Cozy on the Coast: Romance on the Italian Riviera

A 9 day trip to Italy 
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The Italian Riviera exudes luxury, and its indelible charm is featured in crystal clear waters, colorful homes, and historical streets. Your Italy tour is custom-tailored for romance, embracing the passionate culture and splendid natural landscapes. The scent of citrus and honey accompanies the Mediterranean aromas spanning the beloved shores near Genoa. Sixteenth-century castles and medieval churches shape spectacular skylines accentuating views of the watery horizon. Whether reveling in a sailing excursion or letting the quiet charms of hidden towns enchant you, the cozy ambiance of the romantic Riviera offers the perfect setting for a cherished Italy tour.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Alassio, Rapallo, Levanto, San Fruttuoso, Camogli, Laigueglia, Zoagli, Monterosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Lerici, Portovenere

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Alassio – Arrive in Genoa and Travel to the Gorgeous Coastal Town

Alassio is a hidden gem located on the western edges of the Liguria’s Riviera. The former fishing village now flourishes with fashionable boutiques, chic restaurants, and coastal charm. White and yellow umbrellas shade the lounge chairs positioned on the soft sand beaches. Sailboats glide across the turquoise hues of the Mediterranean Sea with a backdrop of verdant mountains separating the coastline from the border of Italy and France.

Your flight lands at Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport where your private transfer greets you upon arrival. You travel along the coastal road passing tranquil seaside towns and villages peppering the mountain ridges as the sea breeze brings a sweet and salty aroma to the air. Your iconic hotel offers a suite in which you can get cozy with views looking out to the lapping water and serene golden sands of the beach. The promenade of XX Settembre connects to cobblestone lanes that lead inland between the colorful homes and historical churches. A rounded tower along the edges of the beach was erected in the 16th century to fend off pirates and Saracens. The gorgeous, tranquil, and romantic ambiance allows you to settle sweetly into the comforts of the Italian town.

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What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Alassio – Relax in Alassio and Visit the Charming Town of Laigueglia

The morning light washes over the Mediterranean Sea and glints against the turquoise hues. Bakeries and cafes open their doors around the quaint streets of the town filling the air with the aromas of espresso and freshly baked brioche. The day is yours to enjoy the splendors of the seaside towns and the charm of hidden villages around Alassio at your preferred pace. You can stroll hand-in-hand down the promenade to the south to the village of Laigueglia, which offers a quieter, more traditional resort ambiance along the Mediterranean.

The cafes in Piazza Marconi entice you to enjoy a refreshing cappuccino accompanied by views to the pier and seafront where vibrant yellow, orange, and red buildings contrast the colors of the water. Gelaterie, local gelato shops, open their doors to show off the elaborate colors and fluffy textures of their treats. You discover the Church of Saint Mathew, erected in the late 18th century with a baroque style featuring small towers and a majolica dome. For a change of scenery, you head inland to the town of Albenga, which was once a busy Roman port. The medieval center shines with church spires and sensationally preserved 13th-century buildings immersing you in a fairytale ambiance dressed in a romantic allure. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Rapallo – Traverse the Splendors of Genoa and the Village of Zoagli

At breakfast, you listen to the gentle waves breaking on the beach as the sunlight washes over the lush hills and water. You sip an espresso to refresh your body and mind before meeting your private transfer in the lobby. You travel to Genoa, the capital of Liguria and birthplace of Cristopher Columbus. The grand city remains Italy’s leading port since defeating Pisa for maritime supremacy in the 10th century. Marble palaces and grand facades harken back to the sensational wealth flowing into the republic during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The remarkable fountain shoots arching water into the air at the center of Piazza de Ferrari, and grand buildings frame the geometric shapes decorating the plaza. The principal street of Via XX Settembre offers spectacular views to imposing 19th-century neo-Baroque architecture and secluded corners in which to sneak a kiss. Porta Soprana, located south of Piazza de Ferrari, provides a view of the preserved 12th-century walls positioned close to the childhood home of famous Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Outside the city, you return to the sea’s charisma in the serene setting of Zoagli, a town on the Italian Riviera steeped in silk shops, quality textiles, and glamorous views of the water from terraced hills.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Rapallo – Relish the Town of Camogli and a Romantic Sunset in Rapallo

At sunrise, the sea breeze rustles through the palm trees that adorn the seaside promenade. The bright colors of the buildings return with the daylight, complimenting the indigo and turquoise hues of the Mediterranean Sea. Local shops open their doors, filling the streets with the alluring scent of warm brioche and the citrus aroma of fresh produce. After breakfast, you venture to the nearby town of Camogli, known for the rainbow hues of the towering homes that reflect in the stoic sea.

Beneath the bordering cliffs, a pebbled beach leads to the water, and cafes set out tables and chairs for patrons to enjoy the views of passersby and the quiet sea. Long ago, the wives of sailors painted the tall homes vibrant colors to make the town visible from the edges of the horizon and to draw the sailors home. In the late morning, the aroma of focaccia fills the air, overtaking the semi-sweet scent of the sea breeze. For a more adventurous experience, you can board a boat and head onto the water in search of passing pods of dolphins and whales.

The lively migrating whales travel south and north between April and October, putting on a thrilling show as the breach from the water before splashing back down. The cool breeze offers a respite from the golden Mediterranean light and mist rises from the hull of the boat as you search for a fin whale. You return to Rapallo before night fall to enjoy the aroma of the water blending with the briny flavor of marinated olives. You sit at one of the cafes overlooking the shoreline and bask in the romantic colors of sunset spreading across the sky, water, and remains of Rapallo Castle.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Rapallo – Delight in Luxury and Splendid Coastal Charm at Portofino

In the early morning, you board a cable car and ride to the top of the mountain bordering Rapallo. The scenic ride takes you nearly two miles away from the shoreline before reaching the 16th-century Montallegro Sanctuary located at more than 180 feet above sea level. White marble glints on the façade, which was added in the 19th century. The remarkable emerald hues of the forest and plain lead to the enchanting coastal view, and the aroma of cool stone fills the air before fading beneath the returning sea breeze.

