Monday, September 8, 2014

Tiny Tellaro

Hello there, blog.  It's been a while.
Tellaro with Tino and Tinetto in the distance

I've been very busy this summer, and haven't had too much time for myself.  I let the blog go for a little bit so I could maybe iron a shirt or two or sit down for 15 minutes in those precious, short 15 minutes of free time.  Plus, after now 4 years living here, the little things don't seem so interesting anymore.  The market is the market, spring comes with it's green and summer ends with it's peaches and figs.  The sea is still blue, the village is still packed and full, and another August has happily ended.

This summer we actually didn't even leave the village very much on our sacred Wednesdays off.  We didn't go hiking, we didn't go out on the boat, we didn't do anything - we just sat on the beach and swam and relaxed (and answered emails and typed, but fortunately all of these things can be done on the beach).  But now that wonderful September is here, we have a little bit more desire and energy to go exploring, and we actually, finally, really truly did as we got in the car and headed off to Lerici and it's tiny frazione of Tellaro on the sea.
One of our beaches found today

I have to go to Lerici every now and again for work, so I've become a little bit familiar with it, but Tellaro has still alluded me.  It's beyond Lerici on a windy seaside road, and has been voted one of Italy's "borghi piu belli", or "most beautiful towns".  I'd always wanted to go, but as Lerici and the surrounding area across the Golfo Dei Poeti isn't connected by the train, it means I'm dependent on my exhausted fiancé to drive us there (we got engaged in June!).

The carrugi of Tellaro
It takes about an hour from Monterosso, winding up through Pignone to La Spezia, then getting to Lerici and more climbing and winding as you park along the narrow road and begin your exploration.    You can park for free on the street before arriving in Tellaro, which is car-free and in that, all too familiar to us here in the Cinque Terre.  From here, you walk down the narrow road and have the option to take the stairs down to the little slivers of beach that lie below.  Here, the road is further above the beach - you need to climb about 150 stairs down to reach it.  There are 2 different stairs you can take down to the seaside, where you have the options of getting a sunbed or the free beach to lay out your towel.  There are also a few little bars and such for a snack and a beer, and some nicer restaurants attached to hotels that perch above the bluest of blue seas.

A blue sea with Portovenere and Palmaria in the distance
After spending the afternoon avoiding jellyfish (the little clear ones that don't sting, but scare me nonetheless), eating focaccia and basking in the sun, we headed down into Tellaro for an aperitivo.  It's a 15 minute walk with tons of scenic pictures to be taken along the way, and as you arrive at the top of Tellaro, the pictures are incredible, overlooking the whole Gulf of Poets, with Palmaria and Portovenere in the distance.  Tellaro (population 1,200 - more or less like Monterosso) is an old village much like our other Ligurian villages on the sea.  Muted reds, pinks, yellow buildings gently leaning on each other, worn from the sea air and sun, hanging over the water and wet, dark rocks that reach up to meet them.  An old church and it's bell tower are closest to the sea, recalling the ancient legend of Tellaro's famous octopus, who allegedly rose from the sea centuries ago to ring the bells to alert the sleeping citizens of an incoming pirate attack.  Signore octopus is celebrated every year in a festa the second week of August, and (ungratefully so) found on the menu of every restaurant in the village.

Tellaro is as incredibly charming as it's legend.  It's tiny little alleyways (called carrugi here) and staircases all wind up at the same place - down in the harbor, lined with colorful fishing boats in repose and cats soaking up the sun.  Kids play-fight with sticks, a diver gears up to go out, the tan Italian women snuff out a cigarette while laughing with their friends.  It's a little raggedy, but that is what makes these Ligurian villages so charming.  They're fishing villages that don't need a fresh coat of paint to ooze charm.

Though it's the last village in the Gulf of Poets that clings to the coast here in Liguria before arriving in beautiful Tuscany and the bigger cities of Massa and Carrara, it's more than worth the drive to get here, and an easy day trip in the weekdays of the offseason to get another slice of what makes where we live so special.

Say cheese!

The beach from above - the settlement in the left corner is Portovenere, and next to it Palmaria.  


  1. Hi Christine,
    I took the liberty to nominate your nice blog to something called "Top Destinations to Go There", read more on and my own post on If (!) you think it is fun and worth while to join, you shall write your own post about 5 favorite destinations and nominate 5 other bloggers. If you do not like the idea, just ignore my nomination.

    Regards from Ingrid at

  2. I'm so glad you had time to post. I've missed enjoying your postings and feeling like I'm in my favorite corner of the world. Thanks for making me and my guests feel so welcome when we visited the restaurant in June! Enjoy the off-season!

  3. Hi Christine. Nice to meet you and glad to have found a blog by another Liguria fan - I live between Liguria and London (clearly preferring Liguria). I've still never been to Tellaro but you have now inspired me :-) Looking forward to reading your future blogs and hopefully I will drop into your restaurant some day to say Hi :-)

  4. Hi Anneka! Nice to meet you too - I think I've run across your name googling Liguria on the internet as well :) Definitely come and say hi! Where are you based out of?

  5. Ah great - I've started blogging just recently :-) i've been to Cinque Terre just once but I Really have to go back soon. I will Let you know when I am there! I am based in Santa Margherita - have you been?