Riviera and Scandinavia, an encounter full of surprises

Riviera and Scandinavia, an encounter full of surprises

 The Riviera and the Scandinavian countries are territories thousands of  miles away and they differ in climate, traditions and culture.  You’ll be curious to know that somehow there’s a subtle relationship between these two lands.

Alfred Nobel  is famous for being the discoverer of the dynamite, in his honor are entitled prizes that annually are awarded in Stoccolma to important personalities who distinguish themselves in  many fields.

The Swedish scientist spent the last years of his life  in  San Remo, where he died at the age of 63 on Dec 10 1896.

The most interesting passage of his stay in Riviera is without doubt the beautiful villa with the park situated in Corso Cavallotti  in San Remo, which he called “my nest” and now propriety of the province of Imperia.

Villa Nobel houses the library and a collection of personal items and  heirlooms belonging to the Swedish scientist, made available by the Nobel Foundation of Stockholm.

San Remo and Stockholm have in common the cultural and scientific heritage of Alfred Nobel and every year on Dec 10, date of the assignment of  the prize to him dedicated, the City of Flowers offers to the Swedish capital an important floral tribute.

The floral decorations that adorn the Concert Hall where the Nobel Prizes are awarded come from the Flower Riviera. There’re  carnations, gladioli, gerberas and thousands and thousands of scented flowers that also decorate the Blue Room of the Town Hall where the King and an exclusive group of invitees banquet .

Another personality that had an important bond with San Remo was Evert Taube, a famous Swedish  folk singer-songwriter, who lived at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. Sweden remembers him as one of its national poets and the city of Stockholm erected a statue in his honor.

The Flower Riviera and in particular San Remo were an important source of inspiration  for his lyric vein. A poem of romantic inspiration, “Serenata in Sanremo” (Serenade in San Remo), was dedicated to his future wife, Astri Bergman, whom he met in the City of Flowers in 1920 at Villa Bella Vista.

The second lyrics with a more witty spirit is entitled  “Il Panettiere allegro in Sanremo” (The happy bread baker in San Remo) and it talks about a bread baker that while he kneaded dough sung and entertained happily some madams but the intervention of his wife  puts everyone at their place !

Even the table  expresses the union between the Riviera and the Scandinavia, let’s take for example the stockfish, a typical North European dish that combined with the extra virgin olive oil of the Ligurian Riviera valleys create a great combination!

The stockfish or the stick fish is a special food processing of cod that has it’s origins in the Scandinavian countries, in particular the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago at the north east of  Norway. These islands base their economy and their feeding on this precious food, exporting it all over the world.

Badalucco, a small village of the Argentina Valley, twined with the Lofoten Islands, celebrate over forty years this precious food dedicating to it a great feast at mid September where the stockfish is cooked according to an ancient recipe, called in fact “alla badalucchese”.

Once the stockfish was considered as a poor man’s dish but it was widely used for its excellent proprieties of conservation and the good  protein power.

The legend narrates that the stockfish fed  the population of Balducco during the long raids of the barbarian invasions, hence the celebration of this dish, symbol of the town.

Castelbianco is a village in the near hinterland of Albenga, province of  Savona, formed of four  fractions, Veravo, Vesallo, Oresine and Colletta.

You can easily find many villages like this in Liguria, immersed in olive and fruit trees, a couple of houses, ruins of mills and olive crushers, signs of a living and laborious past.

After the terrible earthquake that on February 1887  struck the Ligurian Ponente the center gradually emptied, in particular the village of Colletta.

Today in theXXI century Colletta di Castelbianco makes people talk for having transformed itself in an eletronic village, a  futuristic center completely dedicated to technology.

The transformation took place thanks to a group of enterprising foreigners, Norwegians, Dutch, in general North Europeans, owners of sixty accommodations purchased and restored in a stylish way but with a wired heart.

The small village  is reborn to new life, we celebrate again the olive oil feast, the harvest and the olive crushing, everyone do their share, in harmony and speaking  all  the same language that has become English.