You return to Rapallo and take a quick ferry to the town of Portofino, watching the preserved fortress fade from view. Colorful homes rise above the moored boats in Portofino. Lush trees spread across the terraced hills leading into the mountains that separate the coastline from the inland peninsula, and olive trees bloom along the edges of the valley. The once sleepy fishing village now boasts a luxurious character embodied in the moored yachts, vivacious homes, and crystal clear hues of the Mediterranean Sea. The 12th-century Church of Saint Martin rises out of the heart of town on Via Roma. Restaurant terraces provide unrivaled panoramas to the fishing boats and textured hillsides. For the best view, you can link arms and climb the hill above the harbor to reach the 16th-century Church of Saint George.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Levanto – Travel to Secluded San Fruttuoso before Transferring to Levanto

Today, you make your way closer to the celebrated towns of Cinque Terre, which are known for their remarkable beauty and secluded ambiance. After breakfast, you make your way to the hidden shores of the Abbey of San Fruttuoso which is reachable only by boat or by trail. You revel in the cool morning air, choosing to take the trail over the hills and into the sunken bay. The Romanesque and medieval structure shimmers with white stone and is surrounded by turquoise water and emerald brush. A 16th-century stone watchtower, erected by the Doria family, aristocrats of Genoa, decorates the ridge.

Locals from around the peninsula and across Liguria travel to enjoy the serene views and secluded ambiance adorned by the presence of the abbey. The supportive archways were once the entrance into the cellars by boat before the waterline receded. You can relax under the warming sun and dip your toes into the refreshing, temperate waters. A small restaurant opens its doors and fills the air with the scent of grilled calamari drizzled with lemon and garlic. You board a private boat to return to Rapallo, and your skipper takes you past the remarkable Christ of the Abyss statue, standing 50 feet below the surface of the sea but visible through the crystal clear water.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast

Day 7: Levanto – Enjoy the Scenic Trails to Visit the Five Towns of Cinque Terre

In the morning, the quiet streets of Levanto return to life with the cafes setting out tables and chairs along the narrow passageways. The palm trees rustle in the gentle breeze over the shoreline where the water brushes against the golden sands, and surfers take to the waves breaking to the north. The point of Capo Mesco separates the relaxed piazzas of Levanto from the most northerly of the Cinque Terre towns, Monterosso. You take the coastal train less than five minutes to reach the Monterosso station where the platform offers a slim view to the azure water glistening beneath the Mediterranean light.

The slim cobblestone avenues wind between mountain promontories and beneath cliffs and towering homes glow with bright colors amidst the scent of enticing pesto. The seductive aroma lingers in the air before being taken away by the sea breeze. Basil plants grow on the terraces up to six feet tall, resembling the olive and citrus trees adorning the ridges. You take to the trail hugging the coastline, passing the lingering ruins of Monterosso Castle, embodied in the remaining three circular towers and singular square tower.

You stop in the gorgeous town of Vernazza and dip your toes into the refreshing water lapping against the rocks on the natural harbor. Locals and visitors lounge in the sunlight on the flat, warm boulders. You continue to Corniglia to meet with a local winemaker. The treasured coastline brings a unique flavor to the grapes growing in rugged mountain soil. You touch the soft, plump skin of the grapes dangling from the vines and look down at the town of Corniglia hanging above the sea at a height of nearly 330 feet above sea level. You enjoy a sample of the wine to find a refreshing citrus bite accompanying the wild herb and lemony aromatics.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Levanto – Discover the Beauty of the Gulf of Poets on a Private Boat Ride

In the morning, you bask in the luxury of your suite in Levanto listening to the waves roll onto the beach. The scent of focaccia returns to the air as you share in the pleasures of a quiet moment together, making every moment on the Italian coastline a cozy memory. After breakfast, you make your way to the marina to board a private catamaran bound for the Gulf of Poets. The sail catches the wind, and you cruise along the Mediterranean Sea enjoying the refreshing ocean air. You weigh anchor in the town of Lerici, a medieval town that was erected atop the foundations of an Etruscan settlement and that was once the home of the famous English Poet Percy Shelley.

Steep slopes lead from the quiet shores into the mountains topped with lush foliage and elegant villas. Rainbow hues decorate the homes framing the 15th-century Piazza Garibaldi. The castle adds to the fairytale scenery as it soars above the coastline with its foundations laid in the mid-12th century. You can embrace in the interior and pretend to search for pirates from the top of the tower before visiting the Museum of Geo-Paleontology. A Roman ship decorates the waters beneath La Caletta Cove, which dates back to the 1st century BC. A massive marble column is visible beneath the clear water as evidence of what the ship was transporting. You return to the boat and sail to Portovenere, located on a promontory and known for embracing a luxurious lifestyle. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Levanto – Depart for Home

The memories you have made while visiting the Italian Riviera will continue to inspire you and will always beckon you to revisit the marvelous mountains, crystal clear waters, and colorful historical architecture decorating the scenery. At breakfast, you indulge in the decadent flavors of your espresso in the company of your lover as you recall the fun, excitement, and relaxation you felt throughout your Italy tour. After breakfast, your private transfer greets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to Cristoforo Colombo Airport where you will check-in for your flight home.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Starting Price 

$2,470
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.