La Spezia is identified with the Italian Navy from the last century when Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, established the Sardinian Military base in the town and a few years later, in 1861, when the Arsenal was built. La Spezia became then a very important Military base as testified from the relocation of the Naval Museum in 1870 from Genoa to La Spezia. This is one of the many museums you can visit in town. Not to be missed is the Lia Museum (downtown in the old Via Prione) and the archeological collections preserved in the San Giorgio castle from where you can also enjoy a panoramic view of the town. It’s recommended that you try the local dish “Mes-ciua”, a cereal soup.
Bocca di Magra is famous for having been the meeting place of famous writers and intellectuals such as: Eugenio Montale, Giulio Einaudi, Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini, who established their summer residence here. For this reason it has been included among the attractions of the Cultural Park of the Magra Valley and Luni. The traditional fishing activity is increasingly being replaced by tourist and residential development, due to the creation of small docks for pleasure-boating and the service of motor-boats to reach the small, nice inlets scattered all around.
Lerici, the ancient “Erice”, was the centre of conflicts between the Maritime Republics of Genoa and Pisa. Along with this wonderful landscape, a source of inspiration for many artists, poets and writers, many admirable constructions still remain from the past. The castle for example, situated on the highest point of the bay and nowadays restored into a Geopaleontological museum, or the walls embracing the ancient centre. Surely worth a visit is the Gothic Santa Anastasia chapel, as well as the hexagonal tower. Relaxing with the view of “Venere Azzurra bay” at sunset in San Terenzo is the perfect way to close the day in one of the pearls of the Gulf of the Poets.
Picturesque village established in Roman times, built on a rocky crag overlooking the emerald-green sea and framed by three islands: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, which weave their charming spell on everyone. The legend has it that the “Goddess of Beauty” herself was enchanted by this magnificent place. The recommended places to visit are: Saint Peter’s church (1277), built on the promontory, which can be reached by walking through the village, Byron’s Cove, the Doria castle and the church of Saint Laurence. Let yourself enjoy the fresh seafood in one of the many restaurants in the thousand colours of the quay.
A jewel of the Cinque Terre, this village was founded at the end of the XII century. The name derives from “Rivus Mayor”, the biggest of the two streams which flow across the village. Along the charming road down to the “Marina” you will find the typical coloured houses, which seem to cling to one another, with the boat dock in the middle. These are called “case torri” (tower houses). From the little beach of Fossola you can reach the gardens of Torre Guardiola along a pathway rich in extraordinary botanic and naturalistic beauties. Another unforgettable itinerary is the “Via dell’Amore”, going from Riomaggiore to Manarola along the coast.
Its name almost certainly derives from “Manium Arula” (dead souls temple). The harbour is formed by a terraced promenade with boats hanging at the foot of a handful of coloured houses. Above on the hills you’ll find the terraces with vines growing on them… these are the vines of the “Cinque Terre”, a dry white wine, rough like the sea. On the main square there is the parish church of Saint Laurence (1338), in front of the bell tower once used as a watchtower (XIV century). During Christmas time the village is illuminated by the lights of the unique nativity scene created by a local resident, Mario Andreoli.
Cornelius, a Roman colonist, and his mother Cornelia, are the first names having some relation with Corniglia. In ancient times, the village was more extended southward, but strong slumps due to the sea have caused a number of landslides of the hill. This is now a long cliff, connected with the village by 365 steps, numbered like the days of the year. This village was built around the XI century and still preserves its charm, with beautiful stone buildings of remarkable beauty embellished by sandstone portals. From the terraced balcony overhanging the sea, at the farthest limits of the village, it is possible to admire the ancient ”valley of mills” which is now intensively cultivated. Go to the Guvano beach for a wonderful swim, and don’t miss the “Sciacchetrà” wine festival that takes place each year in May.
