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Rapallo - small town Italy at its best.

A beautiful ocean front, lovely buildings, flowers, 

umbrella pines and a castle..... the Italian Riviera.

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Rapallo is one of the ports for the larger ships  with excursions to Portofino. At this time, only Cunard ships use it, which is a pity....


It is a tender port, and the tenders go to docks on the left side of the town. It is a short walk into the small town and there are interesting things to see.

Halfway along the harbour front is where tourist boats go to Portofino, with a stop at Santa Margherita Ligure - a similarly attractive town. These towns are popular with Italian tourists, and there are lovely old hotels.

©2018 Google     Image©2009 TerraMetrics
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As you walk into the town, you cross an attractive pedestrian bridge over a canal that is sea-water - the picture at the top of the page.. Then you are in a park with the wonderful umbrella pines and a statue of Christopher Columbus, who was born in the nearby city of Genoa. Statues of Columbus seem to have him always pointing at the new world....

There is a seawall walk, with palm trees and lawns. The street by the ocean has pots of bright flowers and lovely old hotels and apartment blocks.

©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG
©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG
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©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG

On the first street corner, there is a building with a glassed in front, and beside this building in a narrow alley almost hidden by trees you can find the only gate left of the ancient city wall, called Porto delle Saline (Salt Gate, named for the salt marshes that were just outside). Go through it and look back! (above)


Rather than take a ship excursion, take a large tourist boat from the waterfront to Portofino. It is inexpensive, and you get to see the attractive coast of the Italian Riviera, and if you wish, get off at  the town Santa Margherita Ligure and explore it as well.

Across from the dock (above right) is a lovely little square, with a bandstand.

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In the 1500's the town was ransacked by the Ottomans and Barbary pirates. At that time, the town had no defence - and shortly after the small castle was built on the waterfront - Castello sul Mare (Castle by the Sea). There is another castle on the point of land across the bay.

©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG

Cross the street at the castle, and in front of you is an odd fountain with an octopus. 

To your left is a pretty square, with the palaces  and homes of the wealthy built in the 16th and 17th century.

This is the old city, and if you like to explore narrow streets, this is the part of town. 

To continue the walking tour, go back to the wide street opposite the castle.

©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG

Walk one block up the street and turn left onto the first street.

Ahead you will see the tallest tower in Rapallo, called the Civic Tower (beside). In the 1470's, there was a great amount of discord in the town, with different factions competing for power. They came together to build the tower for peace. It was built onto the Church of Saint Stefano, and it was just behind the town hall. Walk past the tower and the church and out into the square by the town hall.

©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG

Leaving the square, cross to your left and follow the street with the stone wall and wrought-iron railing - and turn left where you can see a tower down the street. You can walk in the arcades on either side of the street.

This is the bell tower of the Basilica of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius (beside) - and as you walk down the street you may notice that Pisa does not have the only leaning tower! The tower leaned from the time it was first built, as the ground beneath was marshy. It was demolished and built again in a slightly different spot, and leaned again and this time it was left to lean.

The church is attractive, with ceiling frescoes.

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©2018 Google   ©2009 GeoBasis-DE BKG

From the front of the church, turn to your right and go up the street - not the street by the tower but by the building painted red and gold. Walk one block and turn left and you are back on the waterfront.

This is a nice town in which to walk aimlessly - the buildings are interesting and you can't get lost..... the waterfront is to the south, the canal to the west, the railway to the north, and the divided street to the east. 

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