Savona is a seaport in the northern Italian region of Liguria whose claim to fame has been its esteemed denizens. It was the home of Christopher Columbus and influential Popes Sixtus IV and Julius II, who have left their legacy on the coastal town (and who also commissioned the Sistine Chapel and the Michelangelo frescoes in Rome). The entrance into the harbor is dramatic and picturesque — a number of towers line the skyline, surrounded by hillside homes. Cruise ships dock right in the center of town where you can access the medieval quarter by foot.
What We Love
Savona Harbor: It's easy place to walk off the ship and soak up the local scene here. Plentiful shopping and dining starts at the dock and continues around town, which offers some of the best food, wine, and local flavor around.
The Clocktower: At the end of Via Paleocapa is the 14th-century La Torretta clocktower, known as the local symbol of Savona.
Best Known For
Old Town: The compact historic center survived destruction from World War II, and an amble around the neighorhood unveils some architectural gems from the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.
Priamar Fortress: This impressive structure dates back to 1542 and was a military prison up until 1903. Inside is a small museum and some beautiful gardens, and there are also some wonderful panoramic views. Take the elevator to the top to save some time and effort.
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Who It's Best For
Cathedral Lovers: The town of Savona also has a Sistine Chapel its own. Though the original ceilings were redone in the 18th century, you won't want to miss this Baroque splendor.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It Lacks Small-Town Charm: For the most part, Savona is a modern port, and may not have the same quaint ambience as you might expect from other coastal towns.
Chris Owen is a Florida-based travel writer and photographer.