We park our car in Chiesanuova. It is one of these typical historic “frazione” in the picturesque Cinque Terre hills on the Ligurian coast. The hotel itself sits above the small village sans parking lots. But you don’t need to walk. Hop onto a small gondola and enjoy a brief ride to their ancient house.
The eye-popping villa dates back to the 16th century. Welcome to La Sosta the Ottone III in the hills above Levanto. Rest assured you have just discovered the epitome of an Italian vacation home. Liguria unplugged.
There is hardly anything that disturbs the peace. Only the ringing of the church bell may be. To remind you that time actually does pass up here. Albeit slowly. The view: Breathtaking. Beautiful. Olive trees as far as the eye can see, shimmering greens and, at the bottom, the turquoise Ligurian sea glistening in front of the small port of Levanto. Incidentally, the name La Sosta di Ottone III derives from the legend that Emperor Otto III. happened to stay here on his way to Rome for his coronation in 996.
This little gem has exactly six rooms, all of them really cozy and with beautiful views of the countryside. The furnishings are very authentic. If you had to furnish your own vacation home most likely this is what you would choose. Each room has their own name, reminiscent of the history of Otto III: one room dedicated to the emperor himself, while another is called Sylvester II and Gregory (both Popes back in the days), Theophanu (his mother), Adelaide (his grandmother) and Zoe (his fiancée). Designer pieces and antiques coexist in harmony, the colors of the walls are inspired by the Ligurian tradition.
Both in the rooms and in the restaurant you are sure to find noble Chiavarine chairs and works by artists who live in the area — such as Susie Barrow, Rosy Scapparone, Gregorio Giannotta, sculptor Paola Rando and photographer Odile Arias. Arts and crafts are very present in La Sosta and events are often organized to exchange ideas about them. A striking feature, for instance, is the curtain that decorates the reception area, a patchwork of weavings woven on old looms by the De Martino family from Lorsica.
La Sosta di Ottone III does feel more like a private residence not only because of the interior design but also because of the ensuing atmosphere. This is owed to a travel and culture-loving couple who opened the place some 20 years ago. Today they are no longer part of the daily operation but their presence is still felt behind the scenes. A small team takes care of the guests. Valentina, for example, welcomed us with unusual grace and friendliness. Born and raised in Levanto, she lays out the perfect days for her guests – always based on the wishes and needs of each individual. She knows the most authentic places and the most intriguing ways to explore Liguria.
Breakfast and dinner are not just eaten … they are celebrated here. There is a lot of homemade cakes and such trifles as the honey from Pignone by Patrizia Moggia or the homemade orange marmalade from the Cooperativa di Agricoltori della vallata di Levanto with which you will immediately fall in love. Or butter mixed by hand by Beppino Ocelli.
And every evening the chef prepares dishes featuring only local ingredients while playing with recipes that follow tradition and have a little personal touch. Like the Croxetti, a local pasta handmade in Varese Ligure. The restaurant has scored many awards over the years.
La Sosta di Ottone also organizes joint excursions for guests. For example to the beaches and villages of the Cinque Terre (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore), to Levanto and Bonassola. A must-do is a trip to the enchanting island of Palmaria, part of the Porto Venere Regional Natural Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can also take a tour of the Cinque Terre Park by e-bike.
Or a private tour of the vineyards accompanied by the winemaker who happily serves up an array of his wines for a tasting.
Or a cooking class in the kitchen of La Sosta with a subsequent dinner based on the dishes prepared in the afternoon accompanied by selected wines with the chef.
Doubles from 230 – 430 euros per night including breakfast.
Booking & Contacts
open from April until October.
La Sosta di Ottone III
Località Chiesanuova 39
Levanto (La Spezia)
+39 0187 814502