Colourful houses, Liberty buildings and a castle by the sea
A few kilometres from Portofino, to which it is connected by the "Walk of Kisses", lies one of Liguria's most popular tourist destinations, Rapallo, in the centre of the Bay of Tigullio. Since the 19th century this little town has been a favourite destination of famous writers such as William Butler Yeats and Ernest Hemingway. The Vittorio Veneto promenade is framed by Liberty-style buildings.
On the beach are rows of distinctive blue bathing huts, while the narrow streets of the town are lined with colourful clusters of tall, narrow houses, often with false painted windows because of a tradition dating back to the 18th century, when the houses were taxed according to the number of windows they had.
Behind the town, a tree-lined path leads to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro, which has a splendid view of the coast. It can also be reached by cable car, which leaves from the railway station. The best time to visit is towards the end of the day, when you can enjoy the romantic Ligurian sunset.
Overlooking the sea there is a fortress, built in the mid-16th century to defend the coast: named Castello sul Mare, it is the symbol of Rapallo. Every year, on the feast of Our Lady of Montallegro, the castle is "set on fire" in a stunning display of lights and fireworks.