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Tucked-away villages, secret little beaches and superb nature: how enchanting Liguria is!

Liguria is a wonderful strip of land enclosed between the sea and the mountains, with pastel-coloured houses and breathtaking views. With lush unspoilt nature, many small towns to discover and an incomparable culinary tradition, it enraptures the eye and the heart.

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Art & Culture

Lerici

Discovering Lerici: colourful villages and romantic poets With colourful houses reflected in the water and an ancient castle dominating the landscape, Lerici is a true sight to behold, and it is no coincidence that it has enchanted poets and romantic writers throughout history, from Lord Byron to Mary Shelley. If you are looking for a destination to fall in love with, Lerici is the place for you. The Gulf of Poets This beautiful fishing village is a real jewel set in the Gulf of La Spezia: also known as the Gulf of Poets, this vast inlet of the Ligurian Sea coastline seems to have been created especially for indulging in dolce far niente and strolling in search of picture-worthy sites. From the heart Our journey through the Riviera di Levante begins at its heart, Lerici, an easy-to-navigate town dominated by the mighty five-cornered tower of the fortress that dates back to the Maritime Republics. You won’t regret visiting the central Piazza Garibaldi: right by the sea and surrounded by pastel-coloured houses, this square hosts the 13th-century Oratory of San Rocco, built on a medieval “hospitale” for passing pilgrims, with its bell tower converted from an earlier Roman tower. Among the many 18th-century residences in the area, Villa Marigola is the most iconic, thanks to its position on the promontory, straddling the inlets of Lerici and San Terenzo. Captivating surroundings You will love how easy it is to venture around the magnificent surroundings of Lerici: places that have captivated the likes of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Giosuè Carducci and Gabriele D'Annunzio, and that, more recently, have earned themselves the title of World Heritage Sites. Tellaro at sunset Two kilometres from the centre of Lerici is the stunning Tellaro: if you visit at sunset, you will discover why it has been named one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. We recommend a relaxing walk along the promenade overlooking small beaches: this is the spot where Eugenio Montale, struck by so much beauty during a train journey, stopped to pen a poem out of the blue: Verso Tellaro. Portovenere and Cinque Terre The spectacular seaside villages of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, need no introduction. The same goes for the nearby Portovenere, where you can photograph the 16th-century Doria Castle or the Tower behind the ancient city walls and the promenade stretching along the seafront. If you are a poet at heart, you should explore the church of San Pietro, where you will find the Grotto Arpaia, also known as Byron's Grotto, in homage to the poet who visited this magnificent place to find inspiration. The magic of the Golden Butterfly Behind Lerici, the San Lorenzo mountains host an enchanted place where, on the days around the summer solstice, the rays of the setting sun pass through a gap created by a megalithic formation of local stones, projecting a butterfly-shaped beam of light onto one of the standing stones. A dip in the Gulf of Poets If you can’t resist some sunbathing and a refreshing swim, you will be spoilt for choice between bays and well-equipped, free beaches. Arriving from La Spezia, your first stop must be Baia Blu, between Punta Santa Teresa and Punta Galera. San Terenzo offers a comfortable beach in front of the town, while as you approach Lerici, you will find the famous beach Venere Azzurra, recognised for decades with the Blue Flag. Finally, Fiascherino offers a delightful small bay with a narrow beach where you can rent deckchairs and parasols.
Art & Culture

Ponzano Superiore

Ponzano Superiore: a mediaeval village amid artistic treasures and panoramas If you have a passion for medieval villages far from time, the place you should visit is Ponzano Superiore, a magical place with old-world charm along the Via Francigena, which unfolds in a maze of cobbled streets and, thanks to its strategic position, dominates the area from Meloria to the Gulf of La Spezia. Ready to join us on our 1-day itinerary of artistic treasures and local beauty? Along the ancient Via Francigena, but without haste We should take example from the pilgrims who, on their way down from the Alpine passes and on their way to Rome and the Holy Land, lingered here in Ponzano Superiore: even today, the best way to enjoy this centre of the Via Francigena is not to be in a hurry. Take a look at the landscape and breathe deeply: you are in the beautiful Val di Magra, near Santo Stefano di Magra, in Lunigiana, a land that holds religious works of art of great value. The Parish Church of San Michele and its 5 altars One of the symbols of Ponzano Superiore is the Pieve di San Michele Arcangelo, an important place of Catholic worship in which there are no fewer than five altars and several paintings on canvas that have not yet been attributed. The church was repeatedly enriched with details between the 16th and 17th centuries and today has a Baroque and Rococo style. Also worth your time is Palazzo Remedi, whose splendid building, probably dating back to the 17th century, displays interesting sculptural reliefs. Pay attention to the remarkable coats of arms on the walls of the village that testify to the passage of different dominations over the centuries. The castle that is not there A quirk you won't find in the guidebooks: a castle once stood proudly here, of which no trace remains today. During the tour you will also encounter the Immaculate Conception Column, similar to the one on the Spanish Steps in Rome, and you can take a break or end the tour on the city's Belvedere. Ponzano as Caius Pontius Ponzano Superiore is a curious name, but what is it related to and how has it been maintained over the centuries? Its toponym is of Roman origin, probably referring to the consul Caius Pontius Ligo. Little is known of its history before 986; it was certainly the possession of the bishops of Luni, then passed to the Malaspina and in the 16th century to the Banco di San Giorgio. A priceless view Like a small jewel set on a hillock some 303 metres above sea level, Ponzano Superiore allows the eye to literally lose itself in the horizon. No archaeological digging has been carried out, but it appears to preserve the remains of a settlement in ancient and early medieval times. It was once inhabited by Ligurian peoples, such as the Apuanians who had founded the town of Luni. Once upon a time there was a manor Around the year 1000, Ponzano passed to the Este family, becoming a "castrum" with a fortress surrounded by walls, in which a gate with a drawbridge opened. Those who passed it found a chapel and a keep, while just below the castle there was a small inhabited village. Please don't think of it as a romantic place, though: due to its location, it had above all strategic and military significance.
Nature
The Abbey of San Fruttuoso is a medieval Catholic abbey on the coast near Portofino, Liguria, Italy. The bay of Capodimonte is a famous travel spot for the tourist visiting Italy.

