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Photo of Varese Ligure

Visit Varese Ligure

The hill town of Varese Ligure is in a quiet location in the Vara Valley, in the hills of north-east Liguria, to the east of Chiavari. and north of the villages of the Cinque Terre. The town is interesting because of the unusual circular layout of the town - hence the name Borgo Rotondo - the attractive medieval houses and the small fortress.

Exploring Varese Ligure

In the centre of the village there is an old stone bridge across the river Vara, which is a good place to start your visit with a stroll along the riverside and a chance to see the colourful river facing houses.

colourful houses in historic centre of Vasere Ligure

The historic centre is very unusual in being planned to a circular design, and the houses are paid in lovely bright colours and many retain the original arcades at ground floor level which adds further to the interest of a visit. Some of the houses such as those in Via Garibaldi also feature decorative frescoes.

This unusual town layout dates from the 13th century.

The principal historic monuments of interest here in Varese Ligure are the 15th century castle and the 17th century Church of San Filipo Neri and Santa Teresa D'Avila, both in the centre of the village. The castle is not open to the public but you can walk around the outside. You can however go in the church and see a collection of paintings and frescoes. A second church nearby, the Church of San Giovanni Battista, also contains some notable 16th century artefacts and artworks.


Although exploring the small town centre doesn't take long we suggest you also allow time to have lunch in one of the restaurants in Varese Ligure before heading off - there are several to choose from.

bridge over the river in Vasere Ligure

Vasere Ligure also has a reputation for both its commitment to environmentally frendly energy production (it produces more than it needs itself) and its commitment to organic farming - you can buy local organic products in the village. Both of these factors contribute to the town being listed among the 'Orange Flag' (tourist friendly) towns in Italy.

The road to reach Varese Ligure can be a bit slow and winding in places but no need to rush - the scenery in the forested hills is very attractive so relax and enjoy the journey!

Attractions nearby

If you enjoy exploring Varese Ligure you will also perhaps want to visit the village of Brugnato. About 15 kilometres to the south-east (along a slow road), it is another of the round "Borgo Rotondo" towns that are unique to Liguria.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Liguria guide.

See also: 

Map of Varese Ligure and places to visit


Varese Ligure places to visit

Sestri Levante

Sestri Levante

The resort at Sestri Levante has two beaches and an attractive old town, making it a very popular resort on the Italian riviera

Sestri Levante guide


Chiavari is a well known beach resort that also has an interesting old town of narrow medieval lanes called carrugi

Chiavari guide


Levanto, on the coast near the Cinque Terre, is one of the most popular beach resorts in eastern Liguria

Levanto guide


Monterosso is on the Ligurian coast, a Cinque Terre village and beach resort

Monterosso guide


Vernazza is a lovely village in Liguria and one of the famous Cinque Terre villages

Vernazza guide
Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre villages are one of the loveliest parts of Italy

Cinque Terre guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Liguria

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