Discovering Sassello and Tiglieto

Take the motorway towards Albissola and at the exit follow the signs for Sassello, a small village on the border between Liguria and Piedmont that is part of the Beigua Regional Natural Park.

Along the way, you pass through Stella San Giovanni: the birthplace of the Italian Republic past President Pertini, where you can visit his house-museum. Sassello was the first municipality in Liguria to receive the Orange Flag, a tourist-environmental quality certification for inland villages. Sassello is a small village on a human scale, quiet and welcoming with many pastel-coloured houses typical of the Ligurian Riviera, aristocratic palaces and numerous churches and chapels that tell and preserve evidence of the village’s history.

Sassello is above all sweetness! In fact, it was here that the tradition of the famous soft amaretti biscuits was born over two centuries ago: small delicacies made from almonds, armelline (apricot kernels), sugar and egg whites. Virginia amaretti biscuits are famous not only for their myriad flavours, including fig and walnut, cocoa, lemon, pistachio, myrtle, coffee, grappa, sour cherry and so on, but also for their fantastic Art Nouveau decorated tin boxes. These hold the small sweets wrapped in typical multicoloured papers. The ideal dessert for everyone… even people suffering from celiac disease!

But why did the tradition of the soft amaretti biscuits originate right here in Sassello? Apparently, in the past there were many almond trees here, which were used by housewives to make cakes. Then in 1860, Mrs Geltrude Rossi, who ran an inn with a trattoria in the centre of Sassello, started making amaretti biscuits, small sweets that she served at the end of the meal to her guests and kept in a glass jar. Subsequently, among the many evolutions, the single sealed package made it possible to increase the shelf life of Sassello amaretti biscuits.

Continuing our journey, we discover another municipality that is part of the Beigua Regional Natural Park: Tiglieto. To reach it, you have to drive along a long and winding provincial road that leads from Sassello to Tiglieto, passing through beautiful centuries-old woods with marvellous late-autumn colours.

Here one breathes peace and serenity and in the silence you can admire the splendid Romanesque Badia. Beautiful, both outside and inside, solitary amidst vast green meadows, truly suitable for accommodating contemplative monks. Two roads can be taken to reach the Badia: one from Genoa via Masone and Campoligure; the other from Savona via Sassello and Urbe. If you have never visited it, do so, this oasis of peace will amaze you!