The town of Finale Ligure is spread out along the Riviera delle Palme, the palm-lined coast. It is an area of unrivalled beauty, with a wide variety of buildings and natural scenery, both coastal and inland. The Finalese hills rise steeply from the coast and have their own unspoilt ecosystem as well as ancient chapels and ruins. There are ample beaches, coastal views and the whole area is unrivalled for outdoor sports.
Finale Ligure is composed of four distinct small towns, surrounded on one side by the Finalese countryside and the plateau of le Manie and on the other by long sandy beaches. Finalmarina
, the heart of Finale Ligure, combines an historic centre, with beaches that provide a wide range of facilities, shops, boutiques and its famous palm-lined promenade.
In the centre of Finalmarina, the large open square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, hosts concerts, events, demonstrations, exhibitions and concerts. Just behind the square is the 17th century cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, one of the most important baroque buildings in the region, with its imposing facade and two belltowers.
Strolling through the historic streets of Finalmarina, you can see the evidence of its past as a Spanish possession in the magnificent buildings with their imposing slate doorways, ornamented with coats of arms. The central square is dominated by the Triumphal Arch of Margaret of Aragon, erected in 1666 in honour of the Spanish princess who passed through Finale on the way to Vienna meet her fiancé, the emperor. Finalborgo
, inland from Finalmarina, was founded in the 13th century by the Marquises of Carretto. The remains of its past as the old capital of the area for more than three centuries can still be seen in its elegant grand houses, churches and city walls.
Today Finalborgo is noted for its specialist shops and has won awards as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The historic entrance gate with its ancient clock tower and coat of arms of the Del Carretto dynasty, takes visitors back to Mediaeval times and gives the impression of a place where time has stood still.
Visitors to Finalborgo should not miss the church of San Biagio, the cloisters of Santa Caterina and museum, the two hilltop castles of Castel Gavone and Castel San Giovanni and the Aycardi Theatre.
Finalborgo has a modern reputation for outdoor sports, and is a meeting point for visitors setting off for a climb, a day's walking or a mountain bike ride. Finalpia
, built around the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria di Pia, runs along the coast to the east of Finale Ligure. At Finalpia, with its 17th century houses, wide beaches converge with hillsides covered with olive trees and vines.
Visitors to the abbey can see the apiary and the monks' workshop. The abbey building features one of the most architecturally significant belltowers of the 13th century. Varigotti
, a village known for its so-called 'Saracen houses', grew up right next to the sea. Its ancient terraced one-storey houses were built on the beach and are painted in warm, typically Ligurian, shades of ochre and terracotta.
This former fishing port is a succession of narrow streets and small squares and its long sandy beach makes it the pride of the Riviera delle Palme. Passing the cliffs at Capo Noli, visitors reach the green calm of Saracens' Bay. For those in search of a bit of peace, the wild promontory of Punta Crena is an ideal destination, while the beach establishments offer a welcome to tourists.
The unspoilt beauty of Varigotti provided inspiration for famous writers and artists of the 20th century, including Ernest Hemingway, who immortalised its charming small lanes.