Bonassola is the first village north of Levanto and is actually always in my heart. I grew up there as the family seafood restaurant used to be there, right on the waterfront.
This small seaside village seems to have some special power, forcing its visitors to come back again and again, and this is why groups of friends meet there year after year, generation after generation. Almost nothing happens or changes here, and this is what makes it special and precious.
“soothing, unforgettable, inexhaustible”
What to visit
Some highlights? Easy! Its beautiful beach is enclosed by two rocky promontories, its crystal clear sea reflecting the surrounding Mediterranean maquis, its quite pedestrian center, its fragrant lemon gardens, the picturesque hamlets on the hills all around … unique.
In feudal times belonged to the Da Passano family, then to the Republic of Genoa, while in the fifteenth century, the village was part of Framura. It was in this period that the village started growing. The coast was full of people, fishing nets, and scents, despite the frequent raids of the Saracen pirates.
In addition to the oh so typical “dolce far niente” on the beautiful Bonassola beach, I recommend a stroll to the romantic pink church overhanging the sea, known as Madonnina della Punta and, on the other side of the bay, a short hike till Punta del Carlino, along the narrow path trapped between pines and sea. The panorama from the recently restored XVI century Castle of the Ardoino is also worth a short steep uphill.
I recommend a visit to the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, right downtown for Baroque lovers. The typically Ligurian façade has nothing to do with its absolutely gorgeous interior: gilding everywhere, polychrome marbles, and canvases by Bernardo Strozzi’s workshop. This church also houses the statue of Madonna del Rosario, celebrated the first weekend of October, right at the end of the summer season.
Another important event is the only and inimitable Ucca Prize, on August 16th. This is a goliardic party run by a group of hooded men whose mission is to make fun of those who during the year distinguished themselves with more or less big “epic fails” … ten mentions and a prize, the Ucca precisely, rhyming in a sort of Latin-like language contaminated and at the same time enriched by the local dialect.
Finally, for the youngest, the Maremosso Festival for terrible kids, taking place every summer in August!
It’s on the Genoa-La Spezia railway line, only 4 minutes and one-stop by Levanto. However, I recommend you stroll or bike there along the ancient railway road on the waterfront! Ask for the detailed map and bikes at the front desk!