There’s no better time to start planning your next trip to Italy than now, as a new renaissance is on the horizon. The Italian Riviera, which is synonymous with the region of Liguria, is a popular tourist destination due to its allure as a picturesque region rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.
Best Places to Visit the Italian Riviera
We’ve compiled a list of the top places to visit along the Ligurian Riviera, these are seaside getaways where you can relax in an uncrowded environment and soak up some genuine Italian culture.
Portovenere, also spelled Porto Venere, is an undiscovered gem of the Italian Riviera. Poets and artists adore this colorful hamlet, but most tourists pass it by in favor of nearby Cinque Terre or glitzy Portofino.
Visit the local oyster farms, go sailing in the Gulf of Poets, or go hiking on Palmaria Island; all are part of the unforgettable experiences you can have in Portovenere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. Tellaro, Italian Riviera
A paradise between sea and sky, between rocks and green mountains, is how Italian writer and film director Mario Soldati described Tellaro.
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A visit to this picturesque village, home to the world-famous Church of St. George, is just what you need to unwind. Lerici and San Terenzo are two nearby towns worth exploring.
3. Montemarcello Nature Park
On the border between Liguria and Tuscany, you’ll find this peaceful and typically Italian fishing village. The beautiful marble peaks of the Apuan Alps and the unspoiled hills of Montemarcello Nature Park surround it on all sides. Hiking enthusiasts will love this region.
Despite its proximity to Cinque Terre, this lovely town receives little attention, much like nearby Portovenere. Levanto has a beach that is not as crowded as nearby Monterosso, in addition to its lovely cobbled streets and abundance of culture.
Framura is lauded for its enchanted atmosphere, its unique culinary offerings, and its accessibility by foot and bicycle, especially along the former railroad bed turned recreational trail stretching for five kilometers through the town.
The Sentiero Verde-Azzurro, a hiking path that links Portovenere and Sestri Levante, also provides access to the area. You should also check out Bonassola, a colorful town nearby, while you’re here.
Between the towers of San Giorgio and Santa Croce churches in the province of Genoa stands the town of Moneglia. The Genoese constructed two massive fortresses there in the 12th century: Villafranca and Monleone. A stunning botanical garden can be found there.
7. Noli, Italian Riviera
Among the monumenti nazionali italiani is the Romanesque basilica of S. Paragorio in this small village not far from Savona.
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Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the Manie Plateau, with its extensive pine forest, vineyard cultivations, and a naturally formed rock formation where a Neolithic site was recently discovered, as well as the hiking trails that lead up to the hill that overlooks the hamlet.
Finalborgo, in the province of Savona, features impressive, still-standing medieval walls complete with towers and gates. It’s home to the Basilica of San Biagio and the Santa Caterina complex, as well as Renaissance and Baroque-style palaces.
The town of Laigueglia has preserved much of its historic character. The colorful majolica domes atop the church of S. Matteo and the small squares with views of the sea are two of the town’s most distinctive features. Savona is the province where the town is located.
10. Cervo, Italian Riviera
This small village in the province of Imperia is home to the Ethnographic Museum of Western Liguria and the beautiful Baroque Church of St. John the Baptist.
The International Chamber Music Festival of Cervo was founded in 1964 by Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh, continuing the town of Cervo’s long association with classical music. Since then, it has become a summertime tradition.
One of Italy’s most stunning regions is the Italian Riviera. Colorful seaside towns, scenic trails, and delectable local cuisine can all be found along the dramatic coastline.
The glamorous harbor of Portofino and the picturesque villages perched on the cliffs of the Cinque Terre draw the most visitors, but these are far from the only coastal gems in the region.