In the second half of May, we decided to go to the discovery of Liguria. We had already been there last year in September to visit the Cinque Terre and we came back this time to discover a less-known Liguria, more reserved but equally full of charm.
We decided to stay in Lerici during these days, the main village in the wonderful Gulf of Poets. The name of this bay is linked to the fact that over time several artists and writers have stayed in this area, inspired by its beauty.
Lerici is certainly the largest and most famous town, but a few kilometers away there are some small villages awarded among the "most beautiful villages in Italy" such as Tellaro and Montemarcello. In this first article we want to start from here, telling you what these beautiful places have to offer.
Our first impact with Lerici was in a gloomy late afternoon. We parked the car halfway between Lerici and San Lorenzo ("La Vallata" car park) and walked the beautiful promenade towards the center. Lerici is truly wonderful, with the castle that stands out on the promontory, the small harbor and the colorful houses overlooking the main square.
Continue to the marina and you will find a staircase on the right that will allow you to reach the thirteenth-century castle. After enjoying the beautiful view of the gulf, we advise you to go down towards the center along the small alleys, really colorful and characteristic.
Once back in the center, we recommend that you visit the beautiful church of San Francesco and the smaller church of San Rocco, overlooking the main square. It is worth taking a few more steps to reach the Padula tunnel, an air-raid shelter built during the Second World War to provide shelter for people during air attacks. Inside the pedestrian tunnel reopened in 2020, signs were placed illustrating the history of the refuge, which could hold up to 21,000 people!
The small town of San Terenzo is located on the opposite side of the bay. Small in size, it maintains some characteristics similar to Lerici, such as the castle on the promontory towards the sea and some small alleys. The walk on the sea to reach it is especially pleasant towards sunset.
The small village of Tellaro, overlooking the sea with its colorful houses, has absolutely nothing less than the more popular Cinque Terre.
To reach the center, you will have to park in the upper part of the village and then continue on foot to the Marina square, which represents the heart of the town. Here on one side of the square there are many small wooden boats, which will catch your eye with their bright colors. On the opposite side, there are some ancient stone washbasins.
Looking towards the sea, continue along the short path on the right that will allow you to reach one of the most beautiful viewpoints on the village.
At this point I advise you to go back your steps and head towards the opposite side. Here you will find a covered passage, called the sottoria, part of the ancient defensive structures of the town. Through the windows of this gallery it was possible to see enemy ships approaching to raise the alarm.
Access is through a gate near the church of San Giorgio. This characteristic and unmissable church, with its pastel pink tones, was the fulcrum of the religious life of the town until the construction of the more modern church of Stella Maris, in the upper part of the village.
The "fable of the octopus" is associated with its bell tower, also described in a marble slab placed on the side of the church. According to this legend, on a stormy night when some pirates were trying to attack the city, a huge octopus emerged from the sea, clung to the bell tower and rang the bells giving the alarm to the inhabitants who were thus able to avoid the attack.
If you like walking, the small road continues beyond the church, giving you wonderful views overlooking the sea.
In its simplicity this village is a real wonder for the eyes. We visited it at different times and the afternoon is certainly the best moment for your shots because the village remains in full light.
A short distance from Tellaro, the quiet village of Montemarcello is certainly worth a visit, even if a short one. Access to the historic part is through the ancient stone door. From here you can get lost among the well-kept small alleys, characterized by houses in the pastel shades typical of Liguria.
Along via della Chiesa, you will reach the colorful Church of San Pietro. Then continue along via del Lavaccino and you will reach the heart of the village: XIII December square. The square owes its name to the tragic attack that during the Second World War led to the destruction of the houses that were in this area. Since then, the square has been the center of life in the town, with a small bar with outdoor tables. From Montemarcello there are several CAI paths that we didn't have the opportunity to experience.
Have we intrigued you with these locations? In the next articles we will continue our journey, introducing you to other splendid villages, which are located halfway between Liguria and Tuscany.
Before you leave
- How to reach them? The center of Lerici is in the Limited Traffic Zone (ZTL) with different time slots depending on the season. The car park "La Vallata" (1.5 €/h) is strategically located halfway between Lerici and San Terenzo and therefore is perfect if you want to take a walk. If you want to reach the center faster, there is a multi-storey parking with higher rates (3 €/h). In Tellaro, we advise you to park in the paid parking lots along the Via Fiascherino II, while for Montemarcello there is a free parking lot a few steps from the entrance to the town
- When to go? Lerici and the small villages in the neighborhoods can be visited in all seasons, not only in summer. Surely having visited them at the end of May, with few tourists, has allowed us to enjoy their charm even more
- Where to stay? We chose to stay in a fantastic apartment booked with Airbnb in the upper part of Lerici, at sea view villa by Rossella and Roberto. In a splendid green setting, away from the confusion of the center, but with a splendid view of the Gulf of Poets. The structure, with splendid finishes, has 3 rooms available, a beautiful balcony and a comfortable veranda for BBQs too!
- Where to eat? We have tried several restaurants and we share those that turned out to be really special for us:
- La Caletta in Tellaro, unmissable its tasting appetizer with many hot and cold proposals, mainly based on fish
- For a special occasion in Montemarcello, we recommend the Ristorante Locanda Pescarino, their spaghetti with sea urchins and ginger, smoked with beech, are not to be missed. The land or sea tasting menu is the best way to try their proposals, according to a path designed by the chef
- With a direct view of the small port of Lerici, Ristorante del Molo, traditional fish dishes, do not miss the really tasty noodles with crab
- If you want to enjoy the view over the small port of Lerici, while sipping an original cocktail, I recommend Bar Corona. Cocktails are really special, both for the ingredients and for the preparation techniques