1st August 2015


Rapallo - The Castle on the sea, symbol of the town

Rapallo - The Castle on the sea

Rapallo is a popular seaside resort in the Riviera di Levante in the region Liguria, north-west Italy. With about 30,000 inhabitants, it is not only the largest town in Portofino's bay, called Bay of Tigullio, but also the town with the most ancient history in the district, as it was first recorded in 964.

Rapallo is situated at the eastern end of the Bay of Tigullio, in the bay's innermost and best protected point, at the head of Rapallo Gulf, southeast of Genoa, which is the capital of Rapallo's province and of Liguria region.

It is in a privileged position, only 20 minutes' bus drive from Portofino to the west, and half an hour to Levanto and Cinque Terre to the east. Near Rapallo, on the road to Portofino, is Santa Margherita Ligure, another major resort.

Riviera di Levante map, Liguria, Italy

Riviera di Levante map

Rapallo has a long history. Testimony of that are a beautiful church built in the 7th century and consecrated in 1118, Basilica dei Santi Gervasio e Protasio, and a 16th-century castle. Also remarkable and worth a visit is the sanctuary of Montallegro, built nearby in 1557.

According to legend Rapallo's history goes back to the times of Hannibal, the great enemy of Rome: a bridge named after him is considered evidence of that origin. Its history continues, through many vicissitudes of which it was a willing or not so willing protagonist, until today. The town, sacked successively through the ages by the Lombards, Normans, and Swiss, in 1917 hosted the Allied Conference of Rapallo. In 1920 treaties establishing friendly relations between Italy and Yugoslavia, and in 1922 between Germany and the Soviet Union, were signed in Rapallo.

Rapallo has a historic centre along the elegant seafront promenade, the lungomare Vittorio Veneto, adorned with palm-trees and flower beds, which offers a vast, breathtaking view of the bay.

Still in the centre of Rapallo, near the promenade, are the beaches and the touristic harbour. There are both free beaches and paid beaches.

Symbol of the town is the Castle on the sea (see picture), built in 1551 to defend the town from pirate invasions, which has been declared part of Italy's national heritage. It can be seen from the road along the coast, and today it is used to host exhibitions and tourist events.

Rapallo is an elegant resort, famous for its mild climate, beautiful hotels, harbour. Various golf courses are also here, and cultural events are organized. Tourism is the main economic activity, but there is also production of olive oil, pillow lace, special steels, cement, textiles.

In a few minutes from Rapallo you can reach Genoa (Genova in Italian), city of old splendours, rich in museums and works of art, with an international airport and tohether with Marseilles the largest port in the Mediterranean, with ships going to every destination in what Romans called "Mare Nostrum" (our sea).


Italian Mini Dictionary

Castello sul mare = Castle on the sea

Lungomare = Seafront promenade or road (literally: along the sea)







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