Cervo and its classical music.

Cervo – Photo © Mchidell

Cervo is an ancient town of the Italian Riviera in the province of Imperia. One of its attractions is a fine baroque church overlooking the sea.

Cervo’s connections with classical music date back to 1964, when the International Chamber Music Festival of Cervo was established by the famous Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh.

The event has been held every summer ever since.

Music master classes – Accademia di Cervo – are held in September, and a guitar academy is held in June.

Nassau Music Society Quartet
Nassau Music Society Quartet

The International Chamber Music Festival of Cervo is held every summer in the picturesque church square (July – August). Among the world-class stars who have performed are Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Sviatoslav Richter, Wilhelm Kempff, Maurizio Pollini, Yehudi Menuhin, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Martha Argerich, Uto Ughi, Mozarteum Camerata, Ivo Pogoreli?, Andras Schiff, Luciano Berio, F. P. Zimmermann, Francois Thiollier, Paul Badura-Skoda, the King’s Singers, Rudolf Buchbinder, Cyprien Katsaris, Joseph Silverstein, Pietro De Maria, Viktoria Mullova, Ulf Hoelscher, David Geringas, Arnulf von Arnim, Timothy Park, Monika Leskovar, Boris Andrianov, Salvatore Accardo, Fazil Say, and Hyun-Sun Kim.

The square before the Corallini Church in Cervo has had the honor of hosting performances by all of them.

A smug albeit straightforward description of the qualities of this festival, from the charming square where it is held to the medieval architecture ennobling the field of vision, is thus inadequate, for each fabulous stone in this place has been exalted and made immortal by the passage of these stars of classical music.

Where to stay in Cervo

Hotels, apartments and B&Bs in Cervo: search and make a reservation here.

“It is true, we have to admit it: Cervo doesn’t have what the rest are offering.

The village, for example, has neither modern buildings nor asphalted streets. It lags behind – it’s still a tiny medieval village with century-old houses, where artisans and artists ply their trade in cobbled alleys that are too narrow for cars, so one can only walk in them.

And the beach has no deck-chairs by the hundreds that are enlivened by radios and mobile phones: Cervo offers only small and scanty organised bathing establishments; the remaining beaches and cliffs are free and uncrowded, you can hear no noise other than the sea. And the sea water is not lukewarm for the thousands who got in before you, it is always fresh, with seabeds rich in seaweed and fish.

The green hills are deserted, not even a residential area, nor a handful of motels, or at least a highway: uphill from Cervo, around a few ruins of bygone times there is nothing but woods, pine trees, olive groves, all criss-crossed by paths unknown to moto-cross riders.

On the table, then, you will get no exotic dishes: Cervo has kept quietly true to the Mediterranean diet, here the oil is still made by cold-pressing the olives, and the wine is made with grapes; as for the fish, we catch them every morning from the sea, not in the deep-freezer.

Then there are no monuments to anybody who did anything grand: Cervo has only an Ethnographic Museum celebrating the ragged Ligurian Man and Woman performing their daily duties.

Then as far as the events are concerned, no jolly gastronomic festivals nor sparkling celebrations of folklore: in Cervo only the greatest international musicians perform concerts in the moonlight for everyone to enjoy in enraptured silence.

Let’s be honest: Cervo has nothing like the others; therefore it attracts only those who are unlike the rest. This is the reason why we are waiting for you.”
Comune di Cervo Official Tourist Site