Apricale a hidden Ligurian village and its legend of the Boia

Lucia Gaggero | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Apricale is one of my favourite small villages near my home town. You can think that all those Riviera di Ponente little towns look like each others, which is in part true, however when you live here around for a while, you have the time to look them with more attention, listen to their stories, meet the people, so even if the architecture is basically the same and all those “carrugi” (narrow typical roads of Liguria) look similar ones to each other, you’ll notice that actually they are completely different places.

I discovered Apricale when I was around 12 years old I remember coming here with my mother during the month of August. Summer is the period of time when all the villages in the backcountry are more alive compared to the other seasons. There are parties, local festivities and one in particular that happens only here in Apricale is the “Teatro della Tosse”. I think is the most awesome event of all summer in Liguria Ponente. The Teatro della tosse it’s a theatre company from Genoa, and every year they organise a show here in Apricale. What’s extraordinary in it? It’s the way it’s done, it’s just magical. The play is not performed only on one scene, but the actors are spread all over the village and the entire village become the scene. Spectators start from the main place, and walk through the village’s carrugi (means narrow streets in Ligurian dialect) and are stopped by the performers where sometimes the public is asked to participate. Finally the people walk to the main place again where the play will end.

Themes are always connected to some fantastic stories, or characters, which is quite normal as all Ligurian villages have their mysterious stories and legends. For example here in Apricale there are stories told about the Boia house and its ghosts.

The Boia was the executioner of the castle of Apricale. It is told that the ghosts of the people killed by the Boia are still present in his house, and that frequently you can hear voices, noises, or at least weird presences when you pass or visit it. Miss Pizzo Emilia, an old woman of 90 years old who still lives in Apricale told me that one day she was walking up the street and when she arrived at the boia’s house she heard someone calling her name and she saw the door of the house opening. She looked inside but there was no one, so she went out of that cold house and continued walking to her home.

Even some experts in paranormal activities had been called to visit the Boia home and they have measured some strong supernatural energies or activities in there. Lately the mayor of Apricale renovated the Boia's house, so that tourist now can visit it, all the people that worked in it told that there were always weird phenomenons happening like disappearing and reappearing objects, noises, voices etc. they were happy when the works ended and would go back working there. Believe it or not, would you like to spend a night there? If your answer is yes, I have a good news, I mean you can not sleep in the Boia's house however you have in Apricale the first diffused hotel, Munta e Cara, which means in Ligurian dialect (climb and climb down), it’s a really nice hotel were the really cute bedrooms are spread all around the village in different houses, and one is just in a little house in front of the Boia’s house.

So if you are courageous enough you can spend a night there and maybe you’ll see some ghosts, or just their head appearing on the balcony where it was used to expose them back in the Middle Ages. However , even if you do not meet any ghosts, it’s really worth to spend a night here, you’ll be plunged back in the old times of a Ligurian village while enjoying good food and hospitality.

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