is a lawn with children’s games in front of the parish churchyard of the Assunta.


The village of Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena is crossed by the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri .

It lies on the Strada del Vino e dell’Olio (Wine and Oil Road) and is included in the main eco-tourist routes in the area.

From the village centre, paths lead to chestnut woods and dense olive groves.

In about an hour and a half’s walk, you can reach the ancient village of Zuccarello, where Ilaria del Carretto was born, via the so-called ‘Sentiero di Ilaria‘.

Ilaria del Carretto was the second of the four wives of Paolo Guinigi, lord of Lucca between 1400 and 1430, with whom she had two children .

She died, unfortunately, during the birth of her second daughter.

In 2007, a bronze statue was placed in her honour at the entrance to the village of Zuccarello.

castelvecchio rocca barbena

Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena restaurants

L’Antico Melo is a restaurant that offers typical Ligurian cuisine with zero-kilometre raw materials.

You can dine inside or on the small panoramic terrace.

The cuisine is authentic and genuine.

The menu is at a fixed price and offers a variety of hot and cold starters (excellent cold meats and cheeses accompanied by jam), a first and second course to choose from two options, house wine and dessert. Recommended!

Antico Melo – Via Campo, 12 Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena SV.

The village of the Bastian Contrari

It is precisely in Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena that the famous saying is thought to have originated.

During one of the endless disputes between the Piedmontese and the Republic of Genoa, in fact, the well-known Savoy brigand Sebastiano ‘Bastian’ Contrario was commissioned in 1672 by Duke Charles Emmanuel of Savoy to conduct raids in the border areas with the Republic of Genoa.

Bastian Contrario did not bother to keep to the pacts and decided to attack the Piedmontese wayfarers as well.

The end of the story is not known in detail, but the term Bastian Contrario has become a common national saying today.

Where to sleep in Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena

La Libellula Rossa is a bed&breakfast located a few minutes’ drive from Castelvecchio.

The location is very quiet, with a beautiful garden where breakfast is served in fine weather. Parking included – book here.

Do you need travel insurance? As a reader of BimbeinViaggio, you are entitled to a 5% discount.

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Read on:

1. Alassio on the Riviera di Ponente

2. Village of Borgio Verezzi

3. Village of Colletta di Castelbianco

4. Cervo, in the Rivera di Ponente

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