Monterosso “old town” is the place for you, if you like classic Italian buildings and street life, it has plenty of both. It is the largest of the five towns on the rocky coastline of the Italian Riviera.
That coastline the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) and all of the towns except Corniglia are natural seaports. The ports were a safe harbor for sailing vessels in the middle-ages when the trade route between Genoa and Rome hugged the coast.
The old town of Monterosso has many narrow alleys behind the buildings. The aisles provide a quick exit to the mountains above. When invaders came from the sea, the labyrinth of alleys slowed them down while the residents escaped out of the back of the buildings.
One way to travel to Monterosso is to use the train that runs the length of the Cinque Terre. It runs from Levanto to La Spezia and services all of the towns. The train stops at the terminal once or twice an hour depending on the time. It is quick and convenient.
Another way is to ride the ferry that stops at the port once every hour. While the boat takes a little longer, it is a great way to see the villages from the water; the view is beautiful.