Chiavari Charms the Italian Riviera

Waterfront and Promenade in Chiavari,Italy
Waterfront and Promenade in Chiavari

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soaking up the sun-splashed beauty of the Italian Riviera is time well spent. The coastline is scattered with quaint and friendly seaside villages, each one unique from the others. Tall stately villas painted in warm pastel colors rise to meet the sun. Light and shadows play on the streets, bringing a depth and texture that can only be found here. The Riviera has a style all its own.

Happy Hour in Chiavari
Happy Hour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One late afternoon in Chiavari, a charming little town just south of Genoa, I found an outdoor table on the promenade. I had been wandering the waterfront and decided a glass of wine would be a perfect way to soak up the ambiance. You can imagine my surprise when the server brought my wine along with this huge plate of appetizers. “Complimentary,” he told me. Needless to say, it was delicious…and dinner never happened that evening!

The stately promenade runs along the shoreline where a passigatta seems to be continually happening. Chiavari’s wide, pristine beaches have been celebrated as a Blue Flag beach (very clean) since 1987.  Sunbathers and boaters alike dominate the scene during summer.

Beautifully Painted Buildings
Beautifully Painted Buildings

The village of Chiavari is very charming. Colors of ochre bring a richness to the towering buildings. Many have elegantly outlined windows and painted on shutters. In fact, these painted houses are very common all along the Riviera. It seems likely that this practice was an effort to prevent glare from the sun off of white buildings. However, sailors may very well have appreciated the ability to identify their own homes from a distance.

For over a hundred years, the warm Mediterranean climate attracted celebrities from central and northern Europe and Russia as a place to escape the drab and rainy weather of home.

Chiavari old town
Medieval Arcaded streets in Chiavari known as ‘carrugi’

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In the historical center of town, arcades and buildings date back to the 13th century. As I walked underneath the long rows of arcades, I noticed the width and height very dissimilar as I passed by. Many of the support columns were of different shapes and sizes.

Chiavari was for centuries an important commercial port. Hundreds of commercial businesses conducted a variety of activities under these old arcades, some of which still exist in hidden places.

The Genoese streets are perfectly straight and cross each other at regular intervals. Often in Italian towns, streets become a maze for lack of an established plan. But here in Chiavari, the layout is very definite and precise.  The lovely Genoese palaces that line some of these streets add a sense of palatial elegance.

Motor Cycle Madness in Chiavari, Italy
Motor Cycle Madness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every conceivable spot was taken in the motorcycle park located a few blocks toward the center of town. The roads all along the Riviera are narrow and winding. I can understand the need for small speedy transportation.

Duomo in Chiavari
Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Garden just a few blocks from my room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Sanctuary was built between 1613 and 1633 by Leoni Cesario Marro. It was entrusted to the Carmelite monks until they left in 1797. Inside are several valuable pieces of artwork dating from the mid-1600’s.

Bakery shop window in Chiavari, Italy
Bakery shop window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bakery put Chiavari on the map for me as well. My prosciutto, mozzarella and pesto panini was delicious and I shamelessly devoured it in no time at all.

Outdoor food market in Chiavari
Outdoor food market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chiavari has a thriving outdoor market community. Like a hive of bees, locals and tourists alike gathered tightly about the tables, picking and choosing brightly colored fruits and vegetables, hearty slabs of cheese, fresh sliced salami and meats, bread, honey and many other desirable items. Vendors gave generous portions of samples. I snagged myself a hunk of white cheese that was delicious.

Bustling shoppers among the fruits and vegetables in Chiavari, Italy
Bustling shoppers among the fruits and vegetables
Merchants restock their produce in the market
Merchants restock their produce in the market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As soon as boxes were emptied, they were immediately refilled by the merchants who kept more piled underneath their tables.

A lull at the outdoor market in Chiavari, Italy
A temporary lull in the market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chiavari is a haven of rest and relaxation in an exotic locale. The palm-lined seafront and winding medieval streets both lead to new discoveries that reveal the heart of the Italian Riviera.

8 thoughts on “Chiavari Charms the Italian Riviera

  • Hi Susan,, Chiavari sounds just so lovely. I might try to visit this lovely place while staying in Bagni Di Lucca. Thanx for introducing me to another beautiful part of Italy.

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  • My wife and I have never been to the Italian Riviera. Thanks to your wonderful
    account of your visit to Chiavari, we are putting it at the top of our list of new places to visit in Italy. We are currently surrounded by medieval-height walls of snow…
    the mounds are so hight that it’s difficult to see oncoming traffic at road intersections!
    Spring and Summer cannot come soon enough…for another chance to explore Italy–made all the more exciting by your enticing descriptions!

    Like

    • Ciao Albert,

      So glad to hear from you again. And I am tickled that you and your wife have put Chiavari on the top of your list. I really loved it there. In fact, I stayed in a monastery just a few blocks from the beach. The sisters were so charming and full of love. Thank you for your wonderful compliments. This is my goal, to help others in finding wonderful destinations worthy of a visit in Italy. Keep in touch and let me know how it goes. All the best, Susan

      Like

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