I have taken a decision: I want to show you all the charming villages in Liguria.
It is going to be quite an effort because there are a lot of beautiful villages in Liguria but it’s a nice sacrifice to make because it gives me the possibility of enjoying the beauty of places I know and discovering new ones too.
I have already written about Triora, the village of the witches, Borgio Verezzi, an enchanting place that you can explore with a beautiful hike, Bussana Vecchia, an old abandoned place with a unique atmosphere, and Noli, a small fishing town with ancient history.
a view of the sea from the main square of Cervo
These are all incredible places but there’s much more to discover. The place I picked for today’s day trip is Cervo, one of those charming villages in Liguria that are perched on a hill overlooking the sea, one of those places where you open the window and feel as if you can touch the sea.
The place is very small, you can visit it in a couple of hours but it is so beautiful that even basking in the sun in the main square, walking up and down the little alleys looking for nice spots to photograph or sipping a coffee at a local bar is worth the trip.
the sea and the flag of Genoa in the wind
Cervo is a little town on the Italian Riviera, near Imperia. The medieval village lies on a hill above the sea but there is also a more modern area and a nice little beach from where you get great views of the village above. Like many other places in Italy, it has a long history.
The Romans settled here more than 2000 years ago, in the second century BC and used Cervo as a sort of stopping place along the Via Aurelia, which at the time was one of the main trade routes connecting Italy to France and Spain. Later on, in medieval times, Cervo was a shelter for pilgrims and later on, between the 14th and 17th centuries, it was repeatedly attacked by Saracen pirates because the main activity of the place was the trade of coral.
some houses and the Castello dei Clavesana
When you arrive in Cervo by car, you’ll most likely find a parking spot up on the hill and enter the town through one of its little vaults. As soon as you enter the place, it seems as if all those historical events that are part of Cervo’s history are not that far away in time. The little alleys and steep cobbled streets seem somehow frozen in time and – if it wasn’t for the artisan shops and little cafès – you could easily think you have taken a step back in time.
As I said, there isn’t much to see in Cervo other than its picturesque views and its winding streets but I am sure you won’t regret your time there. Entering the town from up above, you’ll walk down until you reach the main historical attraction of the place: the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, which is also called “dei Corallini” because it has been built thanks to the money given by the coral fishermen.
a view of the church from the main square
The church is in the main square, a little cobbled terrace overlooking the sea, where a very famous classical music festival is held in summer – listening to music in the open air in such a breathtaking location must be really fascinating! From the square, you can walk along the old original defensive walls, built in the 16th century to protect Cervo from the attacks of pirates and other invaders.
The beautiful walk, in the midst of olive trees, takes you back to another square, up on the hill (it’s always going up and down, I told you), where you’ll see the Castello dei Clavesana, a castle built in the 17th century that is now the location of the local Museo Etnografico (Ethnographic Museum), where you can see how local people used to live in the past.
one of the many little alleys
These are all really interesting things but my favorite way of spending the time there is to walk up and down the streets, making sure that I do not miss any cute little corner and view, and then sit for a glass of Vermentino and a slice of focaccia at the local bar, possibly at sunset, watching the sea.
That’s definitely Liguria at its best.
As I always do with this kind of posts, I have written the Italian version of the text and saved it on a pdf file and recorded an audio file of me reading the Italian text. As usual, you will find them in Your Italian Toolbox, the private page on my site where I upload all language-learning materials. If you want to access it, you just have to subscribe to my newsletter.