Last year our family traveled to Italy, returning to some favorite spots and exploring new ones. I am inspired by travel, from the food to the terrain and the people. I love trying new things, getting lost on little side streets, and somehow Italy has just captured my heart.
Because we were traveling with our toddler, we started our trip in a favorite town that we already knew well, Levanto. It's a charming coastal town in the Italian Riviera. We love that it lacks both the crowds of neighboring Cinque Terre and the glitz and glamour of the other Riviera cities like Portofino. It's cozy, welcoming, and charming as can be with many locals just living and working there.
While traveling with a toddler isn't the most relaxing vacation, we decided to travel regularly with her. Otherwise, if you keep waiting for the "perfect" time, that time may never come.
A Durmi Guesthouse was just as relaxing as we remembered from our last trip, with our room opening onto a beautiful garden and courtyard for Maple to play in.
We arrived just in time for sunset over the garden.
It’s easy to relax at the guesthouse because their courtyard is so beautiful and peaceful. It backs up to the backyard gardens of the other homes, so you feel like you’re in the Secret Garden. Because it’s fully enclosed it was a safe space for Maple to play while we enjoyed meals under the pergola.
Nearby in the old quarter, the Pasticceria Bianchi serves delicious coffee and pastries. Maple basked in the attention she received from all the locals who came in for their coffees. And thus began the outpouring of affection from local Italians to our tiny sidekick.
This vegetable market in the old quarter has the most incredible fresh smell! Italy has the most incredible produce, and for such low prices.
The food in Levanto is delicious, especially at our favorite restaurant, L’articiocca. Clara, the friendly owner, remembered us from two years earlier, and was amazing with our daughter. It’s a small restaurant frequented by locals, and Clara and Maple hit it off immediately.
The courses come out slowly, but are deliciously cooked from scratch.
There are also the requisite beach bars, where we enjoyed several casual, average lunches with a gorgeous ocean view. And even though the ocean was still cool, it was fun to play on the rocky beach.
It seems everyone in Italy has a bicycle.
The pedestrian streets of the old town have such amazing potted gardens.
I don’t know what it is about Italy, but the roses grow like weeds there. I stumbled upon this rose bush outside a tiny, nondescript apartment. The fragrance was overwhelming.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at Levanto. If you're considering visiting Cinque Terre, I highly recommend staying north of the area in Levanto, as it makes a more relaxing, and less crowded, home base.