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 for my husband fuzzes my affection of this place, 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 communities 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 is it's a lot like the Cinque Terre, but without the crowds.
Here is my guide on what to do in this off the beaten path destination on the Italian Riviera.
What to Do
While you're in Tellaro, you're not supposed to do anything. That's the whole point of staying in this remote 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 throughout the year.
Where to Stay
If you're looking for a high-end stay, then I would recommend the Eco del Mare. This hipster chic hotel is hidden amongst 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. Instead of roughing it, you can enjoy their tricked out facilities including 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.
Where to Shop
Check out Bazaar dell’Iride 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 storytelling 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 town, in the main square, and on the rocky cliffs that descent into 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.
Have you ever been to Tellaro?
I'd love to hear what you thought in the comments box below.
Photo Credit: the pictures of Tellaro were taken by me. The photos of the restaurants, hotels and events are from the related websites