Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ferry from Rapallo

Rapallo waterfront.
There was a slight chill in the air as we left Milan to catch the train to Rapallo, one of the bigger towns on the Ligurian coast. 
This area is better known as the Italian Riviera, famous for its lavish hotels, luxury resorts and celebrity guests.  Our plan was to catch the local ferry, and hop on and off, to visit the picturesque villages along the coast. We discovered that you don't need a fortune to enjoy this exclusive destination as some of the best things are free, well almost free.
But not the beach.  You need to pay to go to the beach.  
From Rapallo, we took the ferry all the way around the peninsular to Abbazia di San Fruttuoso.
This fascinating monastery can only be reached by boat, or by foot.  It was built in the 10th century. For a couple of hundred years, a group of Benedictine monks lived there until the 13th century when the Doria family from Genova acquired the entire area.
The same family maintained the site till 1983, when they donated it to the FAI (the Italian equivalent of the Historic Houses Society).  Now it houses a museum which documents the natural disasters that the buildings have endured and the subsequent efforts, by various groups, to restore and maintain this unique monastery.  
After our visit we enjoyed a relaxing picnic with a beautiful view over the small beach in front of the Abbey.  Then it was back on the ferry for our next stop, Portofino.
As we strolled through this pretty, little town, we kept an eye out for its famously fashionable residents.  While we didn't spot Signori Armani, Dolce or Gabbana, we saw many of their clients lunching in the restaurants along the harbour, and we did catch a glimpse of the lifestyles of the rich, and possibly famous, as we left town.
Walking from Portofino to Santa Margherita, a small truck overflowing with baskets of white flowers passed us. Then just round the next bend was the local church, beautifully decorated, as were the guests who were starting to arrive for a wedding.  Perhaps a famous somebody?
Even on a rather grey, overcast day, the coastline was beautiful.   
After only an hour's walk we arrived in Santa Margherita with plenty of time before we caught the ferry back to Rapallo.  
Perfect timing to enjoy a glass of prosecco and a beer at one of the empty beachside bars. I'm sure it would be a very different view during the holiday month of August.
Our final stop on the ferry saw us sailing past some incredible yachts.
For only the cost of a ferry ticket, we enjoyed a glimpse of the one of the playgrounds of the rich and famous.  A little slice of the Italian coast where the beautiful views are free, in all directions.  

Ci vediamo prossima settimana! 

In Rapallo we'd recommend:
Where we stayed: Home sweet home AirBnB 150E (2nights). A basic, but comfortable apartment very close to the centre of Rapallo.
Where we ate:  We had a great lunch at La Goletta. Sensational pesto spaghetti! 2 courses, wine, water and coffee 12E per person.  
The round trip ferry ticket was 16E. You can get on and off as you wish.  


  1. LOOKS FANTASTIC (i don't often get carried away - but these are pictures are truly inspirational).

    1. Too kind Gerard. The photos are mostly the work of Stefano! Talented bloke.

  2. Love the new blog look Jen and love the post. You certainly have no shortage of lovely places to go to in Italia!

    1. Thanks for noticing the new blog look. I was tempted to move it over to Wordpress but I'm not brave enough. A freshen up for now. Just found another easy day trip destination yesterday, Vigevano. Really charming and only 30mins on the train. Details coming:)

    2. Me too re Wordpress but instead have just done a minor renovation. Look forward to reading about Vigevano.

  3. Ahhh Liguria my second love, we have a house in Veravo just minutes from the beach. Just no money to renovate it at the moment. I love all your photos xxx

    1. Thank you Lisa. Yes we had a lovely weekend and look forward to returning. Wish we had the money and the talent for renovating. I've read your description of the house in Veravo most enviously. Hope all is well in the mountains. We hope to visit one day.