“Vulnetia” was its ancient Latin name, then “Vernaccia” and finally Vernazza. The web of “carrugi” (narrow lanes) and steep stairways converges in the main square overlooking the sea. This is the centre of the village, where stands the church dedicated to Saint Margaret of Antiochia (1318) with its foundations in the sea. On the opposite side, built on a sheer crag, you have the castle, once a strategic defence necessary to prevent the pirates’ attacks.
“Rubra” used to be the ancient Latin name given to this village – now a part of the territory of the “National Park of the Cinque Terre” – because of the reddish colour of the hills at sunset, or perhaps it could be the colour of the lord’s hair (Rufus) that inhabited the castle. While walking along the “carrugi” of the historical centre, you can linger for a while to drink a glass of “Sciacchetrà” dessert wine in some cellar, or go as far as the Convent of the “Capuccini” from where you can admire an incredible landscape. Descending on the opposite side, you will reach the end of the village, dominated by an impressive sculpture of Neptune (1910), known as the “Giant”.
… an agrarian village, then merchant and maritime centre, and since the XIX century, a tourist resort. This large town nestled on the bottom of a valley is considered the doorway into the 5 Terre. Its wide bay has one of the largest beaches along the coast, now a renowned surfing spot. In the north, the valley opens out to its broadest extent, with its vineyards and olive groves and little hamlets that make it look like a big natural amphitheatre. Places to see: Saint Andrew’s church (1226), the medieval open gallery (1405) the ancient walls and clock-tower (1265). Before leaving Levanto, make sure you don’t forget to taste the “Gattafin” or to stock up with the extraordinary extra virgin olive oil.
A garden on the turquoise sea that can be reached by car on the via “Aurelia”, by train or by sea. Bonassola is a typical coastal village with colourful houses and crossed by narrow cobbled “carrugi” (lanes) where lively craft workshops give a retro touch. And amid this charming framework, the half moon-shaped bay offers a beach with many facilities for tourists. During the summer there are many festivals and musical concerts. Places to visit: the small church on the west promontory, that can be reached by the scenic path overhanging the sea.
A sandy beach, one of the largest in Liguria, enclosed between two lines of rocks, clear sea awarded several times with the European Blue Flag, a maze of free-access paths that penetrate into the maquis, towards Sestri Levante and Portofino, Levanto and the Cinque Terre. A very respectable presentation for a place like Deiva Marina, strategically located between the Cinque Terre and Portofino, linked to the most charming places of the Riviera di Levante by the railway and a ferry service operated during the summer months, and provided with access to the A12 Genoa-Leghorn motorway. Deiva Marina is the ideal resort for sea and trekking lovers.
Besides the cultural tourism, the Sarzana territory also riserves the possibility to enjoy the closeness to the sea, as the hamlet of Marinella hosts several bathing establishments. It is a sandy coastline, approximately 3 kilometres, along which free beaches alternate with those licensed to privates. The Sarzana coast is known and appreciated both because it is easy to reach, and because of the nearness of the most important urban centres of the area. At walking distance, you can visit Luni, an archaeological area particularly notable for the ruins its great Amphitheatre and the Archaeological National Museum which displays nds discovered locally. Don’t miss a visit to Sarzana with its medieval atmosphere.
Situated on the border between Liguria and Tuscany, in the municipally of Ortonovo (La Spezia) along the banks of the Magra river, is Luni, an ancient Italian town, founded in the early second century B.C.. The town rose the popularity during the Roman period as a port from which the ship would sail off loaded with marble from the Apuans Alps. The archaeological excavations have allowed light to be shed on the major urban development stages of the town, which cleary shows castrum (military camp) plan with Decumanus Maximus consisting of the via Aurelia and Cardus Maximus connecting the forum with the port area. The amphitheatre can be dated back to the age of the Antonines. Still remaining from the medieval period are St Mark’s crypt (8-9 cent.), the bell tower and apsidal section of St. Mark’s cathedral in the Romanesque style. We recommend a visit to the archaeological museum, built in 1964, which is located in the archaeological area of the old city centre of Luni, hosting excavation lands of ancient Roman town.