Savona - Riviera delle Palme

Medieval streets lined with architectural gems, pretty beaches and whale-watching await at this port town on Italy’s Riviera delle Palme.

Savona is a picturesque town with a landscape of architectural treasures, fascinating art museums, tranquil beaches and interesting wildlife. This lively port town is part of the Riviera delle Palme, an attractive coastal region overlooking the Ligurian Sea on Italy’s northwest coast. Visit this childhood home of Christopher Columbus, which now attracts a mix of art enthusiasts, beachgoers, photographers and surfers.

The centerpiece of Savona is its Centro Storico (Historic Center), with cobblestone streets and piazzas. Among its major attractions is the magnificent 17th-century Cattedrale di Nostra Signora Assunta. Admire the hand-painted ceiling and cloister garden of the Rococo-style Cappella Sistina. Investigate the town’s medieval towers, most notably the Torre Leon Pancaldo clock tower. Enjoy sweeping views of the town and coastline from Torre Brandale.

Go to Fortezza del Priamar to explore the ramparts and tunnels of a 16th-century fortress. See displays of Byzantine and Roman artifacts at its archaeology museum, Civico Museo Storico Archelogico. Visit the Museo d’Arte di Palazzo Gavotti, which houses two impressive galleries. Spot religious art at the Pinacoteca Civica Savona and ceramic exhibitions at the Museo della Ceramica di Savona.

Stroll through Centro Storico’s market district, where luxury fashion retailers stand next to family-run handicraft stores. Sample homemade pizzas and fresh seafood at cafés and trattorias. Visit the port to see contrasts of stylish yachts and old fishing boats. 

Enjoy family-friendly beaches spread along Corso Vittorio Veneto. Find public areas and private beaches, such as Bagni San Cristoforo. Just a 10-minute drive from the Centro Storico is Acque-Calde, a popular surfing beach. Visit Savona from June to September when whale-watching excursions depart regularly from the port. 

Savona is reachable via public trains from Genoa, Milan, Turin and Nice, France. Getting around the town center and beaches is comfortable on foot and via public buses. Rent a car and visit areas outside the town. Hike in Parco Naturale Regionale di Piana Crixia and along parts of the 250-mile-long (400-kilometer) L’Alta Via dei Monti Liguri trail.


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