Riviera di Levante, one of the best coastal drives in Europe

Facts

Location: Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy

Length: 68.4 km

Built: 1878

Wide: minimum 5 m, standard

Surface: asphalt

Surface quality (out of 5): 4 – 5

Operating times: throughout the year

SS 1 Strada Statale 1 Via Aurelia, SP 227 Strada Provinciale 227 di Portofino

Route: Genoa – Nervi – Recco – Camogli – Santa Margherita Ligure – Portofino – Rapallo – Zoagli – Chiavari – Sestri Levante

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Description

The Italian Riviera is the narrow coastal strip located between the Ligurian Sea and the Maritime Alps. This region of north-western Italy is worldwide famous for its stunning beaches, quaint fishing villages and breathtaking landscapes.

The exquisite Riviera di Levante (English: The Coast of the Rising Sun) is the section extending eastwards from the region’s capital, the beautiful city of Genoa, towards Capo Corvo.

Beloved by celebrities, writers and the high society, the Riviera di Levante offers an unique itinerary with fairytale-like towns nestled amidst jagged rocks, fresh air and pure nature tirelessly improven upon by man.

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Beginning from Genoa, we work our way down the coast heading for the small but picturesque town of Sestri Levante. The entire trip is 68.4 km long and can be done in about 2 hours, although it’s highly recommended to reserve an entire day or two in order to discover and appreciate the many marvels that the Riviera di Levante has to offer.

Following the ancient road Via Aurelia (SS 1), the first point of interest is the popular seaside resort of Nervi, a former fishing village surrounded by a gorgeous waterfront promenade, groves of olives, oranges and lemons and beautiful gardened villas.

Continuing East along the coast, you will pass through Recco, a small town well-known for its focaccia al formaggio (focaccia with cheese) and head towards Camogli, an ancient fishing village and a much appreciated tourist resort located on the west side of the peninsula of Portofino. This idyllic town is known for its tall, colorful houses lining the waterfront, that once helped the local fishermen find the way back to their port.

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You will now leave Via Aurelia behind and drive down to Portofino, following the splendid coastal road Strada Provinciale 227 di Portofino (SP 227). One of the jewels of the Riviera di Levante and the favorite of the rich and famous, especially during the 1950’s, Portofino is today one of the most popular seaside resorts along the Italian Riviera. It’s worthwhile to stop here for a half-day excursion.

Finally, the route now runs back to Via Aurelia from Rapallo, an elegant resort town, and as far as Sestri Levante, the end point of the journey. Sestri Levante is a charming town that has its origins as an ancient maritime and merchant center. Originally a small island with a promontory, it was later connected to the mainland. Most noteworthy, Sestri Levante is now slowly turning into a tourist hotspot and has become in recent years quite a favorite among Italians and visitors.


Italy_Mountain_RivieraDiLevante_LaCervara_roads2drive Italy_Mountain_RivieraDiLevante4_roads2drive Italy_Mountain_RivieraDiLevante3_roads2drive Sestri Levante, veduta al tramonto della Baia del Silenzio. Italy_Mountain_RivieraDiLevante_Rapallo_roads2drive Italy_Mountain_RivieraDiLevante_Camogli_roads2drive

Photos: italytravelandlife.com, mediaset.it, panoramio.com, fullwonders.com, ytimg.com, hotelrosabianca.it, homeaway.com, cdninstagram.com, portofino.it

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