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The seaside resort at Levanto is a short distance west of the famous Cinque Terre villages and a good base if you are exploring this beautiful region, as well as having a good quality beach and an interesting historic centre of its own to discover.
Visitors to the Cinque Terre villages will quickly realise that while they are very beautiful they are missing one vital ingredient for a summer holiday - beaches! This is where Levanto comes in...either as a trip to the beach from the villages or as a good base for exploring the Cinque Terre which is very close by.
The beach at Levanto, long and sandy, is among the best on this section of coast and lined with a good choice of small cafes. It can get rather crowded in the height of summer.
The town has a very pleasant town centre with a lively promenade, two separate historic districts and lots of quaint streets and alleys to explore as well as the more visited streets of shops and restaurants, and should be thought of as a destination rather than simply as a gateway town to the Cinque Terre.
The seafront promenade is the centre of activity in Levanto, always lively and very popular in summer, and the chance to see some lovely seafront villas - one of these, Villa Agnelli, has beautifully maintained gardens that are open to the public.
The oldest region of Levanto, called Borgo Antico, is centred around the Piazza del Popolo and Piazza della Loggia where there are a couple of interesting monuments to see such as the medieval loggia and the Church of Sant'Andrea, both dating from the 13th century. The church is in the striped design that is common in the region and northern Tuscany and incorporates a beautiful (if rather oversized!) rose window in the facade.
You can also see a small but very sturdy medieval castle with towers and crenellations just behind the Church of Sant'Andrea, although it is not open to the public, and follow a walk next to the medieval walls in Levanto.
The more recent Borgo Nuovo developed in the 15th century and also has some nice villas - often painted in brifght colours - to admire and is based around Piazza Cavour. In this district you can also see the Church of San Rocco and the very ancient Oratory of San Giacomo Maggiore
If you are staying here you will also find a wide choice of restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets.
The world famous coastal villages of the Cinque Terre are a short distance along the coast to the south-east of Levanto and easily reached by train. These are an unmissable highlight of your visit to eastern Liguria!
In the other direction, if you travel west from Levanto there is a whole string of resorts along the Riviera di Levante that are very popular, in particular with Italian holidaymakers, such as Deiva Marina, Sestri Levante (the largest resort on this stretch of coast), Lavagna and Chiavari.
We also recommend you take the time to follow one of the roads that heads north into the forested hills to the north of Levanto to discover a quieter yet still very scenic part of Liguria and several picturesque villages.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Liguria guide.