Noli, the town of Christopher Columbus!

Noli is a small, lovely town in western Liguria. What is more, it has a beautiful sea and a very rich history. Definitely, you shouldn’t miss it!

How to reach Noli?

  • by car

–  A10 motorway – Spotorno motorway exit and then follow the road signs to Noli. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the town. More info here.

–  SS1 Aurelia – state road that leads along the shore … it is very picturesque.

  • by train –  Noli hasn’t got a railway station. However, you can get off at Spotorno railway station (Spotorno-Noli) and then take a bus 40.  A ticket costs 1,50€/90 minutes. More info here and here.


The town existed in the period of Roman domination. At that time was called Naboli. Then in the V century, it was destroyed by Lombards. After that, it was rebuilt and became a maritime power (!).  It had also its own navy and was independent of Genoa. The town took apart even in the First Crusade!  At the end of the XVIII century became a part of the Ligurian Republic that was created by Napoleon and after that was included in United Italy.

Things to see & do:

The most interesting part of Noli is its old town. It is located along SS1 Aurelia and has very well preserved Medieval walls. You enter the town through one of the town gates. Inside the old town, you will see many narrow, lovely streets that lead to a square Piazza Morando. There you can see Oratorio di Sant’Anna (Oratory of Saint. Anna)

If you are hungry, in front of the church you find a bakery that prepares fantastic focaccia and other local specialities (you should try pane dei pescatori which means bread of fishermen …  it is DELICIOUS!!!)

Apart from the oratory, you notice some towers. One is the Town Hall tower (Torre Comunale). It is a part of a building that in the past was a seat of the government of the Republic of Noli. Nowadays it is a seat of the local Town Hall. Next to it, you will see the Tower of the Four Songs (Torre dei Quatro Canti) that nowadays is a part of a private house.

However, the biggest attraction of the town is its castle!

Castello di Monte Ursino (Castle of the Ursino Mountain)

Address: Strada Provinciale 54

Opening: Friday/Saturday/Sunday

9.00 am-12.00pm & 3.00pm-7.00pm

Ticket: 2 € & 1€

You can reach it from the old town going up by via Vescovado. It is quite steep but the view is really stunning! After about  30 minutes you reach the castle.

It was built between the X & XV century. From there start the defensive walls that surround the whole old town of Noli. From the castle was possible to control the whole zone of Noli. It was used until the XVII century. Then lost its importance. The castle was restored in the XX century and now it is visitable.

However, a place that attracts the most tourists to Noli is its beach. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Liguria. It is called the fishermen beach. In fact, you will find numerous boats that are parked on the beach. The sea has a beautiful, azure colour here and it is really very picturesque.


  • from Noli departed even Christopher Columbus. He sailed to Holland, but the ship had sunk before it reached that country. Fortunately, Columbus survived 😉
  • Noli is listed in the list of the most beautiful hamlets of Italy. It means that the town is really very beautiful 😉

Come to Noli and check it 😉

6 Replies to “Noli, the town of Christopher Columbus!”

  1. thank you for the information about Noli1 I have stayed in Finale ligure marina many times, most recently in february but have not yet been to Noli… would appreciate your opinion of varigotti also! tante grazie bernard

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      Hi Bernard! Varigotti is a small and very pretty fishermen village. During the summer season, it is very lively and crowded place but I love it. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and fantastic sea. So if you are looking for beautiful places where you can swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing Varigotti is the best place in Liguria 🙂 In this period (April) it is a little bit desolated, many restaurants, hotels and bars are still closed or are opened only during weekends. Cheers, Agata 🙂

  2. I miss noli and varigotti very much but… Giordano Bruno detto il nolano nacque a Nola. He wouldn’t be happy about the mishap

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      I found the information about Giordano Bruno’s birth on the internet … and now I am researching and you are right! I correct it immediately! Thanks!

  3. Indeed, Giordano Bruno was born in Nola near Naples, but he had to flee from Naples and Rome, and his first place of shelter was the small Republic of Noli! He stayed in Noli for a couple of months (I believe in 1776/77) and he was engaged as a children’s teacher there. Beyond, it is reported that he gained some of his important insights during his time in Noli. So there is good reason to make reference on Giordano Bruno in a webpage about Noli, even though he has been born in Nola, not in Noli.

    1. That's Liguria! says: Reply

      Thank you for your comment 🙂

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