Cape St. Ampelius and the small Romanesque-style church
A compendium of ten centuries of history enclosed between the waves of the sea and the palm trees that came from Egypt
What it is and where it is
The small church, dating in all probability from the 11th century, was built in a purely Romanesque style, although today it shows clear signs of restoration. It stands like a precious diamond set among the sea rocks near the entrance to the town of Bordighera from the east, on the promontory that is also named after the saint to whom the structure is dedicated: St. Ampelius, a 5th-century hermit monk.
Why it is special
Because of its enchanting beauty and characteristic location against the cliff below, it undoubtedly falls within the scenic wonders of the Riviera di Ponente, along with the entire zone of respect. Let us discover together a curiosity, namely that the promontory known as Capo Sant'Ampelio, on which the church stands, is the southernmost not only in Liguria but in the whole of Northern Italy. And let's not overlook the fact that it is a place much loved by the people of Bordighera, both because it is dedicated to the town's patron saint and because of the quiet and refreshment that can be found in this oasis of peace.
Not to be missed
Saint Ampelio, patron saint of Bordighera, is celebrated on May 14. The pro loco Rinascita Borghettina is particularly attentive to the organization of this event and all that goes with it. In fact, far from just a liturgical rite, on the evening dedicated to the saint, kitchens are set up on the Piazzale del Capo where, to the rhythm of music, some local delicacies can be enjoyed. Not to be missed is the moment when the magnificent fireworks are shot into the air, illuminating the black night and their sparkling colors reflected on the surface of the rippling sea.
A bit of history
Amazing what vicissitudes the church has overcome. How could such an ancient structure , even if only partially preserved in its original state, have made it to the present day? Considering its particular fragility due to its proximity to the sea, wars, earthquakes and the countless barbarian raids that occurred between the 14th and 15th centuries, it seems like a miracle. Archaeologist Nino Lambroglia, in fact, calls the church "a palimpsest of ten centuries of history." In short, a delicate jewel, but strong at the same time, today among the assets protected by the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Liguria.
The life of the monk Ampelius, a hermit born in Egypt, and the vicissitudes of his relics are very fascinating to delve into. But why was it this very humble personage who was chosen as the patron saint of the town of Bordighera? Well, first of all, because he had chosen the Cape as his permanent residence-and once again Bordighera's predisposition to hospitality is manifested-but above all because, according to legend, it was he who planted the first seeds of the plants, brought from Egypt, that were to become the symbol of the city's "Queen of Palms."
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