4 Best Italian Riviera Destinations You May Not Know But You Should Know

[For the latest information on requirements for leisure travel in Italy, go to Ministero della Salute.] When looking for new destinations in Italy, you often don’t have to travel far to find them. Even an area as popular as the Italian Riviera has a good selection of intriguing villages and towns that many well-traveled visitors have yet to discover. Here are four coastal havens you may not know but which you should consider on your next trip to the region; three are designated among the most beautiful villages in Italy (I Borghi Più Belli D’Italia): Noli, Cervo and Tellaro.


In a country where many destinations have unique stories, Noli stands out. This small town was once a maritime republic, like Venice, Pisa and Genoa, and managed to retain its independence much longer than some better-known rivals, from the 12th century until it succumbed to Napoleonic forces in 1797. The great poet Dante, who probably visited here in the early 1300s, added to Noli’s fame, immortalizing him in his Divina Commedia. Among the attractions are the well-preserved historic center and the Castello di Monte Ursino, a fortified complex built over hundreds of years, from the 10th century. From his perspective, the castle served as a warning to impending coastal invaders; today, more serenely, it allows panoramic views of the sea. If you come to Noli for the beach, you have chosen one, because it has the Bandiera Blu status (certifying the quality of the water and the respect of certain environmental standards). The Spiaggia dei Pescatori with a texture of sand and pebbles is easily accessible from the village. Along the coast there are public and private beaches.


The village of Cervo lies on a part of the Ligurian coast called Riviera dei Fiori, a part of the western Italian Riviera that stretches all the way to the French border and is known for its abundance of flowers. Seen from the sea, this small village – there are about 1200 inhabitants – seems to float on the water. In Cervo, travelers have an evocative hilltop village to explore, at the foot of which is a pebble beach, ideal for a late afternoon stroll. Among the sites to visit are the castle of Clavesana, dating from the 13th century, once the domain of a local marquis and now housing a museum dedicated to the local culture, and the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, of a baroque delicious. Cervo hosts the International Chamber Music Festival every year, with concerts held in Piazza dei Corallini, this year from July 2 to August 27. San Bartolomeo al Mare is a popular seaside destination nearby.


Since the 1600s, the aristocrats and merchants of Genoa have escaped to this seaside haven located on Golfo Paradiso, a sparkling stretch of Riviera coastline that includes famous destinations like Portofino and San Fruttuoso. Formerly a fishing colony and now a suburb of Genoa, Nervi is home to four important museums and a number of historic villas. You will find the Galleria d’Arte Moderna with works from the late 1800s to the present day in Villa Saluzzo Serra, and the Frugone Collections, dedicated to Belle Époque art, in Villa Grimaldi Fassio. The Luxoro Museum (temporarily closed) focuses on paintings, furniture and collectibles from the 17th and 18th centuries in a villa that once belonged to the prominent Genoese family of the same name. Nervi is also the site of a Wolfsonian Museum (Wolfsoniana), exhibiting paintings, decorative objects and historical materials from the collections of American philanthropist Mitchell Wolfson which shed light on the main design movements of the late 19th and early 19th centuries. in the middle of the twentieth century. After visiting the museums, you can take a stroll along the seafront promenade, the Anita Garibaldi promenade, or have a swim on one of the public beaches or in a private club.


Perhaps because it is not located on any railroad tracks, this hamlet of about six hundred inhabitants on the east coast of the Gulf of La Spezia, has retained its local vibe, offering a more rustic version of what some of the famous marine spots of the Riviera are known for. Tellaro is a compact gem with brightly colored houses seemingly woven into the side of a cliff, and a striking, often steep shore, dotted with bathers in summer. Hotel Il Nido has a private beach for guests to use and the popular beaches of Fiascherino are a short distance away.

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