Sestri Levante is a beautiful little town, approximately halfway between Genoa and La Spezia.
In fact, in the past few years, it has become almost impossible to walk in town on the weekends.
People pack the narrow streets. They come for a weekend stroll. They stop leisurely to check out the trendy shop windows or get ice cream or piece of focaccia.
This once quiet fishing village is slowly turning into a tourist hotspot. The original part of Sestri Levante is actually on a peninsula. The beautiful Baia del Silenzio (also known as “Portobello”) is on one side and Baia delle Favole on the other. “Baia delle Favole” or “Bay of Fairy Tales” is named in honor of Hans Christian Andersen. He lived in Sestri for a short time.
Bay of Silence is a wonderful quiet romantic bay. It has a small boardwalk, but most of the houses come as far as the beach. It’s a public beach where you will find many locals. In front of the boardwalk, you’ll find the typical boats called “gozzi”, resting on the beach after a fishing trip. I liked this part of Sestri Levante the best.
Baia delle Favole (Bay of fairy-tales) is a lively, animated bay boarded by a promenade. It has beautiful houses and a beach. Here you can rent a beach chair or have a drink in one of the many beach bars. In the back, you can see the narrow strip of land that divides this bay from the Bay of Silence. The land between the two bays has a lot of vegetation.
Where to stay in Sestri Levante
Hotels, B&Bs, apartments, and villas in Sestri Levante: search and make a reservation here.
Sestri Levante: The legend of Tigullio
Once upon a time, there was an enchanting place on the Ligurian Sea. It was a spot where the water was cleaner and the sun was shining longer. Here the Sirens were dazzled by the wonderful scenery offered by the island. They were settled down on the cliffs that, like little thrones, were rising from the water.
Tigullio was the youngest and most handsome of the tritons. From the coast of Sestri Levante, one day he saw the most fascinating and beautiful of the sirens, Segesta. She had eyes bluer than the water and hairs more lucent than the sky. He fell in love with her.
One night Tigullio tried to abduct Segesta. It was while the shining moon covered the rocks with silver and many stars pulsed like his heart.
Neptune, the sea God, didn’t agree that such a paradise could be stolen off the most delicate of his gems. He punished Tigullio petrifying his arm overstretched to catch the siren.
He formed in this way the isthmus of Sestri Levante, that joins the island to the continent. Nowadays you can admire that promontory, those cliffs, and that sea and realize that Sirens are sleeping there.
Looking for her roots in Sestri Levante.
Vincenzo Mori was born in Sestri Levante. He emigrated to the United States. While the year is not certain, his name appears in the Census of 1878, and not in any preceding ones.
When he arrived in America Immigration authorities changed his name to Vincent Moritz. Probably they were of German descent, and were not so familiar with the Italian Language.
His Grand-Grand-Daughter Judy lives in Delaware. She took her the task to find out about the heritage of her family. She visited Sestri Levante Comune – the town hall offices – to find out in big, heavy volumes. No avail: he was not there. She must go back to Sestri to search in the Church Parrocchial records. At that time they were the ones keeping track of birth events.
In the meantime, Judy, an amateur painter, painted the watercolor, remembering Vincenzo.
Grand Hotel dei Castelli
Grand Hotel dei Castelli rises on the top of the peninsula, in the wonderful scenery of a great park.
The current castle, built only in 1920, it using artifacts and remains of older constructions.
You will have the impression to step back in the past when you pass the massive gate. It’s part of the old town walls.
You can easily reach the center of the town, the promenade, and the port by a private lift.