1-day tours


1-day tour: AN UNKNOW EMERALD: THE VARA VALLEY

We meet the guide and departure for Varese Ligure by coach following the valley of the Vara River. This village is still keeping its old urban structure as a treasure. This structure is unique and is called “borgo rotondo” – round old center – in which squares, streets and buildings have grown around the church or the castle along curve lines making an evocative layout and beautiful pieces of architecture.

Varese Ligure was the gateway between the Republic of Genova and the Po-Lombard Duckiest. Varese Ligure is the capital of the Vara valley and the largest commune of the valley. Its territory keeps all the most important historic, monumental and artistic memories of the valley.

We visit Piazza Fieschi with its Castle, San Filippo Neri Church that houses superb paintings. Among them we see an impressive baroque painting of Gregorio de Ferrari who worked in Genoa in 1600. We get to the Parrish Church and the Oratory of S. Antonio e Rocco that is one of the most acclaimed monuments in the district of Varese Ligure.

Free time for dashing around, browsing among shops and buying the typical products of this region such as the “corzetti”, small discs of pasta decorated with flower patterns and delicious with pesto sauce, or the “sciuette”, small sweets prepared by the closed order of the Augustinian nuns who stick a secret recipe.

We can find dried boletus and mushrooms, different kinds of cheese, sausages and some traditional sweets such as the “Buccellato”, the “Pan dolce” and in fall the “Castagnaccio” made of chestnut flour, pine-seeds and raisin.

Lunch at a restaurant.

In the afternoon, we travel to Pignone. It is a small village, very old and with some typical features of the Ligurian hinterland. We have a nice walk, we discover an ancient bridge, a public loggia that dates back to Medieval Age and we can go shopping in the “botteghe” for some delicious sausages.

We then travel to Brugnato. It is the ancient Diocese which was a rival of Luni in the Middle Ages. Brugnato became a Diocese in 1133 but the Cathedral dates back to the 6th c. when it was founded by the Irish monk San Colombano.

The village is tong-shaped and there is a lot of interesting evidence of its glorious past. We walk along the main street, which stretches between Porta Soprana e Porta Sottana, the Piazza Maggiore. We visit the Cathedral, which dates back to 11th c. and houses an unusual archaeological path.

Many little shops sell the typical products of Brugnato’s gastronomy, which is closely related to the Ligurian traditions. Here we can find some cavagnetto and canestrello sweets, the local dairy products (caciotte, ricotta and scamorza). The sausages are prepared following a farmer recipe and are excellent.

1-day tour: GOLFO PARADISO

Leaving quite early form our hotel, we reach Camogli, an old maritime village that kept intact its medieval centre, made of high houses, leaning on each other and crossed by climbing alleys, flight of steps and tight arcades.

After visiting the village and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, decorated with paintings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, you proceed to the Tirreno Aquarium, located in the only tower left of the Dragone Castle. Later, we head to the interesting Maritime Museum “Gio Bono Ferrari” which exhibits the antique tradition of the town.

At about 11.30 a.m. we board for a suggestive excursion to San Fruttuoso (30 minutes by boat), a small fishing village, where we can visit the homonymous Abbey.

Back in Camogli, a break to enjoy lunch in one of the typical restaurants of the area.

From here we go to Nervi where, walking in the three seafront great parks, we find the Grapallo, Serra and Grimaldi Villas.

The last one is the seat of the Frugone Collection, which brings together several pieces of Italian painters of the nineteenth century.

After visiting the exposition, around 5.30 p.m. going back to Camogli, we stop in Sori and then in Recco where we can taste the famous cheese focaccia, a speciality of the area.

From here we return to our hotel.

1-day tour: RAPALLO, SANTA MARGHERITA E PORTOFINO

Leaving from your hotel we reach Rapallo, a very old village situated in a beautiful position inside the Gulf of Tigullio.

The tour in the heritage centre of the village, crossed by narrow alleys called “carruggi” and rich antique buildings, is even more interesting following the footpath of the Cultural Park of Tigullio.

We can discover the several literary references, spread all over the village, which has always been visited by famous poets and artists.

After a walk on the Vittorio Veneto seafront, stretching from Marconi square to the Castle, which often holds art exhibitions, the tour proceeds towards Santa Margherita where we can visit, before and after lunch, the elegant village, the refined boutiques of dell’Arco Street, the seafront and the port.

From Santa Margherita we board for a trip that takes us to the discovery of the Nature Park of Portofino and, after, to the town of Portofino.

We arrive to the famous square paved with cobblestones right on cocktail and shopping hour, when it is not rare to bump into some VIP, the famous guests of this fascinating maritime village.

1-day tour: MONTEMARCELLO, SARZANA E MARINA DI MASSA

From your hotel we reach  Montemarcello Magra around 9.00-9.30 a.m.

The first hours of the morning are dedicated to the visit of the Regional Natural Park with a guided excursion to the botanic garden (35-minute walk; the visit lasts about 1 hour).

Back to the starting point, around 11.30 a.m., we pass Lerici through a panoramic road, and we go to Sarzana where we can have lunch with typical local dishes.

In the afternoon we visit the enchanting village of Sarzana, the citadel, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Parish Church of Sant’Andrea.

At around 5.00 p.m. we go up to the Sarzanello fortress which, located on the hill where the old Castrum Sarzanae was built, overlooks the whole Valley of Magra.

