Chiavari is a coastal town in the eastern part of Liguria. It is located close to the biggest tourists attractions of Liguria (Portofino 20 km, Genoa 40 km, Cinque Terre 45 km). However, Chiavari is an attraction in itself. It offers fantastic sea, the mountains, the numerous cycle lines and a great cuisine. Definitively the place to visit!
How to reach Chiavari?
- By car
– Highway A12 – is very easy, it’s enough to take a Chiavari highway exit and you get the town! More details on https://www.autostrade.it/en/home
– Aurelia SS1 – provincial way, very picturesque
- By train – its railway station is quite important. Here stop almost all types of trains. It is very well connected with Genoa, Milan and Pisa. More details on http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
It is said, that the name of Chiavari comes from a word “clavaro” that in ancient Italian meaned “key”. Probably the name was chosen because the town is located close to the sea in the place where starts four different valleys. Chiavari was a very strategic place.
The archaeological works proved that in VII/VI century BC existed a hamlet in the area where now is Chiavari. During the Roman period, the town was called Tigullia and was very important from the commercial and military point of view. In 980 Clavaro became a part of Republic of Genoa. During the Genoas domination was built a town centre and a castle. During the period of First French Empire Chiavari became a capital of Apennines Department. Then in 1814 became a part of the Kingdom of Two Sardinia and in 1861 of the United Italy.
The things to see & do
It is very easy to reach. If you arrived by train, you should go straight ahead from the railway station. You will get the main square in less than 5 minutes. The old town is the most beautiful part of Chiavari. Especially its medieval streets that are called “carruggio”. They are very picturesque and narrow with the arcades. The main and the biggest carruggio’s are via Vittorio Veneto and via Martiri della Liberazione. The interesting characteristic is that the columns of the arcades all very different one from another. Along the arcades, you will find the shops, restaurants, art galleries … perfect for a pleasant walk.
Above the old town, you can find a medieval castle. It was built in XII century. You can reach it on foot walking up a street Salita Sant’Antonio Maria Gianelli. It is located on a 100 meters high hill. The castle is a private house…. But even if it’s not possible to visit the castle, it is worth to climb on the hill anyway. From the top of it, you can admire a fantastic panorama. You can see whole Gulf of Tigullio, from Sestri Levante to Portofino!!!
Address: Piazza Matteotti
Archeological museum: from Tuesday to Saturday 9.00 am – 1.30 pm (Sunday and Monday closed); entrance free of charge
Villa: opened Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays from 10.00 am – 12.00 pm and 4.00 pm – 7 pm; entrance free of charge
Park: opened from Monday to Sunday 10.00 am – 7.00 pm; entrance: 1€
It was built in 1635 for marquis Costaguta. In XVII century became a property of family Grimaldi (very rich and important family in Liguria) and then in 1912 of the municipality of Chiavari. Inside you can visit a local archaeological museum and an art gallery.
In the archaeological museum, you can see the finds from the local excavations. The objects you can see there are the gold and silver coins, the objects made from bronze. Everything came from the period before Roman invasions.
Whereas in the art gallery you can visit the Marquis rooms and see a collection of the paintings. The most important is the „Still life” of Jan Roos and the „Thoughtfulness of Saint Lawrence” of Bernardo Strozzi.
At last the park. You have to go up a hill (again). The entrance is located in via Mafalda di Savoia. You can reach it also by car. The park is amazing. Full of various and exotic plants. You can admire a beautiful view of the Chiavari from there. The place where you can relax and take a rest.
I know that is not a season … but its good to know that in Chiavari you find many public and private beaches. There is a long promenade with bars, restaurants and shops. If you have a boat you can leave it in a local harbour which is quite big.
You find it at the western end of the promenade. A high building that was built in 1935. It was created as a summer camp for the children. During the World War became a hospital and when the war ended became a ruin. Now is in refurbishment and in 2017 become a 5 stars hotel and the highest floors become the private flats.
Where to stay in Chiavari?
Relais Rantegosa Locanda
It is a beautiful B&B located in an antique building from the XV century. The interiors are decorated in the typical, Ligurian style … very chic and cosy. The whole structure is surrounded by a private garden and the guests can use a private swimming pool. Breakfast is rich and various. The villa is located about 5 minutes walk from the town centre of Chiavari. More about Relais Rantegosa Locanda here.
Gim House Appartamento
It is a holiday home based in the central part of Chiavari. It can hosts up to 4 persons. It is modern, located close to the sea and very comfortable if you are going to visit that zone. What is more, I see it from the windows of my flat, so if you choose it for your stay, we can say hello to each other from the balcony 🙂 More about Gim House Appartamento here.
La Banchina House with Pool
A panoramic, modern house located on a hill, above SS1 Aurelia road. It is located in a halfway between Chiavari and Zoagli. From the house, you can admire a breathtaking view of the Ligurian Sea. The house can hosts up to 10 persons and has it private swimming pool (!). The zone is tranquil and peaceful but at the same time, you can reach Chiavari and other towns in less than 10 minutes ride. More about La Banchina House with Pool here.
Hotel San Pietro
It is a 2* hotel located in the front of the Ligurian Sea (!) about 10 meters from the water edge I think 😉 It is very simple and a little bit old fashioned, but clean and comfortable. It is close to the sea, close to the town centre and well connected if you wanna reach other touristic attractions. The rates are tourists friendly 😉 More about Hotel San Pietro here.
Chiavari is famous for its extra light chairs. They were invented in 1807 by Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi. There are many different models of chiavarina but the most famous are parigina and campanina. They were used even by Napoleone III and Antonio Canova. You can find them even in White House in Washington D.C. They are made from cherry-tree, maple, beechwood or ash. The price depends on the model and it is about 200€ each.
Chiavari is also famous for its delicious cuisine. The dishes that you should try are:
- Farinata – its a kind of thin, savoury cake made from chickpeas, water and oil,
- Cima – its a stuffed beef meat, rolled and stitched together with eggs, peas, carrots, parsley and Parmigiano Reggiano,
- Verdure ripiene – the stuffed vegetables like onions, peppers or zucchini,
- Torte salate – salted cakes – with different types of vegetables and cheeses like potatoes, pumpkins with Parmigiano Reggiano, zucchini with ricotta, chard with ricotta … delicious!
I believe that is really a good idea to rent a flat or find a hotel or b&b in this area. Here they cost much less than in Santa Margherita, Portofino, Sestri Levante, Cinque Terre etc and you can visit all that sites anyway. Here you can also see an authentic Liguria … for me is priceless 😉