Rapallo, Italy

Near Portofino, but not as widely known, this is a gem we stumbled upon for the night, en route from Nice to Cinque Terre. Many people will never make it here, but it’s a special place to spend a night if you do.

Must dine

Ristorante Focacceria. This is a charming little restaurant, a bit off the main path, exploding with delicious smells and a truly welcoming wait staff. Order the focaccia bread with crudo Parma ham to start and ask your waiter for his/her recommendations for your main. You can also feel confident in ordering the house Chianti. It perfectly pairs with anything on the menu.

Must eat

  • Go on a food tour down all the small sides greets in and out of cafes, tasting an array of fresh pastries and focaccia pizzas as you go. Don’t miss the cubeletti, a traditional Rapallo treat, these are “tasty shortcrust pastries filled with quince jam and prepared in special molds that give them the shape of small baskets.”
  • Visit the local farmers markets and fruit stands scattered throughout the town. Though, don’t touch the fruit. A lady will come select the best for you.

Must see and do

  • The Old Castle on the Sea. This castle was erected on the coast of Rapallo in 1550 to guard the city’s people from the dreaded pirate of the day, this is an impressive site by day, but even more so when it’s beautifully illuminated at night.
  • Stroll down the boardwalk in the evening. There will be vendors and street performers out, and sometimes a stage will be set up in the center of it all for a creative showcase of dance or music.

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