The sea of northern Italy is especially the sea of Liguria with its beautiful and famous little towns.
On the east side the Tigullio Gulf encloses all the most famous Liguria’s town; Portofino or Santa Margherita has not to be remind to who knows to visit Italy and search of its particular mix of nature, history and glitz. The Gulf is stretched up from Portofino’s peak to the Sestri Levante’s promontory.
The various Blue Flags (to regard the best coastline towns in Italy) that distinguish different stretches of the coastline and the seabed rich in attractions, make the Gulf a paradise for lovers of scuba diving and the many opportunities to the small hours in the vibrant and trendy clubs conquer even the night owls.
Portofino is the most famous town in the Gulf; it’s very famous for its square and its harbor during the summer is filled with boats and yachts of wealthy tycoons and VIPs which since Sixties’ use to dock here to spend a few days. Thru the surrounding hills some beautiful nineteenth-century villas can be glimpsed.
Portofino is surrounded by a natural park where you can into a walk and reach points to admire the views of this part of Liguria offers.
With a walk of about half an hour from the main square you reach the Lighthouse of Portofino: a good walk between the plants, when you arrive at your destination you can enjoy this white two-story building, located on the slopes of Mount Portofino and the front door to the bay.
One of the most fascinating places of Portofino is represented by Brown Castle; built around 1000 in a privileged location, near the harbour but separated from it by a Mediterranean garden full of plants and flowers. It stands on the site where formerly there was a Roman tower. It’s wonderful to admire the panorama that opens onto the Gulf of Tigullio.
The San Martino church is an ancient parish, built before the year 1000. The oldest document concerning the Portofino church dates back to 1130. Looking at the facade and the small church square you notice even the characters of the Romanesque style today in the central salient form, the hanging arches that emphasize the eaves of roofs, in the central portal, the rosette and the bell tower.
Santa Margherita is the most glamorous town of the Tigullio; its nightlife often attracts a lot of guys who come from big cities like Milan or Turin just to spend an evening. In town clubs like “The Covo of Nord Est” remained an entertainment reference point for this part of the Ligurian Riviera and even decades of distance have not lost their charm.
If you are enthusiasts of religious architecture and lovers of visits to holy sites, in Santa Margherita Ligure you can visit different churches, rich in works of art, precious paintings and statues, like Basilica parrocchiale di Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, the Chiesa di San Giacomo di Corte.
Other monument is the Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure which you can see strolling along the promenade at some point you will reach its silhouette, built starting in 1550 and privately owned.
Rather at Santa Margherita you have to reach the beaches around the town where you can find all kinds, from sandy to those with pebbles, tiny and secluded coves or equipped beach resort. Starting from the east you will meet the area known as the “Ghiaia “; here you can find free or paid admission beaches and, although the area is mostly gravelly, you can find small points of sandy coastline.
Right next to Santa Margherita there is Rapallo. Set at the center of the Tigullio Gulf, because its enviable position the tourism started in the second half of the nineteenth century and continued until today thanks to the fame of complete and welcoming tourist town. Rapallo gives glimpses of great beauty from its shores and from hillside that surround it. Otherwise Rapallo offers pleasant walks and a rich network of hiking trails. Behind the town, the Sanctuary N.S. Montallegro is a destination for pilgrims from all over Italy and can be reached by a cable car, which is the only one in the whole of Liguria, which offers a breathtaking view over the Gulf.
The town is very welcoming by a prestigious marina, accommodation including many hotels, camping sites, cottages and more than 60 restaurants. There are a dozen beaches, as well as numerous bars and clubs, are the welcome active numbers all year, thanks the mild climate.
The smallest town in the gulf is Zoagli. Its famous pedestrian cliff overlooking the sea and a woodland behind with walking paths and trails are the strong point of this little town of three thousand inhabitants. Beloved by personalities like Friedrich Nietzsche, Wassily Kandinsky and Ezra Pound, who lived here, Zoagli is popular by the excellence of the famous silk factories that, over the centuries, have made this city one of the most important textile manufacturers not only in Italy but Europe as a whole specializing in manual processing of pure silk velvets.
The main beach can be reached directly from the train station Zoagli’s beaches are mainly rocky. Set among the rocks you can find “La spiaggetta Del Duca” the “Arenella” beach. You can also visit “La spiaggia del Pozzetto”, made up of sand and pebbles.
The end of the gulf is the promontory of the eastern Sestri Levante.
Established by the Tigulli in Roman times, Sestri Levante was already known by the name of Segesta Tigulliorum.
The Sestri Levante’s headland divides the cost in the two bays, the “Baia del Silenzio” and the “Baia delle Favole”, which is dedicated to the writer Hans Christian Andersen who lived at Sestri Levante.
But the most famous beach and impressive is surely the Baia del Silenzio, which is the symbol of the town. With the beach framed by pastel colored houses and animated by fishing boats, the bay, fine sand and clean sea, every years it is ranked among the top twenty best Italian beaches. To appreciate the best moment you could reach it in the early morning or in the evening at sunset, when the color of the sunlight makes this place really magic.
For whom loves trekking, between Sestri Levante and Moneglia runs a very scenic route that includes 3 spots you must see: Manara, Baffe and Moneglia; the route allows you to discover a quiet and intimate Liguria , with unforgettable scents and colors and remarkable testimonies of peasant culture. Furthermore Sestri there are several churches to visit including the Abbey of St. Nicolò dating back at 1151. The town is heavily populated in summer and its Carrugi, the “Genovese” alleys, have many bars and clubs very crowded till late night than you almost can move for so many people going through.