Italy | Under the Ligurian Sun

The blog can’t seem to get out of Italy, because of all the questions that have come from viewers of “The Brian Boitano Project,” since it aired on HGTV.

One of the queries was, “Where did you stay during the house renovation?”

The answer is a charming town on the Italian Riviera, called Chiavari. (Pronounced “key-àh-va-rie” with a rolling “r.”)

On one side was the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea, and on the other, a majestic green mountain range, where Brian’s house was located.

The Palazzo di Giustizia stands majestically on one side of the town square.


A statue of Giuseppe Mazzini stands in the square.  He was a 19th century Italian politician nicknamed “the beating heart of Italy” for his efforts in the unification of the country.

Mosaic details embellish the sidewalks of the arcades on either side of the streets. I took these photos when everyone was home for lunch, but in the late afternoon the streets are closed off to cars, and the town comes alive with activity. (I took a wrong turn in my car one day and ended up driving down the pedestrian streets…you should have seen the looks of horror.)

I loved the old graphics on these signs.

This colorful window advertises the many types of salami sold inside.

Food, glorious Italian food…pesto is a local specialty.  Pasta with pesto is typically served with potatoes and green beans.

The “volcano” pizza was served at one of our favorite restaurants, Il Convivio. (Curiously, the restaurant was formerly known as “Pam Pam.”)  The pizza is filled with tomato sauce, salami, and gorgonzola cheese.

Volcano pizza, Il Convivio_Chiavari_Italy

Pastry shops are stocked with fresh-baked, delectable, sugary, treats.

Along the Mediterranean is a wide promenade. It was April when I took this photograph, so the weather was warm enough for people to stroll, and converse, with friends outdoors. Some people even took the opportunity to sunbathe.

Sky blue and sunny yellow was a befitting, and appealing, color combination that I saw often.

Everywhere I looked was a feast for my designer’s eyes.

Even the view outside my bathroom window at The Monte Rosa Hotel was enchanting.

The bells in the St. John bell tower, just down the street from my hotel, would chime every half hour.

On Sundays, the bells would reverberate with a glorious hymn that stopped me in my tracks each time I heard it.

“For us to go to Italy is like a most fascinating act of self-discovery…back, back down the old ways of time. Strange and wonderful chords awake in us, and vibrate again after many hundreds of years of complete forgetfulness”

D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) English writer

It feels like only yesterday that I was there.  I cannot wait to return.

6 responses to “Italy | Under the Ligurian Sun”

  1. Ginny Hamilton

    Thanks for responding to my question.  What a wonderful experience for you all!!!  Thanks again for taking the time (and the photographic talent) to share it with the rest of us.

  2. admin

    Yes, we all stayed at the same hotel and had dinners together every night. And, yes, it was wonderful!

  3. So happy you shared these photos.  I would love to return to Italy one day and visit this part of the country.  (I had the experience of accidentally driving on a crowded pedestrian street in Germany – by the time we hit England I decided to learn how to read a map so my husband could drive.) Was hoping the Cooking Channel would repeat the cooking episode that was filmed in Brian’s Villa, but I haven’t been able to catch it.

  4. Ginny Hamilton


    I’m a decades-long fan of Brian’s, and simply wanted to thank you for your incredible sets of pictures.  Wonderful!  Did Brian and his nieces stay at the same beautiful hotel?  Such fun…..
    You did a remarkable job with him on the restoration…..and, I admit, I am a bit jealous of such a terrific experience.  Thanks again.  Ginny

  5. Eloise

    I am 1/4 Italian and gotta get there. I’ve never been but will go one day as God is willing. I have to commune with my native land. hahaha.

  6. Orlene

    Fascinating!  So many things to see and so much beautiful color!
    Happy Easter!!