My visit to Santa Margherita on the Ligurian coast of Italy came quite by accident. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to actually spend a little time in this beautiful seaside town several years ago.
Roughly ten thousand Italians call Santa Margherita their home and they lovingly refer to this port city as “Santa.”
Surrounded by hills and the Ligurian Sea, Santa Margherita lays claim to some of the most beautiful views in Italy. Approach this port from the sea as I did, and you will feel as if you are looking at a postcard. The stunning marina to the left and the long pebble beach with the colorful houses and buildings along the shore create a magnificent panorama.
In fact, you may recognize the feature photo as the same scene I use at the top of my blog and also for the cover of my first book, Memoirs of a Solo Traveler – My Love Affair with Italy.
So here’s the story of how I came to Santa Margherita by accident. I arrived here aboard a ferry boat from the nearby resort town of Portofino.
I had spent part of a day in Portofino while I was on a Mediterranean cruise.
The circumstances were such that the deteriorating weather conditions would no longer allow small ferry boat tenders to operate between Portofino, and our cruise ship which was anchored offshore.
So as a result, I was the beneficiary of an nonscheduled visit to Santa Margherita, where we were dropped off to await a bus to transport myself and the other cruise passengers to the port of Genoa. If there is one thing that I have learned in Italy, it’s that flexibility is important, since things can change and that’s the way it is. As the Italians say, “boh.”
One of the fascinating landmarks for me in Santa Margherita was the huge statue of Christopher Columbus on the waterfront near the harbor. Although he was born in Genoa, there are stories attesting to the fact that he lived some of his early years in Santa Margherita. This monument was created by the Italian sculptor Tabacchi in 1892.
Ever since the 17th century, this seaside resort town has became a favorite summer residence for vacationing Italians from the larger city of Genoa, which is less than 15 miles away.
The harbor at Santa Margherita is a popular spot for tourists with boats available for rental. Huge yachts owned by local Italians also dock in this harbor. Santa Margherita is well known for its prestigious international sailing regattas such as “Coppa Guido Prina” and the “Trofeo Pirelli.”
Unfortuately I was not in Santa Margherita in the morning, so I didn’t get to visit the famous fish market on Lungomare Marconi to watch the fishermen haul in their catches of the local red prawns. These are found in many of the regional dishes and they are some of the best and freshest anywhere.
Italy is full of charming villages along its coast and Santa Margherita ranks as one of the best despite not being the most touristy.
Have you visited Santa Margherita? What did you like about this coastal town? I love feedback so please leave a comment.
Grazie and ciao.