Claudio, our tour director, in his Sanremo port presentation (remember him from the “Brown Shoes” story), said the old city, “la pigna,” was a delightful area for photography with archways and tunnels. He mentioned something about reaching the pinecone on the hill.  But once we heard the word “photography”, the rest of the briefing faded away. We were bated. We couldn’t wait to explore.

We were off the boat as soon as it docked, cameras in hand. Claudio said we couldn’t miss it – “just head up the hill”. This was my kind of outing. And not to worry about getting lost, all we had to do was go downhill to get bak. Simple enough.

Into the heart of the old city

So we headed upward looking to shoot the pinecone and everything else in between.  Tall buildings lined the streets and bridged over the narrow alleyways. Walking into the dark tunnels was like walking back in time. Rough cobblestone streets led into quiet alleyways and small courtyards, but where was the pinecone? 

We continued exploring upward, discovering old doors, archways and curving tunnels as our subjects. Was there really a pinecone?

We went up and we went down.  It would be easy to get lost in the winding, covered streets, if it weren’t for the hill.

A window out to the new city

Could we have another option besides up or down?

Very quiet streets

Still no pinecone.  Should I ask one of the locals out on an errand? Would I look silly for asking?

Just the locals are about. Should I holler out to her?

Did Jeff find the pinecone? 

Aha, there really is a pine cone. I see it and Jeff doesn’t, I win!

If only we had paid closer attention to Claudio, we would have realized that Old Sanremo is known as “la pigna” the Italian word for “pinecone’.   It is referred to as the pinecone because the old streets, fortified walls, and buildings, curl around the hillside like the scales of a pinecone. The pinecone that I did find (see photo) is on the wall that bridges between the old and new city – indicating the outer wall of “la pigna”.

It’s all about the light and enjoying the architecture of la pigna.