Liguria - Places to Visit - Santa Margherita Ligure
Population: 10786 Surface km : 10 Height: 13
This town is situated in a small bay on the Golfo di Tigullio between Portofino and Rapallo, which is the nearest motorway exit.
After driving along a stretch of panoramic coast road, you reach one of the most important tourist resorts of the Eastern Riviera, which expanded last century onto the hills leading up to the village of San Lorenzo della Costa.
As you climb higher, the olive trees give way to chestnut trees. In the direction of Camogli, the municipal territory forms part of Portofino Park.
Part of the Fieschi landed estate in the thirteenth century, Santa Margherita was already quite developed in mediaeval times and not only inhabited by fishermen.
But it was in the seventeenth century that many Genoese families began building their summer residences here: some of these are very impressive, such as Villa Durazzo Centurione, whose gardens are today open to the public.
It was during the same period that the old parish church of Santa Margherita Vergine e Martire was built in the town centre.
The other large church, the church of San Giacomo in Corte, was built in the following century, as was the Capuchin monastery.
The older Oratory of Sant'Erasmo holds a collection of mariners' votary objects. Also worth visiting are the old parish churches at Nozarego and San Lorenzo della Costa.
Along a fairly restricted length of coast, there is a large variety of beaches and scenery, ranging from the rocky coastline of San Michele di Pagana to the sandy bay of Paraggi, where divers can find a very varied marine life and the wreck of a merchant ship which sank in 1917.
Services and accommodation for visitors are excellent, whether you come for a holiday or a conference, and there are also many sports facilities, including the Palazzetta dello Sport (Sports Complex) and a skating rink. Sailing and canoeing can be practised all year round.