Zoagli, what to see

Zoagli: 4 Things to see absolutely

Italian Version 🇮🇹

Zoagli: 4 Things to see absolutely!

✅ Before starting reading, we put below some really interesting links always about Zoagli and Tigullio. Take a look!😉

Let’s go together, to discover Zoagli, one of the most beautiful villages in Liguria, a precious gem in Tigullio Gulf!

Zoagli, as well as all of the Tigullio, was “discovered” by tourism between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century.

Despite the bombings and destruction suffered in the Second World War, Zoagli has not lost its identity and its strong link with the sea, even with the “reconstruction”.

Let’s start with the 4 things to see absolutely in Zoagli.. GO! 👇

1️⃣ The Sem Benelli Castle

At the first point, we put a private residence, which can only be admired from the outside. But… there is a reason for this choise.

Between the 19th and 20th centuries – together – with the memories of illustrious guests, who arrived in Tigullio, such as NietzschePound and Kandinsky (and others), today remains a very particular work of art: the majestic Castle of Sem Benelli.

Zoagli Castello di Sam Benelli
Zoagli, Sem Benelli Castle – Photo by Diana Cademartori, from our Facebook Group

Sem Benelli (was ✍ author, playwright, intellectual and poet), asked his set designer, the architect Mancini, to build him a residence to represent him as better.

Thus, in 1914, the Castle was built, erected on a scenographic spur of rock, overlooking the sea.

Zoagli, Castello di Sem Benelli
Sem Benelli Castle seen from the hill – Photo by Maurizio de Mattei, from our  Facebook Group

As you can see in the photo, it has an aspect between “the medieval and the gothic style”, characterized by the use of very different materials, according to the eclectic style, in vogue at the time.

Why did we put the Castle at the first place, even though it cannot be visited? 

✔ Simple: for its beauty and grandeur. The Castle is well visible when 🚗 passing through the Aurelia road, in “Chiavari direction”, almost dominating the stretch of coast below. Definitely, worth a stop for a photo.

2️⃣ The Promenade and the Beach

In the 1930, to boost tourism, some families of Zoagli self-taxed themselves, to build the splendid promenade, called Lungomare Canevaro.

Zoagli, Lungomare e spiaggia
Promenade, eastern side – Photo by Maria Luigia Cisana, from our Facebook Group

In the Levante side, there is a path that winds over the rocks and connects the main beach to the coves below the train station. (Photo 👆 above)

Enveloped by the waves during storms, the promenade is whirlwind of tourists and bathers in summer, and a “dream” destination for fishermen in winter, especially in the western part.

Zoagli, spiaggia
Zoagli beach in winter – Photo by Ornella Kalin, from the Facebook Group

The main sandy beach, under the imposing arches of the railway bridge, is closed in a scenographic way, by the Canevaro Castle, to the west, which incorporates the sixteenth-century Saracen tower.

3️⃣ Canevaro Castle and the two Saracen Towers

Canevaro Castle, was begun more or less in the same period as the Towers, but was connected to the Torre di Ponente only two centuries later.

Zoagli Castello Canevaro
Canevaro Castle and the Torre di Ponente – Photo from the Facebook Group

At the end of the nineteenth century, the other two turrets were added, which redesigned its whole appearance. 

The Castle was also hit by bombs, during the Second World War and partly destroyed. Today, it is completely restored (Photo 👆 above).

Zoagli lungomare Canevaro
Levante Tower – Photo by Maurizio de Mattei, from the Facebook Group

More faithful to its original aspect, is the Saracen Tower of Levante, built in the 16th century, to defend the village from Barbary pirate raids. Today, it is used as a venue for exhibitions and cultural events.

4️⃣ The Churches and Hamlets

At the fourth point, last but not least, we have included – together – the churches of Zoagli and the 5 hamlets .

Starting from a staircase in the town square, you can walk the famous Path of the Five Bells (Sentiero dei Cinque Campanili). 

This path unites the 5 hilly hamlets of Zoagli, allowing you to discover the splendid churches of each one. (The walk is about 12 Km.)

From the first, to the last one

The first church, is in the center of Zoagli, dedicated to San Martino, built on a previous medieval building.

Zoagli, Chiesa di San Martino
Chiesa di San Martino – Photo by Monica Patanè, from our Facebook Group

It preserves two wooden groups, attributed to the Maragliano school, fifteenth-century marble furnishings and the altar of Our Lady of the Rosary, made by the Genoese sculptor Francesco Maria Schiaffino .

The second stop, is the church of San Pietro di Rovereto, famous above all for its square with “sea view” (photo 👇 below), covered at the end of the 18th century with the Genoese decorative technique of Rissêu (A compositions of natural polychrome pebbles).

San Pietro di Rovereto
Rissêu a San Pietro di Rovereto – Photo by Alessandra Frumento, from the Facebook Group

Inside the sacred building, there is a marble cinerary urn, used as a holy water stoup, dating back to the first century A.D.

Next..

From San Pietro di Rovereto, the third stage leads to Semorile,

Zoagli, Semorile
Semorile Church – Photo by Arianna Vicini, from our Facebook Group

where we find the church of San Giovanni Battista. Here is still conserved a part of the relics of the saint, which Genoa wanted to return to Zoagli, as a sign of gratitude.

The fourth stage, is the neoclassical church of Sant’Ambrogio, built on a pre-existing sixth century basilica. From the square, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Rapallo and the entire Monte di Portofino.

Chiesa di Sant'Ambrogio di Zoagli
Church and square of Sant’Ambrogio – Photo by Daniela Soncina, from the Facebook Group

The fifth and last stage, leads to the oldest church in Zoagli, San Pantaleo Church, located on the ancient Roman road.

Zoagli, San Pantaleo
Church of San Pantaleo – Photo by Paolo Macelloni, from our Facebook Group

In Romanesque style, although the bell tower is from the eighteenth century and dates back to the twelfth century. It has a three-nave structure, with the particularity of the apse facing east.

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