Chiavari with La Famiglia

A friend from Milan offered to take me along to visit his family in the Italian Riviera village of Chiavari to experience a ‘real’ Italian beach holiday. How could i refuse such a generous offer?


We stayed with my friend’s aunt, uncle, and young cousins, eating home-cooked meals and playing silly games.

My friend’s adorable little cousin was a very charming host, and he convinced us to let him accompany us for most of our local excursions. He enjoyed wearing my sarong as a cape sometimes.

A day was spent swimming together, the entire family and me, in the Mediterranean Sea. I climbed the rocks at the shore and splashed in the gentle waves, and at the end of the day i watched the boys tire themselves out in a pickup game of soccer (football).

While in town, i snapped surreptitious photos of classic European architecture elegantly framing the town square, along with crudely spray-painted declarations of love.

Chiavari, a town of only 28,000, is the sort of place i’d never have known to visit on my own, but which i am truly grateful i discovered with the help of a friend. It’s likely i would never have seen it, especially from this perspective, without being brought here.

These are the sorts of experiences that make traveling without plans so rewarding.