The Italians have got many things right, most of which is their love of the sea. Everyone seems to have a town they hold most near and dear to their hearts, and for me it’s Levanto. In fact, I love Levanto so much that I was hesitant to write about it because I feel like it’s best left known only to those who know it, but then I decided to share the love. In fact, I’ll consider myself fully accomplished once I own an apartment there.
Here’s why Levanto is my Italian Riviera city of choice:
It’s Liguria: Yes, I still have several coastlines to explore here in Italy, but I have no doubt Liguria will always be my favorite. Not only is it close to Milan, but the food is amazing. From focaccia to pesto to farinata to anchovies to stuffed mussels and much, much, more, I would eat la cucina Liguria all day every day. Plus, I love, love, love the word Liguria.
Easily Reachable: To start, I still can’t believe that I’m able to get on a train and three-hours later, deboard in a town with crystal clear blue water without having to board a flight to the Caribbean. The Intercity train leaves from Milano Centrale and gets you there in just under three hours making plenty of other stops at major Riviera towns along the way.
Running/bike path: Running is super important to me so Levanto is the perfect town to get your run on. a former railway tunnel was converted into a six-kilometer running and back path that goes from Levanto to Bonassola to Framura.
Cinque Terre: I’ve made no secret about my love for Cinque Terre and one town west lies the first of the Cinque Terre towns, Monterosso al Mare, super easy to get to via train or, if hiking is your thing, head over the Punta Mesco Hill to arrive there by foot.
The beach: The beach is super wide and you can take your pick from many spots along both the public and private areas. My first day, I stopped at a beach club…two lounge chairs and an umbrella in the second row cost 20 euro. (First row was 25 and the third row, which was comprised of chairs and not the lettini) was 15 euro.) The second day, I passed a guy who had a little near the public beach renting lettini for 5 euro each and umbrellas also for 5 euro each. This seems to be the way to go. It’s not set up formally like the beach clubs, but he brings everything over as needed.
Here are some tips:
Hotel Villa Gentile: Stayed in this B&B and it was spot on. All rooms have a private bathroom and breakfast in the form of a nice spread, is included. The walk to the beach is about five minutes. Via Jacopo da Levanto, 27
Azienda Agricola Ietta Dalci: sells all sorts of local products. I picked up some olive oil and jam made with oranges from the trees in Levanto. Via Dante Alghieri, 31
Focacceria il Falcone: just on the way to the beach, I stopped here a couple of times for a few bites. My fave was the vibrant red tomatoes on top of local stracchino cheese toopped with olive oil and oregano. Via Cairoli, 19
Focacceria Dome: Now, this wasn’t on my schlep to and from the beach so I haven’t stopped in, but this is is apparently the best place for focaccia in Levanto, so I thought I’d be remiss to not include it. I’ll get there next time and update this accordingly.
Pasticceria Bianchi: I love old things and this pastry shop has been turning out brioches and other sweet delights since 1889. Some of the decor is original and it’s just quite charming. Via Vinzoni, 33
Il Laboratorio del Pesto: Pesto Genovese has a protected domination of origin. You can watch pesto demonstrations and even purchase some to take home and eat with your trofie. Shop: Via Dante Alighieri, 16 and workshop: Corso Italia 16