Liguria - Places to Visit - Rapallo
Population: 29290 Surface km : 34 Height: 5
This is one of the largest municipalities on the Eastern Riviera. It lies sheltered from winds and currents in an inlet on the Golfo del Tigullio: this beautiful temperate spot was already inhabited in pre-Roman times by the Tigulli of Liguria.
Under Genoese dominion from 1229 to 1797, the castle overlooking the sea that can still be visited today was built there in 1550 for defence against numerous incursions.
Rapallo is an important international tourist attraction because of the high quality of hotel accommodation and it also hosts important cultural events, such as the national literary prize for women writers and the international cartoon exhibition.
The bathing areas are flanked by the two tourist ports, which can berth up to 900 boats.
Besides offering prestigious buildings as venues for conferences and conventions (such as the former convent of the Poor Clares, today and auditorium), the town also has a fine seaside promenade with its famous outdoor cafes.
There are excellent sports facilities, such as the Olympic swimming pools, the horse-riding club, minigolf and rifle shooting club. Also well known is the 18-hole golf course, one of the most popular in Italy, which is situated next to the ruins of the Valle Christi, a Cistercian monastery founded in 1204.
Other religious buildings of importance are the collegiate church of Santi Gervasio e Protasio, the church of Santo Stefano and the Oratorio dei Neri (with a fifteenth-century tower).
The church of San Francesco has a fine, recently-restored altar-piece by Giovanni Battista Casoni. The Sanctuary of Montallegro, which can be reached by cable car, is the most important religious centre in the Tigullio area: the patron saint's festival is held in July and is famous for its fireworks display.
The pathway leading up to the sanctuary is also very interesting, as is the route to San Fruttuoso. There are also other paths leading into the hills and looking down onto the coast.
These are part of the Monte di Portofino Nature Park and offer you a fine view of typical Mediterranean flora: olives, holm oaks, gorse and, higher up, chestnut trees.
"Cubeletti" are typical jam pastries made in Rapallo. Lace-making also has a long tradition here, and seventeenth-century Villa Tigullio houses a local lace museum.