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Italian Riviera

It’s time to farewell Tuscany and head north to the Italian Riviera.

Our route from Tuscany takes us through Pisa. We can see the leaning tower from the freeway. Don hasn’t been there, so we make a quick detour.

And I mean quick; we drop him off, do a lap around the block whilst he goes in for a look, collect him and keep going.

Don checks out the leaning Tower of Pisa

Don checks out the leaning Tower of Pisa

THE place on the Riviera is Portofino, it’s the holiday destination for the rich and famous, the St Tropez of Italy.

Lonely Planet’s description aptly sums us up: “Spending the night here might stretch the wallets of mere mortals, but it’s worth splashing out on an expensive cappuccino next to Portofino’s yacht-filled harbour, logging the ubiquity of Ferrari key-rings and Gucci handbags”.

So we opted to stay in Rapallo. We did as Lonely Planet suggested and indulge in some people watching, sipping slowly our €4 Cappuccinos (CPI all-time high).

Rapallo is easily accessed from the motorway, the first of the three well known towns along this part of the coastline, it is perhaps the less pretentious of the three and feels more of a working town than just a resort location. It holds its own charm and character.

Our hotel is right in front of a tiny 16th Century Castle, sitting on the edge of the water. The hotel balcony provides a wonderful vista across the town and the perfect place to enjoy a picnic dinner and obligatory bottle of vino.

There is a small beach bordered in blue changing boxes and palm trees. We wake in the morning to Italian opera being sung by a man tanning himself on the rocks beneath the castle.

One of the most striking features of the town are the fresco painted buildings. The window trimmings look three dimensional and it is almost impossible to tell which are real windows and which are not.

The technique has been handed down through generations. Apparently there was a window tax imposed in the 18th Century, so few were built. To keep the symmetry of the facades looking balanced, the Ligurian’s painted false windows and avoided the tax.

Santa Margherita is the town nestled between Portofino and Rapallo. A statue of Christopher Columbus greets passengers from the ferry. Born in Genoa he is a prominent figure in the Riviera.

There is a market selling locally made pottery and things, which kept Jane & I entertained.  We then had Focaccia for lunch which turns out to be another version of a pizza, with just a slightly thicker crust.

We stayed: Hotel Italia e Lido Rapallo

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Rapallo Shoreline

Rapallo Shoreline