Explore fourteen fabulous towns in the Riviera di Levante
Liguria is a crescent-shaped region in northwest Italy. Its Mediterranean coastline is known as the Italian Riviera. The 5 colourful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre, as well as stylish Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure, are on the eastern coast or Riviera di Levante (Coast of the Rising Sun). The western coast, the Riviera di Ponente (Coast of the Setting Sun), is home to Sanremo, a vintage resort with a turn-of-the-century casino and a flower-filled promenade. In the second blog we explore the La Spezia Province on the Riviera di Levante from Deiva Marina in the west to San Terenzo in the east:
1. DEIVA MARINA
Continue your exploration of the Riviera di Levante from the quiet tourist resort of Deiva Marina, located about 65 kilometres east of the city of Genoa. The seashore is surrounded by green mountains and it is renowned for fishing all year long.
The small town of Bonassola is wedged between mountains and sea near Levanto and the Cinque Terre. While many travellers know the five famous towns of the Cinque Terre, Bonassola, just a few miles further north, offers a much mellower vacation alternative.
Levanto is a famous seaside resort 80 km east of Genoa and the perfect starting-point for visiting the Cinque Terre. From Levanto you can explore the five villages by train in 10 minutes, by boat or by hiking guided trails. The town has a long sandy beach, shops and good restaurants. It is surrounded by pine forests, olive groves, vineyards and small medieval villages.
4. MONTEROSSO AL MARE
Monterosso is the largest of the five coastal villages known as the Cinque Terre. The village is located on hills cultivated with lemons, vines and olives. Its beach is the only extensive sand beach in the Cinque Terre and it is divided in the old town and the new town, Fegina.
The small fishing village Vernazza is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Colourful houses surround its small marina. The Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church has a bell tower topped by an elegant cupola. Clinging to the rocks, Doria Castle is a medieval defensive structure with a cylindrical tower and the Belforte bastion is just below it. The first records recognizing Vernazza as a fortified town date to 1080 and its name is derived from the Latin adjective verna, meaning "native".
Corniglia is a frazione within the comune of Vernazza with a population of about 150. Unlike the other localities of the Cinque Terre, Corniglia is not directly adjacent to the sea and built on a cliff 100 metres above sea level. It is connected to the other villages of the Cinque Terre by well kept footpaths and a train connection.
Manarola is a small town, a frazione of the comune of Riomaggiore, and it is the second-smallest of the famous Cinque Terre towns with a population of 353. Manarola's primary industries have traditionally been fishing and wine-making. The local wine, called Sciacchetrà, is especially renowned. Manarola is connected to Riomaggiore by the famous Via dell’Amore (Lovers’ Lane), a footpath carved into the rocks above the sea.
Riomaggiore is a village and comune in the province of La Spezia, situated in a small valley. It is the first of the Cinque Terre one meets when travelling north from La Spezia. The village, dating from the early thirteenth century, is known for its historic character and its wine. Riomaggiore’s main street is Via Colombo, where numerous restaurants, bars, and shops can be found.
9. PORTO VENERE
Porto Venere comprises the three villages of Fezzano, Le Grazie and Porto Venere, and the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. In 1997 Porto Venere and the villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The ancient Portus Veneris is believed to date back to at least the middle of the 1st century BC. It has been said that the name refers to a temple to the goddess Venus which was sited on the promontory where the church of Peter the Apostle now stands. The name has also been linked to that of the hermit Saint Venerius. In Roman times the city was essentially a fishing community.
10. LE GRAZIE
Le Grazie is a pretty seaside town nestled amid dense olive groves in an enchanting natural inlet between La Spezia and Portovenere in the Gulf of La Spezia and well worth a visit.
Marola is the second inhabited centre on the road that leads from the capital of La Spezia to Portovenere. The road was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte in order to join a series of military batteries in that stretch of coast of the Gulf of La Spezia.
12. LA SPEZIA
La Spezia is the second largest city in the Liguria region, after Genoa. Located roughly midway between Genoa and Pisa, on the Ligurian Sea, it is one of the main Italian military and commercial harbours and a major Italian Navy base. A popular seaside resort, it is also a significant railway junction, and is notable for its museums, for the Palio del Golfo rowing race, and for railway and boat links with the Cinque Terre.
Lerici sits at the southeastern edge of the Bay of La Spezia, also known as Golfo dei Poeti (Gulf of Poets). Famous poets who spent time there include Byron, Mary and Percy Shelly, DH Lawrence. It is famous for its natural beauty and this picturesque village dates back to medieval times when, under the rule of Pisa, it fought cross-bay battles with the Genovese town of Portovenere, as well as with local pirates.
14. SAN TERENZO
San Terenzo is a town and comune in the province of La Spezia and is situated on the coast of the Gulf of La Spezia, 8 kilometres southeast of La Spezia. It is known as the place where the poet Percy Shelley drowned.
WHAT TO EAT IN LIGURIA: FRESH SEAFOOD
The region of Liguria boasts some of the best food in Italy. Because Liguria is on the coast, seafood and fish are a big part of the diet here, and many of the region’s famous foods and recipes were first invented, or eaten, on ships or by fishermen.
WHEN TO GO: The coast is packed in July and August; if you can, visit in spring or autumn, when the towns are quieter. Even from November to March, the Italian Riviera usually has a mild climate: temperatures rarely goes under 10 degrees and there are many sunny days.
