Cervo in Liguria- a picturesque medieval gem
Updated: May 27, 2020
I am particularly excited to introduce the travel section on my blog as I have had wanderlust for as long as I can remember. Growing up right next to the border to France, even going to a French supermarket would feel like a mini vacation. My whole life I had constant wanderlust and if I could afford it, I would love to travel every month.
What better way to start than with "my Italy", Liguria, my favourite part of Italy, the place I come back to constantly since my childhood. Everytime I leave, I wonder which milestones will have been achieved next time I am back and enjoy the view from my favourite church Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista in Cervo across the Ligurian Sea or sipping an Aperol Spritz at Serafino's, both a must of every trip I did to the Riviera Ligure since I can think of.
Cervo is a picturesque little village in the Province of Imperia, where small little narrow cobble stone alleys lead up to a gorgeous baroque church. It is tiny, authentic, not touristic at all and incredibly beautiful. It's romantic and traditional and a perfect spot to just enjoy life with a few drinks, Italian food, a good book and your favourite people. Don't expect a second Portofino or Positano here (the latter I found rather dissapointing but that is another story). Even though it is a gorgeous, colourful village build on a hill, it is mostly one thing: peaceful. You won't find designer boutiques or jetset hotspots, however if you want to buy reasonably priced quality leather goods, you may be lucky to find a beautiful piece at Boutique Del Cuoio. You cannot miss Ristorante Serafino either, walking up the small alleys you will most likely pass along this panoramic terrace intuitively. In fact, no matter from which direction or small alley you are coming from, you will almost always end up here at this central place. The exterior in terms of furnishing is simple, but who would be interested in tables and chairs if you can have a splendid view over the Ligurian Sea? During the day its the perfect setting for an Italian breakfast, or Prosecco, nibbles and a good book. At sunset it is pure bliss and romance is here to stay when it gets dark.
The church San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist), which you will instantly see from afar when driving towards Cervo, looks almost majestic over the medieval town, which is officially declared as one of Liguria's most beautiful villages - I borghi piu' belli d'italia. It's a must to see. While some Italian churches can be either extremely dark or not in the best overall state anymore, the baroque San Giovanni Battista shines with an impeccable facade and likewise interior. Just imagine this oppulent church as a backdrop for a destination wedding! Entering the church you will be welcomed by its opulent pastel coloured and gold interiors, leaving the church you will be blown away by the view over the sea.
Other than the beautiful pastel Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista on your visit to Cervo you will not only get to see small shops, but also the remains of the defensive wall and old towers of Cervo, which were built in the 16th century to protect the village. For art lovers, not only the colour of the old buildings and the enchanting and inspiring light, but also galleries and art exibitions are an additional reason to visit. Same goes for the frescoes in the romanesque Oratorio di Santa Caterina, which was built in the 18th century. Cervo is also host to the yearly International Chamber Music Festival of Cervo which takes place every summer since 1964.
For more info visit http://www.cervochambermusic.com/.
A little disclaimer here, the alleys are steep and narrow and unless you provide of a cute little three wheeled APE, you can't drive either. There is a car park from where you will have to walk up, however it is so worth it! That being said, depending on the temperature it might be rather exhausting and potentially challenging with a wheelchair or push chair, a factor to be considered when planning your trip. I have never stayed overnight, however there are accomodations available. If you fancy a road trip along the coast, this would be a perfect contrast to busier places you'll pass by. Same goes for the beaches...there are cobblestone beaches beneath Cervo such as Bagni L'Angolo or Bagni Tosco, however I have never visited them, as there are many sandy beaches nearby, such as Alassio, or Laigueglia, another favourite spot of mine, which I keep coming back to since about 20 years!
It's a perfect destination for a daytrip. You might even want to consider a road trip along the Côte d'Azur and Riviera Ligura with many exiting stops along the way:
Source: Map data ©2020 Google
Source: Map data ©2020 Google
Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista - the baroque Saint John the Baptist Church
Centro Storico di Cervo - the old town centre of Cervo
Oratorio di Santa Caterina - romanesque 18th century frescoes
Unfortunately Cervo has no railway station or harbour, so ideally you will reach it by car using the SS1 Via Aurelia and/or A10/E80
Ristorante Serafino, Via G. Matteotti, 8, 18010 Cervo IM, Italy, +39 0183 408185
and many more surely delicious options!
Boutique Del Cuoio, Via Sandor Vegh, 18010 Cervo IM, Italy, +39 334 332 9258
I'd love to hear from you if you have visited Cervo or if you have recommendations for other hidden gemstones!