tag archives: italian riviera


puglia (apulia), the ‘heel’ of the italian ‘boot’, is located between the adriatic and the ionian seas.  with approximately 800 kilometers (500 miles) of coastline.  along with cliffs, sea caves, coves, sand dunes, sand and pebble beaches.

map via zeemap


generally, the water is deeper along the adriatic coast than the ionian coast.  and, the east coast is generally rockier than the west coast.  but, the beach can be either rocky or sandy along either coast.

adriatic sea | east coast

polignano a mare | BA | italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace


our entertainment during lunch at ristorante lo scalo,

located in marina di novaglie, near the ‘tip of the heel’ where the adriatic sea ‘meets’ the ionian sea.

adriatic sea | east coast

ristorante lo scalo | marina di novaglie | LE | italy

‘uno, due, tre!’ (‘one, two, three!’)

coached by mamma, who was taking photographs from a ledge on the cliff on the opposite side of the inlet

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace and bob walsh


our entertainment during an afternoon walk on the beach at lido morelli,

following lunch at osteria gia sotto l’arco in carovigno (near ostuni).

adriatic sea | east coast

lido morelli | ostuni | BR | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace


my husband, bob, and i love to walk (and walk, and walk…) on the beach.  so, we prefer sandy beaches.

le spiaggia di pescoluse (the beach of pescoluse) may be the longest sandy beach in apulia.  about 5 kilometers (3 miles) long.  not as long as our favorite beach in forte dei marmi, which is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) long.  but, long enough to spend a couple of ‘beach days’ during our recent holiday.

the ionian coast between santa maria di leuca and gallipoli is known as le maldive del salento (the maldives of salento) because of the shallow, turquoise blue water.

ionian sea | west coast

le spiaggia di pescoluse | marina di pescoluse | LE | italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace


le cinque vele (the five sails), ‘our’ beach club in marina di pescoluse, is supposedly the most stylish beach club on the ionian coast.

le cinque vele | marina di pescoluse | LE | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace


perfect headquarters to walk north on the beach, towards torre pali.

le spiaggia di pescoluse | walking north on the beach towards torre pali

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace


or south on the beach, through the ‘mobile shopping mall’…

mobile shopping mall | le spiaggia di pescoluse

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace


…towards torre vado.

le spiaggia di pescoluse | walking south on the beach towards torre vado

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace


if you were planning a beach holiday in italy, would you visit le maldive del salento?

or, the italian riviera?

forte dei marmi | LU | italy

30 kilometer (18 mile) sandy beach from viareggio to marina di carrara

photo credit fortedeimarmivillas.com

even if you consider yourselves ‘travelers’ instead of ‘tourists’, your vacation plans sometimes include some tourist activities.

during our recent holiday to the italian riviera, my husband, bob, and i planned a day trip to the cinque terre (five lands).  the five scenic seaside villages of monterosso al mare, vernazza, corniglia, manarola, and riomaggiore are unesco world heritage sites, and part of the parco nazionale della cinque terre (five lands national park).

map | cinque terre | liguria, italy

the cinque terre is located on the italian riviera, in la spezia province, in the liguria region of italy, about 130 km (80 mi) south of genoa

photo credit cinqueterre.eu

the national park is renowned for the 120 kilometer (75 mile) long path network between the five villages.  so, you could spend several days hiking between towns.

the villages are zonas traffico limitato (ztl’s) (restricted traffic zones), so, you are not able to drive into town unless you are a resident.  we parked our rental car in the car park at la spezia centrale train station and took the train, instead.  the car park is small.  however, you can book a parking space in advance if your car has italian license plates.  one of the national park’s welcome centers is conveniently located in the train station, where we purchased treno ms cards, which entitle you to park entrance, unlimited regional train travel between la spezia and levanto, and complimentary use of the toilets (which the attendants kept immaculately clean).  even though trenitalia doesn’t always run on schedule, the trains run frequently.  the train ride from la spezia to monterosso al mare is about 25 minutes.  and, the train ride between villages is about five minutes each.

the five villages are also accessible by boat.

the only sandy beach is located in monterosso al mare, which is the largest village.

monterosso al mare, italy

many consider vernazza, which has a natural pier, the most picturesque village.

vernazza, italy

the smallest village, corniglia, which is surrounded by terraces and vineyards on three sides, is the only cliff top town.

the town center is accessible from either the scalinata lardarina, a brick staircase with 33 flights of stairs and 382 steps, or from a vehicular road.

corniglia, italy

the panoramic view of the other villages from the terrace behind l’oratorio dei disciplinati di santa caterina (oratory of the disciples of saint catherine) in corniglia and punta bonfiglio (bonfire point) in manarola is magnificent.

view of manarola from the terrace behind l’oratorio dei disciplinati di santa caterina in corniglia

view of corniglia and monterosso al mare from punta bonfiglio in manarola

did you know that pesto sauce originated in genoa, which is the capital of liguria?  nessun dorma, a restaurant on punta bonfiglio in manarola, offers a pesto making course.  their menu also features bruschetta made from fresh, local ingredients.  highly recommended for lunch!  along with a glass of cinqueterre bianco (white) wine, which is usually made from a blend of bosco, albarola, and vermentino grapes.

nessun dorma | punta bonfiglio | manarola, italy

we thought that manarola, which has a natural harbor, was the most picturesque village.

manarola, italy

riomaggiore also has a small natural harbor, located in a zebra rock valley at the mouth of a mountain stream.

riomaggiore, italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

and, like the other villages, riomaggiore has a steady stream of tourists…

forte dei marmi, italy is the most beautiful beach resort that my husband, bob, and i have ever visited.  especially, if you love to walk on the beach like we do.

we enjoy the beach so much that forte dei marmi has become one of our favorite italian holiday destinations.

hotel principe forte dei marmi | viale morin, 67 | forte dei marmi, italy

forte dei marmi is located on the italian riviera, in lucca province, in the versilia region of tuscany, about 120 km (75 mi) west of florence

unlike american resorts, the coast is lined with beach clubs instead of hotels.  so, the hotel principe forte dei marmi is located two blocks inland.

you can either walk or ride a bicycle to the beach.  or, along the paved paths that run parallel to the beach.  or, into the town center.

blue bicycles | hotel principe forte dei marmi | forte dei marmi, italy

different hotels have different colored bicycles

the beach seems endless.  about 26 km (16 mi) long, running continuously between the towns of viareggio (to the south) and marina di carrara (to the north).

you can walk for miles and miles along the beach, which lined with beach club, after beach club, after beach club…  the beach is easy to walk on because the gradient is gradual, and the sand is compacted.

forte dei marmi is frequently referred to as ‘the hamptons of italy’.  it is quite crowded during the peak season of july and august.  so, we prefer to visit during september.  the weather is still warm.  and, it is much less crowded.  and, much more relaxing.

bagno dalmazia | affiliated with the hotel principe forte dei marmi | forte dei marmi, italy

‘our’ beach club

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

do you think that the ‘architect’ of this sand castle visited the vatican in rome enroute to forte dei marmi?