Rapallo, Chiavari and Sestri Levante: three destinations to discover in winter
The seaside promenade, the historical center and the hills surrounding them, that offer the possibility to hike. This is what Rapallo, Chiavari and Sestri Levante have in common, three destination of the East side Riviera, located in Genoa’s territory. They are wonderful to discover during winter time.
Rapallo in enclosed between the green Promontory of Portofino and some rocky cliffs, that signed the border with the town of Zoagli, in the middle of the Tigullio’s Gulf.
Your attention will be driven immediately to the majestic seaside promenade Vittorio Veneto. You will walk escorted by the sound of the waves. The trees and plants around frame it like an old post card. In this scenery there are also the dehors of the bars located on the road. In the background of the promenade there is the town. It is possible to enter the center passing through a series of doors that link the seafront with the carruggi (narrow streets): in the past they were at least five, right now the only survivor seems to be Porta delle Saline, once was facing the saline (salt mines) of the town. In town you can admire the medieval origin of its architecture, from the main street branch off several smaller roads where social life of the town take place. Here you will find typical restaurants, stores and boutiques where you can spend your free time.
It worth the visit the Park of Villa Tigullio a green lung that guests the Town International Library, where the reading rooms as well as the studio have a sea view. Inside the garden there is an amusement park for kids, so that they can enjoy the visit too.
After the promenade we suggest you to look around and explore the surroundings as there is much more to discover. Just behind the city up to the hill raises the Sanctuary of Montallegro, which is destination for many pilgrims from all over Italy. What make this so special is the trail that you have to follow in order to get there: it is possible to reach it also by funicular railway where you can enjoy a breathtaking landscape over the entire Gulf. If you reach over the hills that surrounds it, Rapallo can still offer you walking trails that are another option to reach different destinations. Some of the many can take you from Montallegro’s or from of Caravaggio’ Sanctuary to Ruta di Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, or you can reach even the town of Chiavari.
It is settled between the city of Rapallo and Sestri Levante. Chiavari offers you another beautiful seaside promenade, much bigger than the one of Rapallo that escort all the beachside of the city. For its inhabitants is a true benediction to be able to escape the city and by just making a few steps they can cool themselves reaching the sea.
If you leave the seaside you can visit the historical center and discover its beauty.Starting from its colonnade: almost every old palace are characterized from arch that covered the space for the pedestrians, shelter from the sun in summer and from the rain in autumn. Walking around the city under the vaults will be much more charming, and much tastier with a slice of focaccia in your hand.
The historical center is also well known for its restaurants, old trattorie and osterie, where to stop by and rediscover ancient and simple recipes always delicious: minestrone (vegetable soup with pesto), frisceu, trofie al pesto, cima alla genovese.
The palaces are majestic and built in different centuries. One of the most interesting is the Cathedral of Nostra Signora dell’Orto considered one of the most beautiful sanctuary of Tigullio, while among the civic buildings there is Palazzo Bianco built in the XX century in neoclassic style, today used as City Hall.
Watch out for the artisans’ and carpenters’ shops. This city of the East side is famous for a particular tradition: La Chiavarina, a very light wooden chair created in 1807 from the carpenter Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi, which is well-known all over the world. So why not to buy an original piece of antiques for your home? Moreover every Saturday of the month it takes place the Antiques Market. Obviously it will be possible to go shopping: the right place is Carrugio Dritto.
The true emblem of the city however is the Castle, one of the few remaining from the Middle Age. It raises from the hill, with the defensive walls still strong all around. You can reach it through a staircase that goes along the walls. From 1993 it passed to a private property. From the castle it starts the trail of the Five Towers: from Chiavari you can reach the inland, here you will come across the union of the valleys of Fontanabuona, Sturla and Graveglia.
This promontory is enclosed between the famous beaches of Baia del Silenzio and Baia delle Favole, the main attractions of the city, where a promenade becomes almost magical.
This city, almost at the end of the Genoa’s area it is considered an important place for art and culture. To Hans Christian Andersen, its illustrious guest and assayer of the XIX century, it is dedicate the homonymous Literature Prize and this is why one of the two bays is named “delle favole” (fairy tales). It is important in this context to name the Torre dei Doganieri, that some centuries ago was the border between seaside and the city. It is now a space for contemporary art expositions and it is also the studio of the artist Alfredo Gioventù, that realizes pottery pieces connected to the territory, taking inspiration from the typical grey and white striped stones of the region that you can find everywhere on the local beaches.
The City center is full of history and historic locals and restaurants, but also modern for shopping. There is also an ice-cream shop that sells only biological products. Sestri Levante was founded in Ancient Rome period so it is possible to find monuments and buildings from all the historical periods: The Cloister of Capuccini, the Middle Ages’ Church of San Nicolò dell’Isola, the Palace of Portobello. The Cloister overlooks the city and both the bays, a wonderful place for sightseeing. Right on the opposite side rises the San Nicolò’s Church with its majestic bell tower.
From Sestri Levante starts the beautiful path that leads to the Punta Manara Promontory. Its starts from a caruggio (narrow street) that is right in front of the historical patisserie shop. Soon you will be right above the roofs of the town, if the day is particularly clear the panorama extends itself to the Alpes Marittime on the west, and the isle Corsica on south. After one hour walking you will reach a plain and some ancient watchtower ruins. From here on the left, over the promontory, you will see the beach of Riva Trigoso and the coast up to Levanto and the Cinque Terre.