Located on the Tigullio Gulf of the Ligurian Sea, the city of Rapallo is a part of the region of Liguria in Northern Italy. Located between Portofino and Chiavari, it is one of the many hot-spot destinations on the famed Italian Riviera. This seaside resort is home to about 30,000 locals and is the Italian Riviera destination of choice for those looking to escape their hometowns during the summer.

The natural beauty of Rapallo is the main draw of the town. It is a part of the Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino (Portofino Regional National Park) and boasts gorgeous sea views, palm tree-lined walkways, and a backdrop of green hills and mountains in which travelers can walk and hike.

The spirit of the city is laid-back and relaxed, reflective of Rapallo’s identity as a vacation destination for locals. A walk along the oceanside promenade will reveal Italians and travelers strolling in the sunshine simply enjoying the views. In the historic city center, the heart of the action in Rapallo, people can be seen enjoying gelato, shopping in local food and souvenir shops, and sampling local cuisine like focaccia bread and seafood at nearby restaurants.

Despite modern advancements which have occurred all around Rapallo at its outskirts and along the rest of the Italian Riviera, the city is still very much rooted in its past of being a simple oceanside village with a long history.

The history of Rapallo begins during Roman times, and, throughout the city’s existence, it has remained an important location along the coast of Italy. Rapallo’s position on the water made it the location of many important naval battles and the city’s medieval castle, walls, and gates made it an effective stronghold during wartime. The city was autonomous until it came under the rule of nearby Genova. Afterward, it was taken over by the Savoy family before joining the Unified Kingdom of Italy during the nineteenth century.

Throughout history, artists and writers like W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and Max Beerbohm all credited Rapallo’s beauty and relaxed spirit with contributing to their artistic inspiration. Even today, the historic castle at the end of the town’s seaside promenade, the palm trees which flank the sparkling sea, and the colorful villas on the hills provide a palpable historic and poetic energy.


Located in the Italian Riviera, the climate of Rapallo is moderate, with pleasant temperatures throughout most of the year. Winters are relatively mild but can reach below freezing temperatures. Light snowfall during the winter is not uncommon in the area. Rain can be expected in spring and autumn with relatively high humidity levels throughout the rest of the year. Northern winds can be common in the area, but most of the villas in the city are built in such a way that the hills protect them from the harshest winds.

The pleasant climate of Rapallo is perfect for its seaside geography, which is the main draw for travelers to the city. Located directly on the Tigullio Gulf, the city boasts stunning sea views. In addition, the nearby hills allow travelers to enjoy hiking, trekking, and other outdoor activities.


Rapallo is known for being a wonderful hub from which to enjoy the other cities along the famed Italian Riviera. A more traditional, old-style locale, Rapallo is often more modest compared to other nearby cities like Portofino or Genoa. Yet it features many of the aspects of the Italian Riviera that travelers are looking for – oceanside views, unique architecture, delicious seafood, and loads of Italian culture. Travelers can visit other nearby cities from Rapallo via railway, boat, or footpaths. After hiking the villages of Cinque Terre, visiting the famed Genoa aquarium, or spending time in the glitzy streets and boutiques of Portofino, Rapallo can be a welcome reprieve from the more tourist-filled locales on the Italian Riviera.

The historic center, medieval architecture, and old-style streets make visiting Rapallo a unique journey through the town’s history.

A once-Roman settlement, the city features a rich background that is evident throughout its sites. One of the most iconic is the Castello sul Mare, or Castle on the Sea. The stunning fortress is located just off the coast of Rapallo. Dating back to the middle of the sixteenth century, the castle was built to defend the city from pirate attacks, and today it continues to keep watch over the sea.

For lovers of art and history, there are plenty of other monuments to enjoy. From various churches, such as the Basilica of Saints Gervasius and Protasius and the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, to religious celebrations to the famous Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montallegro, there are a variety of religious monuments and spiritually significant sites to take in throughout the city. Also of note is the seventeenth century Castello di Punta Pagana as well as historic towers, such as Fieschi Tower and the Civic Tower, and Hannibal’s Bridge, which dates back to 218 BC.

Take a stroll on the famous promenade. Facing the sea, the Lungomare Vittorio Veneto promenade stretches alongside the coast and features a variety of shops, restaurants, cafés, and bars at which travelers can take a break.

Taste the local cuisine. Located along the sea, Rapallo is known for its fresh seafood, which makes an appearance in many of the local dishes. Also found in Ligurian cuisine is an abundance of fresh, handmade pasta, pesto sauce, focaccia bread (a staple of the region), and, of course, gelato. Foodies will enjoy stopping in at the local, open-air vegetable market. Local farmers sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as homemade sauces and pasta.

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