Liguria Photographs, Museums, Cinque Terre, Transportation
One of Italy's smallest regions, Liguria stretches west in a narrow ribbon along the coast from France. Mountains separate it from Piedmont to the north, Emilia Romagna to the east and Tuscany to the south. Even if you've never been there, you've probably seen its northeastern border in all those movies where glamorous jet setters hop into their sports cars and motor from Monte Carlo to Rome: the quaint customs booths any foreign film lover knows well are outside Ventimiglia. Like so much of Italy, Liguria is a land of contrasts, home to belle époque seaside resort towns in the style of Cannes and Monaco; dozens and dozens of sandy strands, rocky coves and pebbly beaches; the country's largest commercial port and largest naval port; some of its most secluded stretches of coast, where lush forests of lemon trees, herbs, flowers, almonds and pines send forth heady sweet-smelling breezes; terraced hillsides that produce an olive oil considered more delicate than those grown in Tuscany. Whether you travel by train or by car, the spectacular journey along the Ligurian coast goes through tunnel after tunnel, always bursting forth from darkness into warm sunlight, the aquamarine sea glimmering at your side.
Ezra Pound, Lord Byron, Shelley and his wife Mary Wollstonecraft, Ernest Hemingway all loved this part of Europe, whose capital is Genoa. The world's schoolchildren know this city as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, but few foreigners consider it one of Italy's must-see art centers. Indeed, it is a typical bustling seaport, similar to Marseilles in many aspects. Yet it is worth a visit, if only for a few hours between trains. Its steep, narrow alleys stretch from the picturesque medieval town center up to the hills crowding directly behind it. You can visit the explorer's home, which happens to be next door to the serene 12th-century cloisters of Sant'Andrea, a welcome respite from the lively atmosphere of a harbor that has sent raucous sailors off to conquer the world for centuries. Via Garibaldi (pictured at right), with its patrician palaces and herringbone brick pavement, is the epitome of European elegance, and the Royal Palace, which houses an excellent collection of European art works, rivals Versailles for its extravagant trappings.
Notwithstanding Genoa's attractions, most people come to Liguria for its seashore, which is a virtually uninterrupted string of resorts that have been a mecca for Italian tourists for a hundred years. The Ligurians have two names for their boomerang-shaped coastline: the half that stretches from France to Genoa is called La Riviera di Ponente, while the half that lies on the Italian peninsula proper is La Riviera di Levante. The latter is where you will find Liguria's rising star attraction, the fascinating Cinqueterre.
- Genoa, Be the First on Your Block to Know!
- The sparkling Riviera di Levante, the coast from Genoa to La Spezia, is one of Italy's most famous. It features a host of picturesque fishing villages, the most renowned of which is Portofino.
- Discover Portofino and the Cinque Terre with our three-night independent travel package: you do the touring on your own, we take care of the hassles!
- Quite different from the southern half of Liguria's coast, the Riviera di Ponente that stretches from France to Genoa is a flowering paradise studded with such turn-of-the-century belle époque resort towns as San Remo.
- It's easy to fill an entire week with exciting day trips based out of Sanremo. Click
here to see the itinerary.
new Museum of the Sea provides wonderful entertainment
for anyone interested in sailing and ships.
- Traditional Ligurian food is some of the most refined cuisine in Italy. Click here for recipes and information about the region.
- Here are three historic monasteries you'll probably want to visit. Or you can stay overnight, a truly unique Italian experience.
- Find the location, zip code, area code, province or region of a specific town.
- A year-round calendar of the colorful festivals and pageants held throughout the region of Liguria.
- Ceramics, kitchen utensils, hand-made linens, antique bric-a-brac: what better place to find souvenirs for your friends and yourself than a flea market, set in the shadow of a 16th-century cathedral, perchance? Keep this calendar of outdoor markets in Liguria for your files.
[Regions of Italy]