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Article published in Superwheels and in Torque Triumph magazine in 2006.

The western coastal area of ​​Libya, the one close to Tunisia, is the most easily accessible by private vehicle, very close to the capital Tripoli, with numerous archaeological attractions from the Roman era and some spectacular Berber fortifications over a truly extraordinary sea. An easy, suggestive itinerary, suitable for everyone.

Read the story published in the Super Wheels magazine.

Read the story published in the Torque Triumph magazine.

Libya is a great, beautiful country, period. Seven years after my first experience in Libya, several things have changed but one has remained absolutely the same: the hospitality, friendliness and affability of the people.

All that you could hear from pseudo connoisseurs or cassandras of the breakdown of relations with the Arab and Muslim world, are just chatter.

I notice it almost immediately once I cross the border. Big greetings, curious questions, flashing of the vehicles I pass. A really embarrassing desire to relate. I decide to attack the Jebel area first, with Nalut and its splendid fortified granary, but also with the shortage of accommodation that in 99 brought me to the worst hotel of the whole trip. The most chilling phrase read on his time guide was a cinematic “don't open that door”, referring to the unspeakable quality of the toilets. Even the new EDT (so to speak, it is 4 years old!) Does not skimp on criticism, so I decide to remove this tooth.

A new road climbs back to the top of the rocky spur from which the Qsar dominates the valley, but the hotel structure (in an exceptional position, at least that!) Seems to me to be regenerated. I enter, I ask, my sixth sense leads me to accept the 45 dinars, which compared to the previous experience seem to me a blunder and… .. the miracle. A spotlessly clean room with private bathroom. They renovated the building which now has the characteristics of good North African accommodation. The view is always the same and the sunset is as I remembered it: the walls of the barn begin to change color until they become orange.

7 years to be in the same spot and take the same photos !!!

Will you notice the difference between analog and digital?

The Jebel Nafusa "western mountains" is a mountain range that extends from west to east, from southern Tunisian to Al Qusbat, near Al-Khoms, but the most interesting area is that between Nalut and Gharyan.

The road system of this area, observed on a map, resembles a ladder placed horizontally whose rungs, oriented from north to south, connect 2 main streets that run from east to west.

The pegs, to keep keeping the same jargon, are quite spectacular. I have traveled 3, my Michelin map shows 6, but maybe there are more.

The Qsar are a cross between real fortresses and agricultural deposits, therefore of very significant importance in the past. The 3 structures visited (Nalut, Kabao and Al-Haj) are, in terms of structure, type of construction and also location, very different from each other. Having time available, it is worth taking a look at all of them, calculating that the entrance fee with a camera is 2 dinars. Having to choose, I would prefer Kabao's "hive", without detracting from the others. Perhaps the difference lies in the road, which to reach it literally climbs from the plain to the Jebel offering a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape or even the sympathy of Ebrahim, who accompanied by his daughter Jaisia, absolutely free of charge, led me to visit a part of the fortress and of the small museum, very interesting among other things, just outside the ruins.

The approach to the coast can be interrupted at Gharyan which, being on the top of a plateau, is also spared from the scorching heat that already afflicts the coastal plain below in late spring. Renowned center for the production of ceramic products owes its fame to the underground Berber houses. Of very singular structure they vaguely recall the houses of Matmata in Tunisia even if these are single buildings. The advantages were multiple: they constituted a refuge against freezing winters, very hot summers and invading armies. They are in fact visible a few tens of meters away. Here too, as in other areas of the country, you see Ghadames and Ghat have been abandoned by the owners who have moved to more modern homes, in the building renovation project desired by the government in the 70s / 80s.

But now is the time to immerse yourself in the culture.

The itinerary exits on the coast where the mountain range ends at Al-Khoms and here, very close are the ruins of Leptis Magna.

I enter the city and I immediately realize that the indications on the map of the guide to find this residence on the beach less than 2km from the ruins are wrong. I ask and they tell me that the crossbar is slightly ahead but the structure exists. The second attempt is also unsuccessful and I have to stop and ask for the third time. This time the help is more massive, even the 2 boys call a friend who speaks English but does not know the hotel on their mobile phones. A third person also stopped in the car who in turn called another friend of his: same result! In the end I will be escorted to my destination by 2 cars !!

Labdah for the locals (pronounced Lùbda), is considered the most beautiful Roman site in the Mediterranean: I think it manages to impress even those who do not define themselves as a lover of ruins, add the fact that it is located on the sea, and that, in the hottest hours of the day, it is possible to interrupt the visit to immerse yourself and cool off in a crystalline sea, the result will be nothing short of spectacular!

The rest day is necessary, but really well spent.

The visit can only be carried out with the presence of a guide, but this is absolutely of little importance.

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