Liguria - Levanto

Levanto

Levanto could be the 6th village of the Cinque Terre, it can be found after Monterosso, on the other side of Punta Mesco. It is a very pleasant town with a long beach (sand and pebbles). Levanto is a perfect base for discovering the Cinque Terre which is only 5 minutes away by train but you can also reach it by boat from Levanto. If you hike up the hill, you will find Monterosso on the other side. It is a very picturesque, 2-hour hike.

The town centre has a very nice atmosphere. You will notice that the buildings are different here to those of the Cinque Terre villages. Windows, balconies are painted on the walls; they look almost real from a distance. (Trompe l'oeil) This shows that Levanto was always richer than the Cinque Terre villages. You can find several nice restaurants and little shops in town, as well as a good covered market, a great place to buy local produce. Every Wednesday, there is also a small street market selling clothes, games, kitchen utensils and all kinds of stuff. Piazza Cavour is the main square and there is even a tiny cinema hiding nearby: only for Italian speakers, as every movie is dubbed in Italy.

Interesting to know that there are 22 tiny villages scattered around the Levanto Valley, which belong to Levanto. Some of them only consist of a few houses built around a nice little church or chapel with a wonderful hilltop location. If you have the time and a car, drive around and visit some of these villages.

Try to be in Levanto on July 25th as there is a huge festival in town! This is the day of San Giacomo, the local patron saint.

The history of Levanto dates back to the Romans. From the 13th century, the settlement belonged to the Republic of Genoa but it could keep its independence and it was a wealthy trading town. Even today people live well here but in the 21st century the main source of income is tourism. Even the famous Fiat-owner Agnelli family has a huge holiday estate here. You will find the beautiful villas and the large garden at the far end of the beach, towards Monterosso.

Everyone is riding a bike around Levanto so you should also do that. There are two good bike-rental shops in town, but I personally like Fabio's "Sensafreni Bike Shop" on Piazza del Popolo. Once you have cycled around the streets of Levanto, try the fantastic bicycle path along the sea.

Cultural sights

Church of Sant Andrea

The 13th-century church is a nice example of Ligurian Gothic style. Its facade is comprised of alternating white and dark green strips with a white marble rose window.

Castle and Clock Tower

If you start walking up the hill towards Monterosso, you will find a nice historical area. The castle was built by the Malaspina family in the 11th century then later rebuilt by the Genoan people. For a long time it served as a prison, today it is a private residence. The Clock Tower dates back to 1265. You can also see the remains of the medieval city walls.

Medieval loggia

There is a pretty square close to the sea, Piazza del Popolo, with a medieval loggia from 1405. When it was constructed, it was unique in all of Liguria.