HOW TO GET AROUND: Rent a car and explore every stunning village of the Riviera di Levante on your travelwishlist!
SLEEP AT AFFITTACAMERE LA CALATA (PORTO VENERE)
Affittacamere La Calata is located in the heart of the ancient village of Porto Venere a few steps from the sea, consisting of three rooms with a view furnished with details and colors that reflect the sea of the Ligurian coast.
SLEEP AT AFFITTACAMERE LA TORTUGA (PORTO VENERE)
The guesthouse is on the coast, near to beaches and local lido facilities ("Spiaggia di Portovenere", "Bagno Arenella"...) in an area of great history, architecture and culture, in a quiet, panoramic setting, in the old city centre. "Affittacamere La Tortuga" has an elegant design with attention to detail, a residence with unique, original style.
SLEEP AT AMANDOLEVANTO (LEVANTO)
Liguria is an amazing place, and Levanto is its “jewel”, a town where people are still attached to their traditions, where life moves slowly in peace and quiet, but where anything is possible. Amandolevanto B&B will help you live the total experience by providing you with all of the necessary information to fully enjoy this area. Most importantly, they offer a level of accommodation and hospitality that has been designed to give you the relaxation you need in order to start your days perfectly.
SLEEP AT CAMRE OBLÒ (PORTO VENERE)
Camre Oblò are in the heart of the Ligurian village of Porto Venere. It is made up of three independent rooms with private bathrooms.
SLEEP AT CINQUE TERRE D'AMARE (RIOMAGGIORE)
Cinque Terre d'Amare is a large apartment located in the upper area of the town of Riomaggiore. Its location (near the Castle and the small and romantic church of San Rocco) allows it to enjoy great tranquility and spectacular views.
SLEEP AT DAA MADUNETA (CORNIGLIA)
Daa Maduneta is situated in Corniglia, in the heart of the UNESCO Cinque Terre National Park. The rooms at Daa Maduneta, overlooking the sea of Corniglia, guarantee a pleasant stay in Cinque Terre: the thoughtful and kind welcome, the breathtaking landscape and the strategic position just 5 minutes walk from the station, make it the perfect place to regenerate and set out to discover the surroundings that have fascinated writers and poets of all time.
SLEEP AT LA CASA DEI TRENI (LA SPEZIA)
La Casa dei Treni is just a few meters from the entrance of the central station of La Spezia, which allows you to move to visit the 5 Cinque Terre in just a few minutes.
SLEEP AT LA VIGNANA (LEVANTO)
A completely renovated BnB in an enchanted place. With a splendid view overlooking the Levanto valley and the sea, "La Vignana" offers rooms equipped with every comfort, a hearty breakfast and a garden where you can relax. Just 4.5 km away from Levanto train station, it is perfect for those who want to explore the Cinque Terre staying in a place where the view, privacy and tranquility are assured.
SLEEP AT MADA CHARM APARTMENTS (VERNAZZA)
MaDa Charm Apartments are located in Vernazza, the heart of the Cinque Terre. They have been completely renovated in 2017 and 2018 and offer a welcoming, elegant and minimalist style. All apartments are complete with Wi-Fi, air conditioning and heating; private bathroom with shower, bidet, sink, toilet and related accessories; corner kitchen complete with Nespresso® coffee machine, kettle, microwave, sink, minibar and various accessories; coat rack, suitcase bench, desk, king-size bed and safe.
SLEEP AT OASI HOTEL (LEVANTO)
The Oasi Hotel in Levanto is the ideal accommodation in Cinque Terre area. Perfect to relax, hike, go to the beach and of course visit the five villages and Portofino. The Oasi Hotel rooms are all different. They are warm and bright and are nicely decorated and furnished with top-quality features.
SLEEP AT OSPITALITA INSOLITA (LA SPEZIA)
Ospitalita Insolita consists of 3 double bedrooms, located inside a building dating back to the end of the 19th century. The rooms were designed by owners and the furniture lovingly made by Nicola, one by one, to create a unique and characteristic environment.
SLEEP AT PUNTO ZERO (CORNIGLIA)
Punto Zero is located in Corniglia, just a 10 minute walk from the paths to Manarola and Vernazza and from the seashore a stone's throw from the sea. Punto Zero has 3 rooms and 2 apartments.
SLEEP AT VELAMICA RESORT (LERICI)
Just relax, take your time and enjoy the pleasure of silence. There is only one place on the beautiful Italian coast where these three elements can work in harmony, creating the perfect condition for unlimited moments of relax and wellness. The rooms are chic and elegant in design, made of warm colors, fabrics, comfortable beds.
SLEEP AT VILLA MARGHERITA (LEVANTO)
Villa Margherita is an Art Nouveau dwelling built in 1906, now owned by the Campodonico family, and completely renewed in 2006. Small, standard, superior rooms and suites with private gardens are available.
SLEEP AT VILLINO CATERINA (RIOMAGGIORE)
EAT AT LA PICOLA OASI (LERICI)
Experience authentic Italian cooking at La Piccolo Oasi - dishes include perfect tartare, fish, antipasto and much more.
PLAY AT HELLO CINQUE TERRE (MANAROLA)
Experience amazing Cinque Terre by boat. Depart from La Spezia for a 2 hour cruise or from Monterosso for a 3 hour cruise / Experience Cinque Terre by sunset or make a private booking for a special occasion!