And another in the “near but not in Cinque Terre” series, which is a look at several towns in the same area as the famous Cinque Terre, but are likely overlooked. Santa Margherita Ligure is a name that I saw several times in my previous trips to Cinque Terre. As train stops in this area go it is a fairly major one. So if you come into the Cinque Terre from Genoa you will have likely stopped here too. It is also the jumping off place to Portofino. The town is well worth a visit on its own though.
If you are going to Portofino by bus or boat, you will likely be walking through Santa Margherita Ligure. The train station is at the top of the hill and like most places in this region the town extends down toward the beach. In this case a wide pebbly beach around a large cove. We were there in March so it wasn’t high time for sunbathers, but I can well imagine the place is full in summer.
Around one end of the cove is the wharf where you can get boats to Portofino. We saw a large groups of tourists pile on and off of such boats and most just walked straight through town to the station. This is a shame I think. I enjoyed my time here far more than in more ritzy Portofino. Though from looking at the cars and houses and even the babies wandering in high fashion names, this is not a poor fishing village either.
Santa Margherita Ligure is a beach town and thus not especially cheap, but it feels a lot more livable than the other cute little beach towns in the area. My parents and I walked around town before taking our bus down to Portofino. The idea was to see another place as well as hopefully find a decent place to eat lunch. Trattoria da Pezzi is where we ended up. It is tucked down Via Cavour and we randomly stumbled onto it. We had originally chosen a random pizza place that in classic Italian style was slow in getting ready at noon. So we wandered and found this place. A little worrisome were the numerous travel book awards plastered on the windows. Despite this we saw locals doing take out from the deli counters up front and sitting in the back room. The menu is a black board where things are erased as they sell out. It was really great food and cheap enough that we went back for dinner. They apparently open the deli before the back room so we settled for pizza pocket like things and sat in the square. Heartily recommended.
After lunch we walked around the cove just to see what was here. There is a small castle on the hill to walk up to for a view of the cove and an interesting looking house looms over the base of the jetty which forms what looks like the private wharf. There are plenty of beaches here compared to in Cinque Terre itself. This is more what I think of when I think Italian Riviera.
They say all roads lead to Rome. See if maybe you can find a road that leads you to Santa Margherita Ligure. As always there are more pictures on the Facebook Fanpage for Grounded Traveler. This time several mosaics that line the promenade here.
Also thanks to Giulia for twitter help in some remembering of this place, her home town. Check out her blog for great photography and interesting stories including some first hand views of the Egyptian revolution.