It is well known that Liguria as a region has inspired many poets both local and international, as it has an endless number of stunning bays and enticing beach resorts. Sestri Levante is just one of such places. And as I now sit back home under yet another downpour watching our Covid numbers rise dramatically, only two weeks ago I was there enjoying what was in fact the last swim of the season.
Only an hours train ride Cinque Terre, Sestri Levante is rather unusual has it has two large bays – the Bay of Silence and the Bay of Fairytales. It also has some very pretty decorated facades typical of Liguria, as we had seen in Santa Margherita Ligure
The Bay of Fairytales named after Hans Christian Andersen who fell in love with the place in 1833, has since inspired the Andersen Festival dedicated to fairytales and theatre for both young and old.
And while the view from this Bay is delightful we are soon heading for the more intimate Bay of Silence which is stunning. And we are not the only ones who thought it could be the last weekend of sunshine and warm enough for a dip.
Some of you who travelled with me on the 2011 tour may remember our first evening dinner here at the Portobello restaurant, despite being weary with jetlag! A magic atmosphere outdoors on a balmy night around the same time of the year.
Easy to see how a local poet, Giovanni Descalzo who lived in Sestri Levante named it the Bay of Silence in 1919 and wrote many poems about the area.
Sestri Levante has ancient origins, as the name Sestri refers probably to “Segesta Tigulliorum” considered the sea settlement of the Tigulli, the tribe of the Ligurian family who lived here in pre-Roman times. ‘Levante’ meaning facing East where the sun rises was added to distinguish it from Sestri Ponente, facing west where the sun sets. little of these ancient times is visible, and what is, is in the Archeological museum.
Still a pleasant stroll above the Bays reveals an archway and monument to the city’s history and ferocious lions guard the entrance to the historic Grand Hotel dei Castelli which has the best views over both Bays and as it’s publicity suggest combines Nature and History.
And for those who love anchovies, fresh, fried, marinated, stuffed….Liguria is the best place. Every town and village has it’s own L’Acciughina – Anchovy Snack bar.