Bonassola and Framura are hidden seaside gems along the Italian Riviera coast, very near to the popular Cinque Terre. They are a great place to enjoy the beauty of northwestern Italy’s coast in a more relaxed atmosphere without the huge crowds. Both towns have a railway station and can be reached on trains from Santa Margherita, Levanto, Cinque Terre, and other coast towns. If you’re driving, you’ll arrive via a narrow, winding road.
The old railway line has been converted to a walking and biking path from Levanto to Framura so you can easily get from one town to another. The path is flat so it’s good even for kids. Bikes can be rented in town and most hotels offer them, too. From Levanto you can take a ferry to Cinque Terre or a scenic boat ride along the coast.
What to Do and Where to Stay in Bonassola
Bonassola has a pretty town center that runs next to a long, sandy beach, and remains of a small fortress above. Stroll through the center with its colorful buildings, shops, and 17th century Church of Saint Catherine, then enjoy people-watching at an outdoor cafe. The little pasta shop called La Megavoglie is said to be one of the top pesto makers in the area. Ristorante Cantina, Via Risorgimento 20, is a good place to eat fresh, local fish.
Walk to Punta della Madonnina, a small church on a rock, for a magnificent, panoramic view of the sea. Near Punta della Madonnina is Villa Peverati with a botanic garden. Of course when the weather’s warm you can sunbathe and swim in the clear sea.
Stay at Ca du Ferra Farm and Relax, a bed and breakfast with 4 rooms and a garden, a short walk from the train station and the town center. Ca du Ferra’s family-run vineyards produce organic DOC white wine in Liguria’s closest farm to the sea. The farm is constantly expanding with new vines, a winery, and plans to produce more wine varieties soon. From the vineyards there are fantastic views of the coast and sea.
What to Do and Where to Eat in Framura
Framura is made up of 5 small villages spreading up the hill from the sea, connected by a steep panoramic trail – Anzo, Ravecca, Setta, Costa, and Castagnola. The older villages were built in the hills to protect them from pirate attacks. Framura is one of the borghi più belli d’Italia, prettiest villages of Italy.
Anzo is closest to the sea and is the end point of the biking and walking path from Levanto. It also has a railway station so it’s the easiest one to reach. If you want to visit the higher villages, take a bus from the station if you don’t want to make the long hike up. A more relaxing walk is the seaside path that goes along the sea from Anzo and ends at a beach, a pretty walk of about 15 or 20 minutes.
Near the sea and train station, eat at L’Agave Enoteca con Cucina with terraces overlooking the sea.
Setta, near Anzo, has a 15th century stone watchtower and the Chapel of San Rocco. In Costa there’s a 9th century tower and the San Martino church. Castagnola, the highest village, has beautiful sea views and an old stone tower. In San Lorenzo Church, see Deposition from the Cross by 16th century painter Luca Cambiaso.
Our visit was organized by the Officine del Levante for the Festival delle Geografie. Disclosure: We were provided with complimentary lunch at L’Agave and wine tasting at Ca du Ferra.