Italy – looking past the famous Riviera
Give the more popular Riviera destinations such as Cinque Terre, a well-earned break by visiting some of the lesser known towns and villages, such as Rapallo, Chiavari, Zoagli, Sestri Levante and Lavagna
If glamour and sophistication is on the list, Portofino offers bucket loads plus more. A traditional fishing village retaining its popularity as one of the more famous Italian Riviera villages due to its idyllic natural harbour boasting luxury yachts alongside humble fishing boats.
Famous since the 1950s as a destination for the rich and famous, it still the place to be if you enjoy a bit of celebrity spotting. Look beyond the plush boats and Ferraris however and you will discover more to Portofino. It stands out in particular due to the untouched natural beauty of its harbour, the lush green hills and parks and the picturesque village with colourful townhouses. Take full advantage of the beauty by climbing the gentle but long steps to Castello Brown to feast on the amazing views.
Zoagli is a small yet serene town on the Italian Riviera and a nature lover’s paradise. This charming town is perfectly suited for those wanting to avoid the characterless chain hotels and hordes of tourists. Located in the eastern side of the Ligurian Riviera in the centre of the Gulf of Tigulli. Zoagli is famous for silk manufacturing, and is the site of an ancient Roman settlement. Thanks to its position, Zoagli embraces the ocean and provides some enchanting sites including paths and trails that wind their way through the most evocative and pure nature walks. Of course silk lovers are spoiled for choice in the many shops selling hand made goods, the blueprint for which have remained secret and passed down through the generations within this small town industry.
Discover Sestri Levante, a headland divided into two bays, the “Baia del Silenzio” and “Baia delle Favole” the latter bay named after the famous author Hans Christian Andersen who lived in the area during the 1880s. The main attraction of this Italian Riviera town is its serenity, charm and nature. Quaint bed and breakfasts adorn the coast and are dotted around the hills. The main attraction of Sestri Levante is the opportunity to mingle with the locals and join in with how they live their life in this Riveria paradise.
Finally, on our list of Italian Riveria´s secret gems is Ravello. By far the highest located, most peaceful and virtually traffic free resort. Ravello was a bolt hole for some of Hollywood´s icons including Great Garbo and Jacqueline Kennedy and the whole area still oozes that reserved sophistication and understated glamour, as you would expect for a leading or first lady. Visiting during spring time gives a chance to witness the lush blooms from the gardens, the bright purples and pinks from the flowers that grow here from cyclamen, bougainvillea to the enticing smells of herbs bursting from the terracotta pots. The hills are abundant with rows of olive groves and lemon trees. This particular location is Italy´s perfect Dolce Vita!