Despite only having one vaccine dose so far, our itchy feet and loosening Covid restrictions got the better of us two weeks ago. We booked a short week (5 nights) in a beautiful, newly-renovated apartment on the Italian Riviera, piled the three of us plus our French bulldog in the car, and took off for Imperia, an 8-hour drive from our Abruzzo mountain home. Imperia is a beach town, very close to the border with France. It’s well past Cinque Terre (another 4 hours) and in the heart of the traditional Italian ‘summer at the seaside’ beach club culture.
Background on Covid precautions: Italy had just announced that all regions were in white zones when we booked. This meant all capacity and opening restrictions were removed, but masks and social distancing were still required both indoors and outdoors. (Right after our visit, masks outdoors were no longer required.) We confirmed with the apartment owners that they were still following the rules. The apartment itself is spacious, with a garden, and only the owners lived in the building. We chose to drive instead of taking the train as we didn’t want to be in confined spaces with others for 8 hours. My husband and I had one dose of Astra Zeneca in early May, our daughter was not yet eligible for her first vaccine dose (had it upon our return.)
I can’t say Liguria was ever on my top-ten list, but the desire to go someplace new and meet new people became irresistible after nine months close to home. I chose this particular place due to a loose “internet friendship.” The building owner writes a “living in Italy” blog that I’ve followed and appreciated since I first concocted our own “let’s-move-to-Italy” scheme. He and his spouse moved to Imperia during the pandemic and are starting up a small vacation rental business. The location and renovations looked spectacular, and I’ve long wanted to meet him, so I jumped on the booking as soon as it was listed. (If interested, ItalyWise is his excellent blog and ImperiaEscapes is their beautiful listing website)
The drive up on a Saturday was pleasantly uneventful. Traffic was light, construction was stopped for the weekend, weather was slightly overcast but dry. A perfect road trip day. We made it in 8 hours sharp, even with going around Florence and then Genoa. I (the only driver) developed a bad case of just-get-there-itis, and we only made one stop for gas and toilets. Our dog either slept or was very calm the whole way. She had a case of the zoomies once we got there, but fortunately the place had a big garden for her to run it off.
The apartment was even more beautiful and comfortable than I expected. It is very spacious. The two bedrooms are large, the two new bathrooms are so clean and functional, the two roomy built-in showers with rain shower heads are pure luxury. The big eat-in kitchen had everything we needed to cook or just hang out. There were coffee and breakfast supplies laid in. The original cement tiles are beautiful and the balcony with sea view drew us outside at all times of day. The large living room had another big window facing the sea, a big TV, books, board games and cards. They gave us full access to their gorgeous backyard too. It was so comfortable that we often dragged our heels leaving for outdoor adventures. One of the key reasons I prefer vacationing in apartments is the space to spread out, so that you don’t have to be on the go all day. This one had space, beautiful design and comfort.
The location is also very special. The big house is in a residential neighbourhood full of Liberty villas but only a short walk to and from the harbour. Simone and Jed made sure we knew how to get downtown and some of the best spots to eat, and even made reservations for us. They also shared tips for fun out-of-town excursions.