Villa Riviera is today a unique boutique hotel located at the top of the hills of Santa Giulia, between Portofino and Sestri Levante. The villa is an outstanding historical Italian Villa. Originally built in the early 1900s has been recently restored and enhanced by the vision and work of different professionals that has emphasized the uniquenesse of the interiors and of the garden. But we believe that for the visitors of Villa Riviera, its history might be of great inspiration too…
The historical name “Eremo di Santa Cecilia” (Santa Cecilia’s hermitage) derives from the religious building that was in place before the Villa was built at the very end of the 18th century by an aristocrat family from Genova. The hermitage was in a strategic place being at the cross of the ‘crueza’ (narrow typical ligurian trail), the direct way connecting the sea level territory to the slate caves at the top of Santa Giulia’s hill and to the main track known as the “Alta Via dei Monti Liguri” (High Ligurian Mountain track), running through all the ridge of the Appennino Ligure to France.
It’s remembered that the monks were used to meditate in this secluded and peaceful places, walking around the same Villa garden built with stones (called in ligurian dialect “risseu”) coming from the sea and perfectly preserved till the present day.
To testify the religious past of the area remains a small medieval chapel close to the property, the “Capella di San Michele”, and the near by Santa Giulia’s church which origins date back to 1031.
The frescoes that decorate the Villa interiors were painted at the beginning of the 1900s; the noble family that took over the old hermitage being irreligious and Masonic decided that the Villa was to be a symbol of “Paganism”. For this reason was required to the famous local painter Raffaello Resio to decorate the ceiling of the Villa with themes celebrating the greatness of the human being, mankind and pagan deity. The result of Resio’s work is today splendidly preserved and can be admire both in the common spaces and in the private suites of the property.
During the last century different owners took over the Villa but surely the most famous one was a wealthy “ healer” believed to have magical power. It is said that the magical man was treating anyone who was asking for help without the request of money, though the old villagers from Santa Giulia still remember of fabulous cars coming to the Villa from France, Germany or Switzerland in search for help.
In conclusion, after many years, succeding the monks, the noble Masonic family, the wealthy healer, here we stand. The old mansion has been transformed into a luxury hotel, enhancing all its original characteristics. We tried to preserved the most from the past blending it with the beauty of modern Italian design and the highest international hotellerie standards.
We are waiting for you and we can’t wait to show you what has enchanted us since the first day …