Sestri Levante is a small seaside town on Italy’s Ligurian coast that sits about half way between the beautiful and unique Cinque Terre fishing villages and the affluent and well loved Portofino. I recently visited this rustic and tranquil little fishing village and to my surprise I noticed the town was mainly full of locals holidaying with their families with a much smaller portion of international visitors. Strolling along the beachside promenade the outlook is remarkably calm with lots of pint size boats bopping up and down on the waters in the crystal light that reflects the gradually ascending mountains surrounding the village. The main beach is lined with members clubs like most of the beaches in Italy all offering their own individually unique club attributes, the sand is not yellow or white or wonderfully rocky like some of the beaches in Italy, yet more a dusty grey colour. Even so, don’t be deterred by this as the panoramic views and the inviting and relaxed attitude of locals here all contribute to the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere that Sestri Levante has to offer.
Taking a walk through the centre of town I was surprised at how low key this place is, you can forget the need or want to spend big dollars here on anything designer clad, those types of shops just don’t exist here and are left to the likes of Portofino. Sestri Levante is truly a place to rest, relax and soak up the sun. There are lots of little restaurants in town, there is always a queue at Bar Gelateria Baciollo and I definitely discovered the best beauty salon in town which is on Via Edoardo Riboli right in the centre where they offer relaxing facials and great pedicures.
Saturday is market day with many locals setting up stalls on the outskirts of the wider perimeter on the beautiful Via 25 Aprile. To direct you start your walk from Piazza Giocomo in front of the Santa Maria di Nazareth church and head down the long and narrow winding street (Via 25 Aprile) until you reach the market stalls. There is certainly no need to rush for the need to fight the crowds, even the local stall holders are often not at their stalls yet enjoying expresso at a nearby cafe or socialising at a fellow neighbouring stand occasionally glimpsing over at their stall to see if there are any bites of interest from passes by. Stalls are mainly full of brick-a-brack, hand made jewellery, its always a good spot to pick up a reduced stove top for making your morning expresso and there are even some nice little pieces or art and children’s clothing all with reasonable price tags.
pathways through rocky sandstone to the outside world.
There are many wonderful romantic staircases throughout the Castle.