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La Francesca is situated in the La Spezia area of Italy and is the natural doorway to the Cinque Terre National Park. Perched on the Ligurian Eastern Rivervia in Italy, near Bonassola and Levanto, the owners of this 50-year old resort are making the most of the beautiful natural surroundings. Visitors are lured with the promise of wild, rugged coastlines, beaches, woodland, medieval villages, olive groves, farms and an abundance of flowers in the Spring/Summer months. The resort clings to the steep coastline and leads down to a bay – the surrounding marine area is protected (whales and dolphins often pass by).

Accommodation: La Francesca consists of 55 villas and apartments – which all face the sea – dotted around 15 hectares of protected area rich in pine trees and Mediterranean plants. Choose from one bedroom apartments or family cottages – all have bedrooms, living areas and basic kitchenettes.

Food: The on-site restaurant offers magnificent sea views from the terrace, plus a menu based on Mediterranean and Ligurian traditions and food and wines from the region. There’s also a bar on site.

Activities: The resort itself has all the usual sports facilities (swimming pool, tennis courts, bowling, table tennis etc) but surely most enjoyment comes from exploring the surrounding area with a number of treks (easy and slightly harder) available straight from La Francesca. There are plenty of outdoor activites for nature lovers and adventure seekers available through the nearby National Parks including cave and wreck diving; snorkeling; surfing; horse-riding; cycling; hiking; plus tightropes and zipwires at ‘Tree Adventures’ (Parco Avventura Val di Vara). As a family-friendly resort, a 10,000 sqm play area is a dream for children. There is also a small mini-market on site.

The National Parks: Alongside Cinque Terre you will also find –

  • Regional Natural Park of Portovenere, which besides Portus Veneris, the ancient port of Roman triremes, includes the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. The park still keeps traces of the prehistoric people who inhabited the Grotta dei Colombi.
  • Regional Natural Park of Montemarcello-Magra, an area of 4,320 hectares. Not only a set of wonderful landscapes, but also home to organisations such as the Centro Regionale Fauna Minore and the Orto Botanico of Montemarcello.
  • Regional Natural Park of Portofino, situated on Portofino headland, 1,800 hectares and 13 kms of coasts. The headland summit is accessibile only through the paths network.

Recommended for… Those who love nature and outdoor activities. Also very family-friendly.

Be aware that… This is not a self-catering holiday to escape from it all: the basic kitchen facilities mean you will have to eat in the (albeit lovely) resort restaurant or drive further afield.

‘Good’ credentials:

  • La Francesca has installed solar panels and uses solar-generated power whenver possible
  • Management of the site is respectful of the natural surroundings and encourages guests to consume less power
  • Situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, and next to several protected areas and National Parks
  • The owners promote traditional Ligurian culture, food and history (through cookery courses, wine tasting and more)

 

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