LEVANTO | LIGURIA REGION
Levanto lies on the sea, in a beautiful valley of olive trees and pines, and since the 1920's has been a fashionable resort, with guests as the Mussolini and Agnelli families.
All over the valley there are, hidden here and there, enchanting discoveries for the visitors: tiny colorful boroughs, watermills, chapels. The coastal waters facing Levanto are the center of the Marine Reserve Cinque Terre.
In Roman times there was a settlement called Ceula near present-day Montale, which has a strategic communication center. Under the Franks there was on the place a sighting tower, which was then transformed into the belltower of the Church of San Siro. In the late Middle Ages Levanto rose in importance, and was a fiefdom of the Malaspina family first, then passed to the Da Passano and in 1229 to the Genoa Republic. It was at the time a commercial center, well-known for the "Levanto red" marble, directly connecting the sea and Genoa to the Francigena road. In the 15th century there was a remarkable growth nearer to the sea, which was called the Borgo Nuovo.
WHAT TO SEE
- The medieval castle, rising on a hill south of the town, whose original structure goes back to the 11th century, but was rebuilt in the 16th.
- The church of Sant'Andrea, in the Ligurian Gothic style, with facade made of black and white bands and a rosewindow above the portal, preserving inside King Henry VIII's cup, shown to visitors only on the patron's feast. The huge cup, in solid silver, gold-plated and all finely chiseled, was made by Parisian goldsmith for Henry VIII Tutor, who, the story goes, lost it in a chess game to Giovanni Da Passano, lord of Levanto at the time.
- The Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, a favourite destination for hiking lovers.
- On the highest spot of the promontory, the early-20th century Villa Agnelli with its magnificent gardens.