Rapallo might be an off the beaten track destination in Liguria, but if you want to get high above it all and eat well--consider this Italian Riviera town.
Funivia Rapallo-Montallegro takes you from the Italian Riviera resort of Rapallo up to Santuario Basilica Nostra Signora di Montallegro, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro, a basilica finished in 1559. The panoramic views of the Golfo del Tigullio are spectacular. A five minute walk from the train station gets you to the Rapallo Funivia station, so you don't even need a car for this countryside excursion. If you're on a day trip, or wish to spend an overnight before going on the the Cinque Terre, which is nearby, we suggest exploring Rapallo in the cool of the morning, then taking the funivia (cable car) up to the Basilica to have lunch.
Here's how the history of the place began:
"According to tradition, the Madonna appeared (2 July 1557) on Monte Leto, to Giovanni Chichizola, a peasant, and showed him a picture of her passing from earthly life, saying that it had been transported by angels from Greece, and that she would leave it on the mountain side as a pledge of her love. The picture was placed in the principal Church of Rapallo for veneration, but two days later it mysteriously disappeared and was again found on a rock at Montallegro." ~ The Sanctuary
There are pilgrim and tourism facilities on the mountain. Albergo "Casa del Pellegrino", featured in the video has not only good views, but a restaurant recommended by the personel on the aerial tramway. There are many hiking trails in the area; it's a way those without a car can get a few days of countrside into the itinerary.
Click the triangle on the lower left to start the video featuring the tram ride down to Rapallo.
Other view properties can be found at VRBO:
The walls of the Basilica are filled with objects people have asked the Madonna for help with--including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, here featured in a dramatic painting.