From here we go on towards Tuscany for an evening walk in the centre of Marina of Massa where we can finally enjoy a great ice cream in one of the many seafront ice-cream parlour.

1-day tour: COLONNATA, CARRARA’S MARBLE CAVES, VERSILIA

Departing from your hotel we leave to reach the village of Colonnata which is easily reachable from Carrara.

It is a small village totally inhabited by quarrymen and located in a beautiful panoramic position.

After tasting the famous and savoury lard, we head towards the Marble Cave of Fantiscritti, where we can visit the Fantiscritti Outdoor Museum which exhibits the extraction techniques.

Back to Carrara we may have lunch and then travel on the Versilia coast, through Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, Lido di Camaiore and Viareggio.

Here we can relax with a nice walk in the huge pine-wood or maybe prefer the busy seafront near liberty buildings, seaside resorts and refined boutiques till the late aftenoon.

1-day tour: LERICI, TOUR OF THE ISLANDS, PORTOVENERE

Departing from your hotel, we reach Lerici, in Garibaldi Square, at 9.00 a.m. we go up the characteristic alley called “carruggio” that takes to the Castle, stopping in several panoramic points.

After a brief stop in San Giorgio Square, from where we can enjoy a fantastic view of the Poets’ Gulf, we visit the Castle and the Geopalaeontological Museum.

Going down the steep flight of steps towards Calata Mazzini, we walk to the port where, at around 11.00 a.m. we board for the tour of the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. (approximately 1.30 hour by boat).

We reach Portovenere and after lunch, we visit this marvellous village, the Church of San Lorenzo, which holds an ecclesiastic ornament exposition, called The Treasure of San Lorenzo, the Church of San Pietro and Byron’s Cave.

From here, we walk through the “carruggio”, cut by three picturesque flights of steps that connects the Castle to the sea.

Towards the evening we return by boat to Lerici, La Spezia or Cinque Terre.

1-day tour: CINQUE TERRE WALKING ALONG THE “BLUE PATHWAY” AND THE “PATH OF LOVE”

Instead of travelling by train, the more experienced “walkers” may follow the footpath, which is very demanding and requires good hiking skills: look up Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path).

The Cinque Terre own a large part of their tourist success thanks to the paths that wind along the coast or reach sanctuaries which overlook each village. The path that connects Riomaggiore to Monterosso is the most famous and spectacular one and is called the “blue path” (“sentiero azzurro”). In order to travel the whole path, one needs to walk for about five hours and to go through a difference in height of 500 meters.  The path was traced over the centuries by those who used it to travel from place to place, therefore in some points, it is a real bridle path which unwinds itself by the seaside and connecting the five villages amongst themselves.

Riomaggiore – Manarola (20 minutes)

Starting from the Riomaggiore train station, going up on the left, one can find the access stairs, with ramps for the handicapped, that lead to the Path of Love (Via dell’Amore), the typical path connecting the village to Manarola. The path was dug in the hard rocks and runs close to the sea on which it leans out. Along the way, you can see various types of vegetation such as agaves, pitosfori, Indian fig, vanilla plant, rue and many others.

Manarola – Corniglia (40 minutes)

Once in Manarola, more precisely in the Marina, the path offers two possible way to continue, depending on the time available. If you aren’t in a hurry, you can do the “Birolli” walk which leads to Palaedo. It is a 250 meters section which turns around the Punta Bonfiglio and which has recently been equipped with a playground and a petanque field. Otherwise, you can clamber up the slope which leads to the cemetery of Manarola where the path continues evenly now, skirting the sea. The last section of the path is characterised by a long gravelled and pebbled beach which takes the place of the rocky cliffs.

Corniglia – Vernazza (1 hour 40 minutes)

The path continues, skirting the numerous vineyards of Corniglia. The atmosphere is shady and the land is covered by a meadow where there are many plants such as anemones, orchids and lords-and-ladies. One then goes down small stairs on the left and walks through olive trees, vineyards and Mediterranean maquis until overlooking the residential area of Vernazza.

Vernazza – Monterosso (2 hours)

It is the toughest section of the path. You need to exit the village and start going up towards the cemetery, which skirts the path. The bridle path is in steep gradient: one quickly reaches the altitude of 150 meters; from this moment on, one will continue, slightly going up and down, till the precipitous descent towards Monterosso. Going forward, one goes through the Mediterranean maquis which covers the now abandoned pieces of land. The vegetation is quite diverse, you can find holm oaks, arbutus, white heather Spanish broom, and juniper.

1-day tour: CINQUE TERRE FROM LA SPEZIA BY TRAIN

We leave from the Railway Station of La Spezia in the early morning and in about ten minutes by train we reach Riomaggiore.

After visiting the village, in about 20 minutes of easy walk, we proceed along the Via dell’Amore (Love Road) to Manarola. After crossing the Gallery, near the train station, we reach the village.

We go back to the train station, and in 10 minutes by train, we reach Vernazza, where we may have lunch.

After visiting the village of Vernazza, we move on to Monterosso.

In Monterosso, besides visiting the old village, we can go to the beach and enjoy a plunge in the sea.

Around 6.30 p.m. we return by train to La Spezia or we can get the ferry to Portovenere, a famous village at the entrance of the Poets’ Gulf.

We can go around for about one hour and then we get again the ferry to reach the centre of La Spezia.