Travel diary of a site inspection by María Zurita (Sales and Marketing Director at Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events).

Early in the morning, I fling open the balcony doors and gaze out at the sea. The water, tinted in various shades of blue, is calm. On the horizon, a large ship, stranded, enhances the landscape’s beauty. It’s spring, but the sun’s brilliance promises a warm day. I am in Rapallo, a small town on the Ligurian coast, very close to the iconic Portofino.

I head down to the coast, strolling alongside the trees along the path, marvelling at the old palaces and Art Nouveau villas lining the way. Each villa has its own style, and their facades boast a diverse array of colors, yet there is a beautiful elegance and harmony among them, a distinct identity.

Rapallo: the charm of the Ligurian coast, a travel diary

I reach the marina, filled with boats. I walk among them, noting the variety of sizes and designs, and the curious names their owners have given them. I watch with a touch of envy as some prepare their boats to set sail. The day is spectacular.

Continuing my walk, I cross a small bridge and, next to a garden area, find a beautiful sculptural ensemble honouring Christopher Columbus. I immediately remember that we are very close to Genoa, the capital of Liguria and the birthplace of this great explorer and navigator.

Rapallo: the charm of the Ligurian coast, a travel diary

I sit at a nearby café, from where I can watch the sea while reading a bit about Rapallo’s history. I love discovering that since the 19th century, this small town, still not overrun by tourists, has been the favourite destination of writers such as William Butler Yeats and Ernest Hemingway.

I also read with curiosity that many houses in the historic center have painted windows due to a tradition dating back to the 18th century when houses were taxed based on the number of windows.

I decide to leave the beautiful seaside views for a while and delve into the heart of Rapallo.

I am delighted to find that I am in an authentic place where the rhythm and character of the local population are palpable. Bars, restaurants, shops… It’s evident that they are run by locals, and while there are some tourists -inevitable given the beauty of the area- they are not predominant.

exploring rapallo city center

I walk through the narrow streets and, upon reaching one of the main squares, where a large church stands out, I see tall, narrow houses in various colours, with numerous painted windows. The whole setting is charming.

It’s near noon, and as I pass by a grocery store with typical products at its door, my mouth waters. I decide to make another stop and sit at one of the tables on the small terrace that the establishment has set up on the street. I leisurely enjoy some local specialties and also try a craft beer from the area.

After this culinary experience, I decide to continue my walk.

Before reaching the promenade again, I discover the Chiosco della Musica (Music Kiosk), a beautiful Art Nouveau gem whose dome’s interior is decorated with allegorical frescoes.

Soon I arrive at the Rapallo Castle, known as Castello sul Mare (Castle on the Sea), as I had read during my coffee; a fortress built in the 16th century to defend the coast. In the middle of the sea, it is a worthy symbol of Rapallo.

Rapallo: the charm of the Ligurian coast, a travel diary

The small beaches for swimmers follow one another, along with charming striped beach huts, and I reach Parco Casale (Casale Park), a green oasis of peace by the sea. I take the opportunity to rest for a while, observing the passersby who enjoy the views as much as I do.

I decide to head back, not without first stopping at a typical ice cream shop where I savour a pistachio gelato with delight. The intensity of the flavour and creaminess explain the international fame of Italian gelato.

Rapallo: the charm of the Ligurian coast, a travel diary

I pass again by the castle, the Chiosco della Musica, the promenade, the Columbus monument, the marina, the colourful villas… All under the afternoon light.

Back at the hotel, I step out onto the balcony to watch the sunset. The shades of blue have changed. The ship is gone. I look at the horizon and say goodbye to Rapallo.

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