A major center of Liguria in the province of Genoa, located on the Riviera di Levante, in the inner Gulf of Tigullio, Rapallo is one of the most famous seaside resorts of the Riviera. It is located between two streams: the Boate and the San Francesco. The coastal area is characterized by the presence of a rocky reef with no sandy beaches, which offers the perfect location for the building of a fully equipped yacht docking wharf.
Rapallo has Roman origins, the first settlement is believed to date back to 700 B.C. During the advance of the Lombards, the Bishops of Milan sheltered here and proclaimed the town a Bishop's seat. In 641 it was conquered by the Lombard King Rotari, who created between Zoagli and Rapallo a military detachment to defend the whole area against the Byzantines. Rapallo was submitted to the County of Genoa, as territory of the Franks, and in year 1000 the town was repeatedly attacked by the Pisani, historic rivals of Genoa. In 1494 it was invaded by Aragonese fleet, which allied to the Swiss army, raised the population of Rapallo to fight against Genoa. In 1745 the center was finally occupied by the Austrians and liberated two years later by Genoa.
Not to miss:
The Parish Church of Santo Stefano, built in the heart of the historic center. The first documented traces of its presence date back to 1155. It is flanked by a Civic Bell Tower of the '400 that features the town's emblem.
The Tower of the Fieschi. The first data on its existence dates back to 1254. Having been the subject of numerous owners, in the XVII century it was sold to the Cagnoni Family of which it takes its name. Over the years it was owned by the following noble Families: Pessagno, Rebora and Zignago, that over the centuries provided the construction with the battlements still visible today.
The XVI century Castle, built on the sea in 1551 to protect the town from the continuous invasions of the pirates.
The Salt Mine Door, called so, because it looked out on the saline monopoly of the Doria family. The building dates back to '700 and it has a Baroque niche and is located between the waterfront and the historic center. At present it is the only remaining of the five main entrance doorways, through which one could enter the village to reach the centre.
The Monastery of Valle Christi built in the early XIII century.
The Church of S. Thomas, in Romanesque style.
The Monastery of Clarisse, whose construction began in 1633, but was ended only in 1670. Partially demolished in 1908, is now a museum.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Montallegro, with certain much earlier origins, rebuilt in the XIX and XX centuries.
The XVII century Villa Spinola in San Michele di Pagana. Presents a rich garden area and a church the preserves paintings of the '400 and '600, including a masterpiece of the artist Van Dyck.
The numerous palaces and villas, including Villa Tigullio, a museum and public library, the medieval Town Hall, originally used as a hospital.
The Castrum Rapallinum, that dates from the late XIII and early XIV century. It is located near Mount Castle, originally made of wood, the end of '400, the building was rebuilt in stone with two side towers. The fortress was in use during the XV century, till it was completely abandoned.
The Castrum Lasaniae on Mount Pegge. In the beginning it was just a construction, built of wood and stones, that became a stronghold, equipped with new stone fortified walls. It was discovered in 1994 during an archaeological excavation.
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi, built in 1519, is located in the square that bears the same name.
The Basilica of Saints Gervasio and Protasio was rebuilt in the XVII and XVIII century on the site of a former church building that dates back to medieval times. The nearby Bell Tower, built in 1753.