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Levanto is a comune (municipality) in the province of La Spezia in the Italian region Liguria, located about 60km southeast of Genoa and about 20km northwest of La Spezia. The town is on the coast at the end of a valley, thickly wooded with olive and pine trees. The ridges on either side of the valley thrust out into the sea as the headlands of Mesco and Levanto. The municipality forms part of the coastal district known as the Comunità Montana della Riviera Spezzina, and part of its territory is included in the Cinque Terre National Park.HistoryIn Roman times there was already a small settlement by the name of Ceula on the hills. This constituted an important nodal point due to its location. At the beginning of the 9th century, the bell tower of the present church, the Chiesa di San Siro, served as a watchtower and as a defence against dangers from the sea. From the 13th century, however, the importance of the area began to decline – this to the advantage of Levanto itself, which was expanding by the sea.Levanto first became the feudal stronghold of the Malaspina, before passing to the Da Passano and then, in 1229, to the Republic of Genoa. In the Middle Ages, the village became a centre of commercial activity, benefiting from maritime and overland communications, the most important of the latter being the via Francigena. In the post-Medieval period, the village saw major development with the construction of the Borgo Nuovo or Stagno on the plain of the Ghiararo. This survives today and is characterised by interesting 17th and 18th century buildings. A further phase of urban development took place at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries with the opening of two thoroughfares, the present Corso Italia and Corso Roma. From 1950, the village experienced further growth culminating during the 1970s in the present townscape.Add Levanto and other destinations to your itinerary using our Italy trip itinerary builder, and learn about what to see, what to do, and where to stay.
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