Crystal clear waters and quaint villages: the Riviera delle Palme
Here we are again: we left the Riviera dei Fiori and going east, after Cervo we pass Capo Mele and we are in the Riviera delle Palme, a breathtaking stretch of coast with beautiful sandy beached, jagged cliffs and picturesque hamlets.
Laigueglia and Alassio: Saracens towers and sandy beaches
The tiny fishermen village of Laigueglia has a beautiful sandy beach perfect for families and preserves an atmosphere of other times with colored houses aligned along the white beach.
Alassio has elegant villas built in the 1800s by the English and a famous fine sand beach made of pure quartz, unique in the Italian Riviera. You can stroll in the “budello” the narrow, main alley of the historical center where you can find boutiques and good restaurants. A tower built in 1600s to defend the village against Saracens dominates the sea.
Albenga: the towers’ town
If you like to travel like a local, you will find and be astonished when you’ll visit Albenga historical center. You’ll wander if you are in San Gimignano in Tuscany. In Albenga, in a few meters you will find many medieval towers, the walls, beautiful palaces and especially the paleo-christian Fifth Century Baptistry, intact form the end of the Roman Empire.
Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena: 189 inhabitants in a medieval village
When you are in Albenga, don’t be lazy, go inland and drive up to Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena, following the road to Garessio. You’ll be surprised! Almost unknown also to Ligurian, Castelvecchio is a very small village where nothing changed from past times. Hidden by an impressive rock, you almost can’t see it when you pass by car. To discover the great beauty of this place, you have to walk into the narrow stone alleys till an enchanting square overlooking the valley, covered with grass. Yes, in Castelvecchio there are no cars. The village spreads out in concentric circles around the castle and preserves a special, authentic and friendly atmosphere.
Borgio Verezzi: one of the most beautiful towns in Italy
Driving towards east don’t forget to turn left and go up till the village of Borgio-Verezzi that has remained unchanged over centuries. The little square of the village has a beautiful belvedere that looks over vineyards and the sea. If you are here in August, you can’t miss the famous Theatre Festival that takes place in this square.
Finale and Finalborgo: the beach and the castle
Finale is a fantastic place and has a very long, beautiful sandy beach and noble painted palaces. If you go a little bit inland you will be excited by Finalborgo, an untouched medieval village surrounded by walls built in the 1400s and dominated by the Castel Gavone Fortress.
If you like climbing or mountain bike, the area around finale is ideal and well organized for outdoor activities.
Varigotti: an authentic fishing village on the beach
When you arrive in Varigotti, park your car (it will not be easy in summer) and pass among the colored fishermen houses till the beautiful beach, in my opinion one of the best beaches of the Italian Riviera. If you have time take a walk till the medieval San Lorenzo Vecchio church with a beautiful panorama on the amazing Saracens bay, another beautiful sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs.
Noli: fortified houses and fishermen
After Varigotti you will pass the amazing white cliffs of Capo Noli and your eye will be caught by a village still surrounded by ancient walls climbing the hill until a stone tower: this is Noli.
The village has remained the same during time and preserves noble palaces and fortified houses. Noli is built on a beautiful sandy beach. Here you can see the traditional fishing boats called “gozzi”, resting on the sand. They are still used for the typical local fishing of “cicciarelli” a Slow Food presidia.
Albissola: the capital of art ceramic
Passing Savona and its awesome Priamar fortress, you’ll arrive in Albissola,a must for those who love art and the art of ceramic. Here, besides traditional ceramic production, great artists such as Lucio Fontana worked and experimented with local, skillful manufacturers.
Even if you have to look for them among modern buildings, I suggest you to visit the beautiful noble villas of Albissola like Villa Faraggiana and Villa Gavotti.
Celle: an old coastal village
After Albissola the coastal street goes trough the rocks till Celle Ligure, a preserved coastal village with pastel colored houses lined-up along the sandy beach.
This is the end of our trip on the west side of the Italian Riviera. Don’t you think it’s worth a visit during your next Italian Holidays?