La Sosta di Ottone III
A Magical Escape in the Cinque Terre Region
Heaven, heaven and boutique hotel all in one, La Sosta di Ottone III is perched 200 meters above sea-level, amid the vine-clad hills of the magical UNESCO World Heritage Cinque Terre region in Italy’s Liguria. Positioned at the highest point of the medieval hamlet of Chiesanuova, with breath-taking views onto the Levanto valley and Mediterranean Sea, you will revel in the hotel’s stunning surroundings, soaking up its ancient soul.
A millennium ago King Otto III passed the night at the exact spot the Hotel now occupies, on his way to being crowned in Rome. Later, in his short life, he surely must have pined for the beauty of La Sosta. Today, the 16th Century building honours His Holiness’s name. Family-run and family-felt, the current hotel owners have been hosting since 2002 with such warmth and hospitality that guests too are made to feel as emperors.
With no frills nor fuss, the atmosphere at La Sosta di Ottone III is laidback and authentic to its core. La Sosta in Italian literally means “a stop”, and here you can slow down and unwind, and be looked after with great care and thoughtfulness by the owners and their team. La Sosta was once a private home where the family spent many glorious holidays before deciding to turn it into an intimate boutique hotel:
“We love this home and the area right from the beginning we decided that we wanted to share exactly this with our future guests….. hoping that during their stay they connect with the Cinque Terre and Ligurian region right here, at La Sosta di Ottone III, through its décor, food and wine, artists and artisans, the sea and valley view, the rhythm and sounds of a medieval hamlet, including the church bells.”
One of the many joys of La Sosta di Ottone is that Chiesanuova is car free. The main guest car park is at the bottom of the village, roughly 150 metres from the Hotel, which can be reached either by a charming monorail carrying guests and luggage or by walking up through the village. The Hotel, a historic landmark, has been beautifully and thoughtfully restored using only local traditional materials. There are six bedrooms, each unique and decorated with a simple elegance and a blend of antique and contemporary furnishings and art. Bathrooms are luxurious, adorned with rosso levanto marble and mosaics, and filled with extra virgin olive oil products. And the views from the bedrooms are unsurpassable: unspoilt Chiesanuova, the lush, terraced landscape and the blue Ligurian sea beyond.
On the vine covered terrace or the inside restaurant you can enjoy the finest locally sourced Ligurian food and wine. Ask for a description for almost every ingredient, you’ll immediately understand that at every turn the owners have fostered strong relationships with the local community. Some of Italy’s best olives grow on the steep hillsides, their oil used in the typical flatbread focaccia and famed basil rich pesto, while freshly caught fish and shellfish are in abundance. Likewise, breakfast can be eaten outside or inside, and one can choose from a table laden with seasonal fruits and freshly squeezed orange juice, local cheeses and cold meats, homemade jams and freshly baked cakes and breads among other delicacies. Early every evening wines are served from the cellar accompanied by the best Italian Aperitivo and for those who particularly love olive oil there are special tastings most nights.
One of the highlights of this area is hiking, and the Hotel is happy to advise on wonderful walks which take you along a series of unpaved paths, old mule tracks, connecting the villages scattered across the hills. Part of Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, the narrow paths roughly follow the jagged coastline and traverse terraced vineyards, lemon and olive groves.
The Hotel has a wide range of other fabulous activities in the area from private visits to local wine and olive oil producers, artists and artisans, jam-making courses and biking for the hardy. The five villages of the Cinque Terre, with their tall brightly coloured houses, all sit directly on the Riviera. For centuries these were unreachable except by boat or on foot or mule, positioned as such to prevent invasion, helping to retain their historical nature and charm. It is a particularly special experience to enjoy the Cinque Terre and the Riviera from the sea, and the Hotel will arrange a private boat for you to do so. But, as La Sosta di Ottone III reminds us: “DON’T FORGET …the art of Dolce Far Niente” and there can be nowhere better to experience this than at the Hotel itself!
A few segreti (secrets) from Angela Fenwick:
Cinque Terre, look at the dry stone walls and terracing!
… because this is what makes the Cinque Terre a Unesco World Heritage site:
“The Cinque Terre are a Unesco World Heritage site because the work of man over the millennia has transformed a jagged, steep coastline into an intensively terraced landscape so as to be able to wrest from nature a few hectares of land suitable for agriculture, such as growing vines and olive trees”.
Dry stone walls are the backbone of the Cinque Terre man-made terraced landscape.
Understanding the history, technique and impact of the dry stone wall opens the way to understanding the Cinque Terre’s landscape, culture, and people.
Discover La Sosta di Ottone’s Wine & Wall Trail.
Case Lovara (FAI):
“Facing out over the eastern Ligurian Sea and accessible only on foot via a magnificent panoramic path, Podere Case Lovara is the fulcrum of a project to salvage an ancient agricultural world and to develop the local resources in a sustainable way.”
Levanto – Bonassola – Framura pedestrian and cycle path:
Try the pedestrian and bicycle lane through a renovated railway tunnel all the way to Bonassola and Framura.
Pontremoli, Museo Statue Stele:
Prehistoric and contemporary: “The Statue Stele, found over the years in the territory of the Historical Lunigiana, are the most ancient and mysterious heritage of this land: the Museum of the Statue Stele, set in the prestigious setting of the castle Piagnaro of Pontremoli, offers the opportunity for a unique and exciting journey to discover these ancient testimonies carved in stone…”
For rainy days:
Chiavari, Lucca, Pisa, Genova’s Palazzi in Via Garibaldi, Genova Naval Museum, Genova Aquarium, Pontremoli Statue Stele Museum, La Spezia Castle & Museum, La Spezia Naval Museum, La Spezia Lia Museum.