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Liguria

A thousand colours, a thousand scents, a thousand places in a single region. You’ll embark on a journey of discovery of a mysterious land, sunny and intense, which has captured the hearts of tourists from every corner of the globe. Culture and beauty blend between sky and sea, extraordinary contrasts evidence the passing of ancient populations, the climate is mild and gentle: all this makes the perfect mixture for an unforgettable holiday.

The Alps reflected in the sea, deep-rooted food and wine traditions to be explored, exuberant nature and landscapes steeped in the history of a proud people will mean you’ll never want to leave. From the Levante to the Ponente Rivieras via Genoa, you’ll find a mosaic of options to make the most of your stay in this mystical and charming land.

From the time of the ancient Ligurian people who settled on the coastline between the rivers Rhône and Arno to the present day, these green lands have seen evolution and revolution. Celtic migrations, colonizations by Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians, the Lombard conquest and the Franks, right up to the founding of the Maritime Republic of Genoa and its trade agreements around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. A land of explorers, from the Vivaldi brothers to Columbus, and of those, like Garibaldi, Mazzini and Mameli, who were instrumental in the birth of the Kingdom of Italy.

A few bunches of Genoese basil, parmesan, pecorino, a handful of pine nuts, a couple of cloves of garlic and some extra virgin olive oil from the Ligurian Riviera. There you have the recipe for the king of Ligurian cuisine: his royal highness, pesto. Surely you only need to taste it to be convinced of the deliciousness of this region’s food and wines. In every corner, from the sea to the mountains, you’ll find a fine old trattoria or restaurant to whet your appetite. You’ll find it hard to travel around without feeling the desire to give in to the unmistakable aroma of the famous focaccias, farinatas and the fried fish shops known as sciamadde!

In Genoa’s elegant Via Roma, the most celebrated names in high fashion are condensed into the space of a few hundred metres. Worth a visit is classic menswear store Finollo, recognisable for its Art Nouveau windows. In Savona, meanwhile, you’ll find fascinating markets in the old town centre, where you can stock up with handcrafted souvenirs: from Albisola ceramics to model ships made by retired fishermen. And in Sanremo’s Via Matteotti there’s an astonishing choice of fabulous boutiques and designer stores; you’ll lose yourself among dreamy clothes and luxury items.

The contrast between landscapes is truly incredible in such a small area, moving rapidly from the altitude of the Alps and Apennines to a rocky, fragmented coastline facing the Ligurian Sea. Lifestyles vary too: on one side precipitous slopes, green forests and scattered mountain villages, on the other, vegetation characterised by cacti, palms, lemon orchards and olive groves. Surrounded by the scents of mimosa, camellias, violets and daisies, it’s not uncommon to spot dolphins and whales, even from the coast.

Visitors wishing to experience wind-powered travel will find a sailing school in every port; those seeking immersion in the blue depths should not miss the Christ of the Abyss, an iconic submerged statue in San Fruttuoso di Camogli. Or you can take a kayak trip to explore areas like Cala dell’Oro in Portofino, Cala del Tino or Tinetto in the Gulf of Poets. Mountain bike enthusiasts, on the other hand, will be spoilt for choice: there’s the Alta via dei Monti Liguri, 400 km from Ventimiglia to Sarzana, and routes from Finale Ligure around the Gulf of Noli. In short, it’ll be a tricky choice between surfing in Levanto, Sanremo and Recco, trekking the routes of the Cinque Terre or skiing in Monesi and Santo Stefano d’Aveto.

On the Riviera di Ponente, the thermal baths at Pigna use the sulphurous waters that gush out of the ground lukewarm. For maximum relaxation you can take advantage of many types of massage and beauty treatments. The ferrous water at the Eira thermal baths in Diano Castello has anti-stress, anti-imflammatory and cosmetic properties, and the natural clay produced at the spring is bathed in these magical waters. A stone’s throw from Genoa you’ll find the baths of Acquasanta, with a wellness centre and a beauty farm which use the spring’s alkaline mineral waters.

Barefoot aperitifs on the beach at sunset, the background music blending with the melody of the waves. The trendiest nightspots on the Riviera can be found in Santa Margherita, Portofino and Sestri Levante. What with a fish dinner and a fashionable cocktail, relaxation and plenty of delightful laughter, you won’t be getting home before dawn. The new marina in Varazze is full of young people; in Arezzano the place to be is a former tunnel. Night clubs in Albisole, Genoa’s alternative scene, Imperia’s beach bars and Alassio’s modern luxury, for a night that never ends.

Over the centuries, Liguria has inherited numerous traditions linked with religious anniversaries. Famous and extremely typical are the living nativity scenes in traditional Ligurian costume in Genoa, Bargone, Lavagna, Rapallo and Zoagli. Good Friday is fascinating in Ceriana, where the religious brotherhoods enliven their processions by singing. In May, the fishing village of Camogli celebrates the patron saint of fishermen, San Fortunato. The statue of the saint is carried around the streets by eight volunteers, followed by a great firework display and bonfires on the beach. September sees the famous Sagra del Fuoco in Recco, in honour of the town’s patron saint.

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liguria

Excellences of the region

Destinations in the region

Portofino & Tigullio Gulf
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Riviera dei Fiori
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Via Francigena
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