Coming from Genoa, Levanto is the town that precedes the Cinque Terre. Equipped with a wide sandy beach, Levanto is a town that has managed to combine modernity and tourism with tradition, history and culture. Levanto has free beaches, bathing establishments, rental services, a wide variety of accommodations, the possibility of practicing numerous sports such as trekking and aquatic disciplines. During the summer season the evenings are animated by a rich program of events and parties. Lying in its bay that stretches from the Mesco promontory to the Levanto peak, surrounded by hills covered with olive groves and maritime pines, the town is a renowned holiday resort since the immediate post-war period and part of its territory falls within the Five National Park Lands and the Marine Protected Area.
The origin of Levanto is very ancient and in Roman times there was already a structured village in the hills above but the area was already frequented during the Bronze and Iron Age, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds discovered in the promontory that separates Levanto from Bonassola. The seaside village developed during the 13th century and became an important commercial maritime center, a natural outlet for goods coming and going from the important center of Varese Ligure and the Val di Vara. The development of trade grew further during the domination of the Republic of Genoa, which had the foresight to boost traffic in local products such as wine, oil and the Levanto red marble. Most of the noble villas built in the western part of the river and the castle date back to the Renaissance.
Castle: the original nucleus of the castle of Levanto is mentioned for the first time in 1165 and was probably owned by the Malaspinas. What we see today is a profound reworking, carried out by the Genoese, of the ancient original nucleus in the second half of the sixteenth century, a period in which the city walls were also built, whose remains are widely visible throughout the historic center. Its structure is quite simple, with a circular tower and four quadrilateral walls. Inside there is a large cistern and once there were the two cannons now placed in Via G. Semenza. Legend has it that secret passages from the castle connected it to the beach and to the Church of the Annunciation, after having crossed the whole village below ground. Today it is privately owned and can only be seen from the outside.
Church of Sant'Andrea: the religious building dominates the oldest part of the village, the medieval one, to the south. The date of its construction is lost in the mists of time, we only know that it is mentioned in documents of the twelfth century. An imposing example of Ligurian Romanesque style, the Church of Sant'Andrea is dominated by the alternating colors of white and black. The façade, in white bands, is in Carrara marble and alternates green serpentinite, a decorative motif typical of Genoese Gothic architecture. The marble rosette complete it, apotropaic heads, a Gothic portal with a lunette. Thanks to the restoration, the interior retains its medieval appearance, with an altar in white Carrara marble, works by Ligurian artists, a monumental organ from the end of the 1500s, a baptismal font in local red marble, a wooden crucifix from the 15th century , revered by the population after its exceptional discovery on the beach, and, finally, a rich set of Renaissance silverware.
Medieval center and the Loggia: in the narrow alleyways, such as via Guani and via Paraxo, it is possible to see medieval remains: sculpted portals, lunettes set in the facades, historic doors with walls that lead to the Clock Tower or palaces like Casa Restani in via Grillo, an admirable example of a merchant building where goods unloaded from ships were crammed on the ground floor, testifying that once the sea came to touch this inner area. La Loggia is a UNESCO monument and dates back to the 13th century. Connected to the ancient port-canal, it was a municipal archive and a place of control and weighing of goods. Its current appearance dates back to the late Middle Ages, with arcades supported by pillars in Romanesque and serpentine style. It preserves a painting of an orange rose window on a yellow background, a fresco of the "Annunciation of Mary" from the 15th century, tombstones in white marble and slate and ancient coats of arms of Levanto and the Republic of Genoa.
The seafront: the waterfront has a wide and comfortable path for walks along the entire bay, public gardens and in the eastern end, the Pietra, the docking point for the ferries that connect Levanto to the Cinque Terre and to the other towns of the Levante Ligure. Here is also Villa Agnelli with its lush gardens, diving centers, surf schools, of which Levanto is one of the Italian homelands.
Maremonti Cycle and Pedestrian Path: at the opposite end of the bay with respect to the Stone, in the Valle Santa locality, there is the beginning of the Maremonti Cycle and Footpath that connects Levanto, Bonassola and Framura through a path taken from the abandoned railway stretch, almost entirely in the tunnel, interspersed with openings with breathtaking panoramic sea views. The route is about 5 km long, easy, flat, paved, ideal all year round for sports such as walking, jogging, biking, skating, skate etc. The track can be used for free, you can rent bicycles in all three connected locations and in some places you can go down to the sea to relax in pleasant small beaches. The lengthening of the route is planned, to join also Monterosso al Mare and Deiva Marina.
The surroundings: the Levanto valley is vast and dotted with ancient picturesque villages, including those of Lavaggiorosso and Montale. Lavaggiorosso is famous for the colorful facades of its houses that climb the steep ridge of the mountain with parallel rows and the painted doors of the houses. The town has maintained its structure of the medieval period with almost intact passages, remains of walls almost everywhere, portals in local stone. Montale is the most ancient inhabited center of the Levanto valley, the very ancient "Ceula" from which the people who founded the town at sea started. Everything originates from the parish church of San Siro, documented from the 11th century, when its bell tower actually served as a watchtower, strategically placed on the ancient pre-Roman track, the Via Ligurum, which passed here.
How to reach Levanto:
Levanto bike rental:
Levanto Diving Center and Surf Schools
Information Office Tourist Reception Levanto, Piazza Cavour 1, Telephone: 0187 - 808125, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Opening times to the public: Monday to Saturday 9 am-1pm and 3 pm-6pm; Sundays and holidays 9 am-1pm.