The Secret Boardwalk of the Italian Riviera

The Secret Boardwalk of the Italian Riviera
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Cinque Terra, Italy is world renowned for its colorful houses built on the peak of rocky hillsides overlooking the magical blue waters of the Mediterranean. It has even been named a world heritage site by UNESCO. During the summer, it is one of the most visited regions in Italy.

However, Cinque Terre is not the sole sensation of the Ligurian shore. The entire coast from Genoa to La Spezia offers spectacular views, charming towns, village ports and excellent cuisine. One such town is Framura, found between Portofino and Cinque Terra, set on the rocky coastline of Liguria.

A town with a secret

Framura is a quiet town, happy to be Cinque Terra’s neighbor and not in the least envious of her limelight. The residents are kind and welcoming but they have been keeping a little secret; a seafront boardwalk, which gives access to beaches that were once remote and only reachable by boat.

The stone and wooden promenade is hidden from the roadside above and runs along the rocky coastline. After facing many challenges due to the rugged terrain, the boardwalk was finally completed and has, until now, remained a hidden gem enjoyed by locals and savvy tourists visiting Framura and the towns along the Levante Bay.

The new boardwalk runs along the cliff side offering breathtaking views of the gulf. The path runs between beaches that were once only accessible by yacht or from the private villas above. Starting at Torsei beach to the Vallà beach and continuing to the Arena beach.

It’s a pleasant walk along public access beaches where you can set down your blanket or beach chair. The beaches are pebbles and stones, so wear your sandals. At night it is lit up for romantic evening strolls after dinner.

For sport enthusiasts, you can jog or rent a bike and go to the other towns of the bay on the Levanto cycle path, which runs through the old train tunnels, or take advantage of the many trails for both mountain biking and hiking. Off the bike path, there is another secluded beach called Porto Pidocchio, a small inlet embraced by rocks.

There is also easy access to il Porticciolo, the marina which is snuggled inside a rocky cove where the Madonna (Virgin Mary), vigilantly protects the gulf of Framura from atop the bluff of a jagged boulder.

After a walk along the boardwalk, visit the upper town, which has been selected by the prestigious association I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia (The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy). Meander through the alleyways and narrow lanes of the hamlets passing medieval watchtowers, noblemen’s villas and visit the local Ca di Mare vineyard.

Framura is also a great place to stay while visiting other parts of Liguria. The train station makes it accessible to visit all the towns along the coast. There are hotels, rentals and b&bs making it a good base for further travel.

How to get to the Framura Boardwalk

From the train station there is an underpass and steps leading to the Torsei beach where the boardwalk begins.

By Train

There is a train station in Framura, on the Genova-Pisa line and can be reached by all major cities.

By Plane

Fly to Cristoforo Colombo Genova Airport (distance 74.7 km.) or Galileo Galilei Pisa Airport (114 km.).

Airlines that fly to Genova: Ryan Air, Air France, KLM, Luftansa, Alitalia, Volotea

Airlines that fly to Pisa: Ryan Air, Norwegian, British, Alitalia, Qtar, Easy Jet, Eurowings

By Car

Get the A12 autostrada (highway), exit at Deiva Marina, and follow the signs that say “Framura loc. Costa” about 15 minutes. You can park in upper-Framura and take a shuttle bus down, or drive down a narrow winding road and park near the station.

All photos by Celia Abernethy


Celia lives on Lake Como, Italy. She shares her discoveries of her travels and experiences in Europe, giving readers an insider’s view of what to do, where to go and how to do it in style.

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