Tellaro – Travel Guide (Liguria, Italy)
My husband is from a fabulously beautiful town on the Ligurian coast, also known as the Italian Riviera. Just in case you think that my love of this place is fuzzed by my affection for my husband, I’d like to note that Travel and Leisure listed Tellaro as one of Europe’s most beautiful villages.
It’s also considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, an award assigned to it by none other than the Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy “I Borghi piu’ belli d’Italia”
The village is on the Gulf of La Spezia, also known as the Poet’s Gulf “Golfo dei poeti” since literary giants like Lord Byron and D.H. Lawrence once called the area home.
Another reason why I love this little village by the sea: it’s a lot like the Cinque Terre, but with a quarter of the crowds.
What to Do
While you’re in Tellaro you’re really not supposed to do anything. That’s the whole point of staying in an off-the-beaten-path location. After breakfast you can stroll the flower-lined street and the narrow alleys of the medieval village.
You can sunbathe for hours on the rocky coastline like a real Italian. And then you can eat some more.
If you insist on doing something more than swimming, eating, and sleeping, then you can check out San Giorgio Church or The Oratory of San Maria in Selaa which hosts art exhibits and events through out the year.
Where to Stay
Eco del Mare
If you’re looking for a high-end stay, then I would recommend the Eco del Mare.
This hipster chic hotel is hidden within one of the coves that leads to Tellaro.
This is a great mid-price option. The rooms are clean and simply appointed.
I don’t really do the camping thing but, if I did, I would do it here. It has tricked-out facilities with a pool, restaurant-pizzeria, internet, etc.
Where to Eat
For years this was a Michelin starred restaurant. It’s no longer so because the restaurant owners don’t change the menu enough for the Michelin standards (but it’s still mentioned in the guide). The seafood is always fresh and delicious, and the price is reasonable considering the quality.
Red Fish Cafe
Affordable trattoria style restaurant in the village center. The style indoors is reminiscent of an old Italian tavern. On a clear day you can also get a table outside right above the village marina.
When you’re here you really feel like you are in small town Italy. It’s where everyone between the ages of 20 – 45 goes for coffee and/or cheap drinks.
Bar La Marina
The tourists go here for the view. I can’t blame them, I’ve gone there too for that very same reason.
Where to Shop
It’s where you can pick up anything you may have forgotten (like sunscreen or your beach towel) and maybe even a pretty souvenir.
“La Festa del Borgo Fatato” (which I’m going to translate into ‘The Festival of the Enchanted Hamlet’) is held every year around the last week of July. For the occasion Tellaro is decked out to mimic a sort of medieval Halloween with cobwebs and fake spiders strategically placed around the village. You’ll find event organizers dressed up in medieval costumes and children running around with fairy wings. There are also stations for story telling and face painting.
The Octopus Festival “Sagra del Polpo” is held during the first week of August. The event commemorates the fabled foggy day when the Saracen pirates tried to attack the village. The people of Tellaro were alerted when a giant octopus climbed up the bell tower to ring the church bells. Ironically, the village celebrates their “savior” by eating his delicious descendants.
Underwater Christmas “Natale Subacquea” – This is perhaps my favorite amongst Tellaro’s annual festivities. In preparation for the yearly event the village’s inhabitants hand make thousands of slow burning candles, which they then position on the roads leading to the village, in the main square, and on the rocky cliffs that descend into the waters of the Poet’s Gulf… Just before midnight, on Christmas Eve, scuba divers emerge from the pitch black waters carrying a statue of Baby Jesus which they present to the village priest. A fireworks display begins promptly at midnight, indicating that it’s officially Christmas Day.
*All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.