The lavender hill in the Ligurian Alps
Colle di Nava, also known as Col di Nava, is a pass in the Ligurian Alps that joins the coast of the province of Imperia with Piedmont. Its strategic importance and convenience as a mountain pass have been known since antiquity: in fact, there are numerous testimonies of settlements and struggles to maintain control of the territory over the centuries.
The hill features ruins of religious and military buildings, the oldest dating back to the Middle Ages. The Chapel of St Raphael, of which only the apse remains today, is mentioned in a document from 1586. The five Forts of Nava, fortified buildings placed at strategic points in the area to defend it from enemies, were built at the time of the Savoy Duchy: the Central Fort, Fort Richermo, Fort Pozzanghi, Fort Bellarasco and Fort Montescio.
Typical products of Colle di Nava include honey and especially lavender. This area has a long tradition in the cultivation and distillation of the plant. If you happen to visit on the first Sunday in July, don’t miss the traditional Lavender Festival, during which bunches of the fragrant flowers are distributed to attendees.