I found myself on a train from Genoa to Chiavari in the search for a perfect afternoon by the sea. We decided to go to Chiavari only moments before our train departed from the Genova Brignole train station. Until that day, I have never even heard of this city. I knew nothing about Chiavari except for its proximity to the sea. All I gathered from my quick internet search was that it had a nice beach. My intentions for the day was to discover what Chiavari had to offer and to soak up some sun at the beach.
After our hour-long train ride from Genoa, we made it to Chiavari. Upon leaving the train station, we saw familiar palm trees and condos lining the streets, a site often seen in sea-side towns along the Italian Riviera. The walk from the train station to the boardwalk was unimpressive. Chiavari didn’t immediately charm me; it was seemingly just a resort town. Yet, don’t let that fool you.
Once we reached the boardwalk, I was hooked! The boats by the dock and the view of the sea pulled me in.
My first stop was the beach! Chiavari has several beach options to choose from along its short coast from public to privately owned beaches and sandy to rocky shores. There is a beach to fit every beach goers preference. We walked along the boardwalk until we found a public and pebbly beach. While I usually prefer sand over pebbles, I wanted to experience the Ligurian Coast in all is pebbly glory.
We jumped from one rock to the next, further into the sea until we scouted out the perfect rocks to lay on. I read and sun bathed for a while on the rocks until I was so warm that I had to get in the water. I considered jumping off the rocks into the sea yet I was too nervous. Instead, I made my way back to the beach and waded in. The water was crisp and clear. I could see right down to the pebbly sea floor. I dove in and swam around until I was thoroughly refreshed by the sea. Now that I had a taste of the cool water, I couldn’t go back to just simply sitting on the hot rocks. We found rocks submerged in the water to lounge on. It was the perfect spot to relax and have a mermaid moment.
We stayed at the beach all afternoon until the crowds stared to diminish and only decided to leave once our hunger started setting in. I wasn’t quite ready to leave the beach just yet. We wandered down the boardwalk in our still damp bathing suits until we found a beach club to eat at. I had a light salad with tuna and ate under the shaded awning by the sea.
Beyond the beach and boardwalk, there is a whole city to explore. We didn’t have much time to explore the old streets of Chiavari yet we tried to soak in as much as we could during our short passeggiata. A hushed silence swept the streets of Chiavari as we walked around in the early evening. It seemed that we were some of the only people walking the streets at this time. Perhaps everyone was still at dinner. Or perhaps it is a city big enough to explore yet small enough to have entire streets to yourself. As we walked we took in the jeweled tones and charming Ligurian architecture. The buildings seemed to be bathed in sunshine. The orange and yellow hues were radiant under the late setting sun.
When we made it to Piazza Garibaldi, Chiavari’s main square, we found where all the people were hiding. There was an artisans market that was wrapping up, a few people stilled lingering at the stalls.
As we continued through the city, the narrow streets made way for wider roads and more impressive homes. An ornate golden gate drew me nearer to what appeared to be a mansion. We tried to find an entrance yet all the gates were shut. This indicated that this extravagant mansion was in fact someone’s home. I was too busy getting lost in the city that I couldn’t tell you who this “mansion” belongs to or even where it is located in Chiavari.
I took in every last extravagant detail of Chiavari before making my way to the train station. From afar, Chiavari is seemingly underwhelming. Once I got a closer look, I saw that its beauty was in its details. The small details demanded attention in the quiet streets of Chiavari.