Trace the history of “La Mela Secca”, wonderful agritourism near Portofino, means to make a journey that takes us back in time, at the turn of the 80s, when a young chef, “Nando” Di Martino, decides to transform in a restaurant his cottage in Santa Margherita Ligure, with view opened over the italian riviera.
But the cottage wasn’t a cottage whichever. “Nando” had bought the house a few years before from the heirs of an old lady that, to a deep knowledge of grasses and traditional healing remedies, joined a typically genoese character, frugal and unwilling to squander the few resources that allowed the survival to the generation that preceded the Italian economic boom.
The fact is that the healer earns the nickname “Mela Secca” (dried apple, in english), which goes to indicate her beautiful house in the equally beautiful and sunny Tre Scalini Street: “I go to ask an advice to Dried Apple”, it is said between neighbors that make use of her magical and thaumaturgic remedies.
So, how to name the restaurant seems obvious. Even when, in the mid-90s , the restaurant moved temporarily in Via San Lorenzo (before returning to its original location in the years ’00) carries with it that curious name. And the same happens also in 2012, when the “Mela Secca” and Nando live their permanent move to the actual residence, the seventeenth-century building called “Tower Saint Joachim”, which is located only a few hundred meters from Via Tre Scalini.
Thanks to the experience of the “and Nando” Di Martino, from old summer residence of nuns, Torre San Gioachino rises in a beautiful farm holiday rich of flowers, by wisely naif elegance, which behind its rustic character hides a wild, ancient, noble beauty, enriched by the seventeenth-century frescoed chapel where a picture of italian painter Giovanni Battista Paggi is shown.
Today, four rooms furnished with deep respect of “genius loci” host tourists from all over the world, while the ancient culinary vocation is continued both in the old refectory restored both in the garden with panoramic view, located among typical terraced gardens and lush olive groves.