Apricale is a picturesque small village to the north-east of Dolceacqua in western Liguria and surrounded by forested hills, included on the list of the 'most beautiful villages in Italy'.
Just one of several attractive hill villages in this region, Apricale is compact and easy to explore. Most of the sights of interest are on or very close to the square in the centre of the village, although of course you will also want to follow the main street along the ridge to enjoy more views and to appreciate the medieval character of Apricale.
These highlights include a medieval castle and two small churches.
The castle next to the square towards the top of the village dates from the 12th century and you can still see two towers and parts of the walls. The two churches also both contain interesting historical artefacts such as a medieval mosaic in the Church of the Purification of the Virgin Mary* and the 16th century altarpiece in the Oratory of Saint Bartholomew.
* The Church of the Purification of the Virgin Mary is actually quite ancient in origins but was rebuilt in the 18th century in the baroque style and then the facade was rebuilt in the romanesque style in the 1930's.
As well as the main square it is also the tiny alleyways, arched passageways and ancient houses and staircases that give Apricale its unique charm so allow time to explore the most obscure corners of the village!
The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Saint Mary of the Angels) below the main part of Apricale village is one of the most interesting here because of the 15th century frescoes that cover a large area of the walls and ceiling.
Although it is small, you will also find all basic facilities in the village centre including cafes, bars and shops as well as several small art galleries and studios. The focus in the shops and restaurants is on using and selling high quality local produce.
You can also visit a small civic museum to learn more about the history of Apricale and western Liguria.
The surrounding countryside is very popular with hikers and cyclists, and there are various river beaches within easy reach. Another hill village very close to Apricale that you will want to visit as part of the same trip is Dolceacqua.
Slightly further afield the Italian Riviera is easy to get to, with the coast around Ventimiglia the most accessible from here.