One of Italy’s secret gems, this Ligurian port city has bright beaches, mild weather, luxurious hotels and historic architecture.
As you round the Tigullio Gulf toward Rapallo, walk along the calm waters and jutting crags to see castles and villas looking out over a beautiful harbor. Ride a cable car to a mountain sanctuary. Savor the pretty views or descend and walk along the ancient Ponte di Annibale. Relax on the beach for perfect sunbathing. See why wealthy Italians have been making this their vacation spot for decades.
Since its Greek occupation in the 8th century, Rapallo has been conquered by Lombardians, Ottomans, North African pirates and French invaders. The many territorial changes led to construction of several castles along the water and a rich blend of cultures visible in area landmarks. Here Nietzsche conceived one of his greatest books of philosophy. Poet Ezra Pound, caricaturist Max Beerbohm and theater practitioner Gordon Craig also lived here during significant phases of their lives.
Right on the water are two stunning castles. Visit the weathered and mossy Rapallo Castle, built to withstand an onslaught of pirates during the 16th century with impressive stonework visible from outside. Enter to learn about the rich histories that led to their existences today.
Visit the Basilica of Saints Gervasius and Protasius, a church located in the city’s historic center. It has undergone several renovations since its construction in the 12th century. Today, it still houses a leaning bell tower.
Make a journey by cable car up into the hills near Rapallo to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro (Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montallegro). Inside are Byzantine paintings and perfectly preserved marble and gold detail-work dating from the 17th century.
Fly into Christopher Columbus Airport near Genoa and drive 40 minutes down the coast to reach Rapallo. Once here, walk between any two points in the city in less than an hour.
Enjoy a romantic getaway or weekend trip to Rapallo, a quieter part of the Riviera. With numerous bars and fresh seafood restaurants, Rapallo is also a wonderful place to take an extended break.