Levanto, Province of La Spezia, Liguria
Levanto lies on the sea, in a beautiful valley of olive trees and pines, and since the 1920's has been a fashionable resort, with guests as the Mussolini and Agnelli families. All over the valley there are, hidden here and there, enchanting discoveries for the visitors: tiny colorful boroughs, watermills, chapels. The coastal waters facing Levanto are the center of the Marine Reserve Cinque Terre.
- Population: about 5500 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 19015
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0187
- Patron Saint: St. Andrea Apostolo, celebrated on 24 July
- Frazioni & Localities: Lizza, Lavaggiorosso, Dosso, Groppo, Montale, Vignana, Lerici, Pastine, Chiesanuova, Fontona, Legnaro, Fossato, Ridarolo
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In Roman times there was a settlement called Ceula near present-day Montale, which has a strategic communication center. Under the Franks there was on the place a sighting tower, which was then transformed into the belltower of the Church of San Siro. In the late Middle Ages Levanto rose in importance, and was a fiefdom of the Malaspina family first, then passed to the Da Passano and in 1229 to the Genoa Republic. It was at the time a commercial center, well-known for the "Levanto red" marble, directly connecting the sea and Genoa to the Francigena road. In the 15th century there was a remarkable growth nearer to the sea, which was called the Borgo Nuovo.
What to see
- The medieval castle, rising on a hill south of the town, whose original structure goes back to the 11th century, but was rebuilt in the 16th.
- The church of Sant'Andrea, in the Ligurian Gothic style, with facade made of black and white bands and a rosewindow above the portal, preserving inside King Henry VIII's cup, shown to visitors only on the patron's feast. The huge cup, in solid silver, gold-plated and all finely chiseled, was made by Parisian goldsmith for Henry VIII Tutor, who, the story goes, lost it in a chess game to Giovanni Da Passano, lord of Levanto at the time.
- The "Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre", a favourite destination for hiking lovers.
- On the highest spot of the promontory, the early-20th century Villa Agnelli" with its magnificent gardens.