What do I remember most about Chiavari?
There were bright and colourful palatial villas that looked like they belonged in an episode of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Did anyone live in them, I wondered? Were they a lingering tribute to a glamorous life long past? Perhaps, they were now museums.
Then I remember strong feelings of melancholy walking through the town on an unseasonably warm October day. Wandering aimlessly, I took photos of the mostly empty streets and felt a sense of loneliness. I pondered whether or not Chiavari came to life during the spring and summer months, when tourists come to experience the Ligurian coast and swim in the clean, blue waters.
And I tasted wine so unbelievably good that I wanted to cry tears of joy. Not knowing when I’d try something so perfect again, I kept drinking more, even though my liver was already at its limit.
Finally, I discovered the most romantic place in Italy to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean. Golden blue hues, sunrays bursting through the clouds, light reflecting off the sea: a moment so beautiful that I was rendered speechless.
Spotlight on Chiavari, Italy
Just over a year and a half ago, I toured through Liguria and created a series of Instagram destination features that included Porto Venere, Varese Ligure, Chiavari and Camogli. Each town was delightfully unique and it was hard to pick a favourite.
I always thought that Porto Venere had won my heart over all the others. I even wrote about Porto Venere, as seen from the sea. I often dreamed of visiting there again, walking in the footsteps of Lord Byron, eating more of their locally harvested mussels, wandering through the castle by the sea and pretending that I was an extra in a scene from Game of Thrones.
Then sorting through my photo archives, I came across my travel photos of Chiavari and felt a certain joy revisiting my images. I was immediately compelled to share them here.
The Colourful Streets of Chiavari
Chiavari is a small fishing town on the Ligurian coast. Its streets are cheerful, full of colour and character. Almost seems like a perfect location to film a Pharrell Williams Happy inspired video.
Stereotypical Italy in Chiavari
What’s an Italian town if it doesn’t embody some of the country’s most stereotypical clichés? Narrow cobblestoned streets, cathedrals, laundry hanging outside to dry and parked vespas …
Fancy Pants Villas in Chiavari
Apparently, citizens of Chiavari were ardent explorers who made their way to South America in the 19th century. They later brought home their wealth (and ostentatious tastes) and built these palatial villas.
Chiavari Golden Hour
While you may be expecting photos of that sunset I described, I’m saving that for a later article. For now, enjoy these dreamy filled urban photos of Chiavari.
Chiavari by Night
At night, my friends and I walked through Chiavari and found it to be virtually empty. It was certainly so different from Genoa where locals crowd the streets at night, chatting, drinking and celebrating life. Perhaps it was the time of year or day of the week. Maybe it was Italy’s rather sombre economic plight.
While the night walk was a bit eerie, the town was truly stunning by night.
The Final Word
So is Chiavari worth a visit? Heck, ya! Or as Walter White of Breaking Bad would say …
It’s a gorgeous town, as most places in Italy actually are. Like me, you can wander and feel the spirit of the place. The regional wine is top notch. It has less tourists than Cinque Terre, which means it’s probably cheaper. There’s no way you can go wrong.
Good To Know
- Random fact – the town is famous for its Chiavari chairs and created an entire industry around it.
- While in Chiavari, I stayed at Hotel Monte Rosa, a family-run hotel that’s been around since 1909.
- I had that unbelievably good wine and equally good dinner at the Lord Nelson restaurant.
- Grab a seat near the waterfront during sunset to have one of the most incredibly beautiful experiences of your life.
- Read more about day-to-day life in Chiavari on the travel blog This Italian Life.
- Ligurian towns like Chiavari are a great alternative to Cinque Terre where you can take romantic seaside walks and see flower petals line the streets of Riomaggiore.
* Disclosure – My time in Chiavari was complimentary, courtesy of Liguria Tourism. Any opinions expressed about my love for wine, sunsets and fancy pants villas are entirely my own.