Bay of San Fruttuoso

The Bay of San Fruttuoso amid nature, sea and religion It's a small beach of white pebbles dominated by an ancient abbey, and all around is the dense Mediterranean scrub of Liguria. We are between Camogli and Portofino, on the Riviera di Levante. Emerald green waters mirror the vegetation amid the cliffs. The Bay of San Fruttuoso is tucked away in an impervious place, which has helped it to preserve its unspoilt beauty. A gem among the Ligurian Mountains Typically, one arrives at San Fruttuoso Bay by boat, embarking from nearby places or from Genoa. The moment you catch sight of the cove is marvellous. The water is crystal-clear, allowing glimpses of the pebbles, and gently laps the shore. The greenery behind shimmers; the abbey adds a sacred and solemn atmosphere to this sanctuary of nature. We are in the Portofino Regional Natural Park, in a protected marine area. Here, you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas while on the beach, or walk on the nearby rocks and linger. Take a dip, or make arrangements for snorkelling. The pleasures of the table and a special stay There is a small bar perched on the rocks, where a sunset aperitif is a marvellous experience. There is also a restaurant offering refreshments, which is open for lunch and dinner, right next to the church. Tables overlook the sea, enhancing the pleasure of a plate of trofie al pesto, the region's most famous recipe, or spaghetti with seafood. A few rooms allow you to stay for several nights, from May until October. The Abbey and the Monastery The difficult access, as well as the presence of a freshwater spring, made the site suitable for the foundation of a sacred building in the 8th century. The church and monastery have undergone a series of restorations since then, and today are owned by FAI, the Italian Environmental Fund. The complex is well worth a visit, especially the cloisters and the tombs of the Doria family, a very powerful Genoese lineage. Stop to admire the archaeological finds, then take a stroll through the tiny village. You will not find shops and boutiques, but only a handful of houses, in an authentic atmosphere. A statue anchored to the seabed The sea of San Fruttuoso Bay conceals a surprise in its depths: the Christ of the Abyss. 300 metres from the beach and 15 metres deep, the statue was laid, or rather sunk, in 1954. 2.50 metres high and the work of sculptor Guido Galletti, it depicts Christ with his arms pointing upwards. Diving to admire it up close is also suitable for those of average experience, given the shallow depth, but can only be undertaken under the supervision of certified guides. If you are an experienced swimmer, you can also swim there, but be careful of the boats navigating the sea. The water is crystal clear and the view is also clear even just from the surface. An alternative? Reaching the work of art by kayak or paddle-board. Scenic trekking San Fruttuoso Bay can also be reached via numerous paths, starting from San Rocco or Portofino, in about two hours. But you will fall in love with the landscape, set between mountains and sea, to the point that you will want to continue exploring. We are in Portofino Park, a protected area with 80 kilometres of trails, perfect for an amazing nature trek. As the coast opens up to you from above, revealing the intricate geography of gulfs, inlets, bays, harbours and promontories, you will wander through chestnut and olive trees, pine and holm-oak forests, orchards and citrus groves. Step by step, you will breathe in the clear air and the scent of heather, strawberry trees, mastic trees, euphorbia and myrtle. You are likely to encounter hedgehogs and squirrels that dwell peacefully here. If you decide to leave for Portofino, stop to visit the whole village. The small harbour is one of the most famous in the world and is teeming with luxurious yachts. You can follow them from the shore, sitting in one of the many elegant restaurants. Then head upwards, where the villas hidden among the greenery are legendary and the walk along the path between maritime pines and dry stone walls is a real pleasure. You can also walk to Camogli, a typical seaside village with colourful houses lining the beautiful, short promenade.
Region

A wealth of beauty between bays and historic towns

San Remo and the Riviera dei Fiori, the carruggi and the Aquarium in Genoa, the villages of the Cinque Terre, the beaches of the Golfo dei Poeti and the island of Palmaria, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Liguria, with its varied ecosystem and spectacular beauty, is bound to win you over.

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