Santa Margherita Ligure, what to see

Santa Margherita Ligure: 5 Things to see absolutely

🇮🇹 Italian Version

Santa Margherita Ligure: 5 Things to see absolutely

✅ Before we start, we put below some really interesting links, which you might like, if you want to know more about Santa Margherita. Take a look! 😉

Here you will find the 5 things that you absolutely must see in the Santa Margherita Ligure, “pearl of Tigullio”

the name by which the town was called, since the 1960s, as evidence of its beauty.

One last thing, before starting with the ranking 😇

Santa Margherita Ligure
Santa Margherita Ligure – Photo by Salvatore Castiglione, from our Gruppo Facebook

How to arrive in Santa Margherita Ligure?

Getting to Santa Margherita Ligure is very simple, by train, getting off at the city station, or by car, exiting at the Rapallo motorway tollbooth.


The difficult thing is to park, especially in summer. In addition, the hourly rates (in all locations in Tigullio) are 💰 quite expensive .

Let’s start with the 5 Things you must see in Santa Margherita Ligure!

1️⃣ The Historic Center

First of all the historic center of the town, for two reasons.
The first
reason is a visit to its sacred places, rich in history, works of art, paintings and statues.

Among these, you will find the wonderful Cathedral of the Madonna della Rosa, right in the central square of the town, with a wonderful square in risseu outside.

We also mention the Church of San Giacomo di Corte, the Church of San Siro, the Church of the Capuchin Friars, the Oratory of Our Lady of the Addolorata and the Oratory of the Madonna del Suffragio. They are all easily reachable walking in few minutes, from the center.

Santa Margherita Ligure, Basilica

The second reason to have a walk in the center, beyond the windows of the designer shops, bakeries, restaurants, bars, pastry shops and ice cream parlors, is.. the buildings!

Santa Margherita Ligure, portici
Arcades in Santa Margherita Ligure – Photo by Monica Patanè, from our Gruppo Facebook

The facades of the palaces (and the arcades, photo above) of Santa Margherita Ligure are famous all over the world, for their beauty in their Genoese-style designs. 

They are even mentioned in art books and especially school for many facade artists, who studied and applied their knowledge here, in the field.

Take a look at: 5 Things to see in Portofino

2️⃣ The Castle and the seafront

Walking along the wonderful seafront, the Castle of Santa Margherita Ligure rises right in the center.

It was built in 1550, based on a project by Antonio De Càrabo,  with the aim of fighting the Barbareschi Pirates, who brought blood, destruction and kidnappings to the whole coast.

Castello di Santa Margherita Ligure
S. Margherita Castle – Photo di Daniela Piccillo, from our Gruppo Facebook

Precisely for this reason, it was completed in less than a year, at the behest of the Senate of the Republic of Genoa. It was built right above the sea, at the foot of the hill, in a phenomenal position: from here it dominates the entire Gulf of Tigullio.

Today, it houses the seat of the Museo del Mare and some exhibitions or fairs. To visit it, check on the Municipality website.

In addition to the Castle, be sure to take a walk along the seafront, which frames the marina. Maybe you didn’t know, but some very famous TV commercials have also shot here: the international Martini commercial, with Charlize Theron and the legendary “Tonno Insuperabile“.

Take a look at: 5 Things to see in Rapallo

3️⃣ Villa Durazzo and its garden

One of the unmissable places in Santa Margherita Ligure, is Villa Durazzo.

Located in the center of the city, but in an elevated position overlooking the gulf, Villa Durazzo is a splendid complex, consisting of two villas and a wonderful Italian garden.

Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita Ligure
Villa Durazzo – Photo by Enrico Pieragostini, from our Gruppo Facebook

This splendid villa, built around 1678, is an extraordinary example of a historic noble residence, in classic Genoese style, with a splendid 360° sea-mountain view.

In the internal rooms, with the typical elegance of the seventeenth century, you can admire the refined furniture used by the nobles of the past, the beauty of the frescoes on the rooms.

Villa Durazzo, Santa Margherita ligure
Tipical Risseu in Villa Durazzo – Photo by Monica Patanè from our Gruppo Facebook

To get to Villa Durazzo, we recommend the entrance from the main door of the park (located in via Principe Centurione / Via Giuncheto), so you can enjoy the splendid walk among the trees and statues.

Visits to the interior of the Villa, are subject to charges. Access to the gardens is free.

4️⃣ The Cervara Abbey

Cervara Abbey, also known as the Abbey of San Girolamo al Monte di Portofino, is a former monastic complex, dating back to 1361.

It was built in 1361, on the idea of Ottone Lanfranco, Genoese monk chaplain, of the abbey of Santo Stefano in Genoa, with the support of Archbishop Guido Sette.

Abbazia della Cervara
Cervara Abbey – Drone photo by Salvatore Castiglione, from our  Gruppo Facebook

The abbey, located near Paraggi, on the road to Portofino, includes several rooms that develop around the Church of San Girolamo.

Here, you can explore frescoed rooms, a wonderful cloister and above all extraordinary gardens and terraces overlooking the sea.

Interior garden of the Abbey – photo by Cristina Falco, from our Gruppo Facebook

The Cervara Abbey can be visited only on FAI days (Autumn and Spring). or in particular events organized there. Take advantage of these days, if you can: it will be an unforgettable experience!

Cervara is certainly the spearhead in Tigullio, among the places, usually closed to the public in Italy, which can only be visited on these occasions.

5️⃣ Bay of Paraggi

Continuing from Cervara towards Portofino, you reach the Bay of Paraggi.

You can arrive in Paraggi Bay on foot, by bus, or by car. But remember: in summer there are very few parking spaces, exclusively for a fee.

Take a look at: walk of Kisses, the complete path

Paraggi is a wonderful fraction of Santa Margherita Ligure, formed by an enchanting bay, elegant buildings and villas, in classic Genoese style, overlooking the sea.

The characteristic feature of the Bay, is represented by the incomparable beauty of its sea, with a predominantly sandy bottom and the particular blue color of the water. 

Baia di Paraggi
Incredible blu sea in Paraggi – Photo by Alessandra Frumento, from our Gruppo Facebook

There are some suggestive private beaches (Bagni Bosetti and Bagni Fiore) and various entry points for free bathing.

In the Bay of Paraggi, there is a small shop, restaurants, boarding houses, hotels and a well-known club, the “Carillon” where, in the past, famous international stars have sung.

Take a look at: Tigullio, top 5 places to see!

Baia di Paraggi
Paraggi Bay with the castle – Photo by Laura Accinelli, from our Gruppo Facebook

On the side of the promontory, facing east, a Castle was built in 1626, – probably on the basis of a previous building – (you see it in the photo above), with a defensive and control function on the coast.

This is connected “on sight” with the Castle of Portofino and other fortifications, located along the coast. The construction is now private.

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