The romantic paths of the Cinque Terre, the fortress-houses of Porto Venere and the square of Portofino. But even the medieval alleyways of Moneglia, the lace shops of Rapallo and the flowers of Sanremo. Liguria, borderland crushed by the Alps on the Tyrrhenian Sea, due to the territorial structure of its uniqueness: the steep slopes, the mountain villages, the narrow and rocky beaches make it one of the most spectacular regions of Italy. Advisable to go in by car along the Via Aurelia, even if the trip is longer than in the highway. Only in this way you can marvel at the sight of the typical and colorful houses – that suddenly appear after the bends or villages perched on the cliff overlooking the sea. “How do they do not fall?”, You ask. But the sea is not the only target. Liguria gives his best even in the mountains, along the Street of the Ligurian Mountains, a hiking trail to admire, at the same time, Corsica and Gorgona, Monviso and Rosa Massif. Or in the hills, among the olive trees and vineyards that dot the Riviera di Ponente. Lost at any moment in the scents of the forest, vegetables and seafood, dreaming of a dish of trofie with pesto and a nice glass of Rossese Dolceacqua.
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Genoa.A vertical city, crossed by stairways and creuse (the old ways) and lies on the sea front of an amphitheater of hills. This impression if you look from above Genoa, one of the best ways, perhaps, to realize the majesty of Genoa. A sumptuous, however, that is not caught soon as you start to visit. It will be for the tall buildings, the narrow streets, for typical alleys (the alleys Genoese), but it is not uncommon to get lost and never know what lies behind the next corner. Typical seaside town, the sea has always staked everything. This is demonstrated by the port, among the largest in Europe, a crossroads for centuries an important trading even with the East. A city of contrasts, which has shamelessly, alongside the evidence of the past, modern buildings and structures, such as the Aquarium, the Bull of Renzo Piano and Bigo. With a few brushstrokes of green here and there, thanks to the many parks and gardens. Introverted and reserved, Genoa was the mother (sometimes adoptive) of great talents who have not forgotten to put it in the background of their songs, as Fabrizio De Andrè, Ivano Fossati and Gino Paoli
Long and narrow, almost crescent shaped, Liguria has an area of 5410 km square and is inhabited by about a million and six hundred thousand people. Because of the particular shape of the territory, crushed by the Maritime Alps and the Apennines to the sea, the population is concentrated mainly on the coast, but inland there is a whole network of villages, often placed at many smaller roads. The region has a National Park, one of the Cinque Terre, the homonymous Marine Protected Area and 8 Regional Natural Parks, including that of Portofino, the Monte Beigua, dell’Aveto and Portovenere. Three locations, the island Gallinara, Rio Torsero and Bergeggi are Regional Natural Reserves. An alternative way to visit Liguria consists in crossing the hinterland longitudinally along the more than 400 meters of the High Street of the Ligurian Mountains.
Sanremo is the home of the Italian Song Festival, the most important Italian song festival, held in late February, and the finish line, in March, the Milan-Sanremo cycling race of 290 km was founded in 1907. Moving to Genoa the protagonist is the fish with Slow Fish. The event, which takes place every two years in May, develops projects in support of community-scale fisheries manager. Scheduled in October is instead the International Boat Show, the most prestigious Italian showcase for the marine industry and recreational sailors. The Science Festival, which takes place in autumn, enhances the scientific culture, through interactive exhibits, seminars, workshops, films and performances in different places of the city. In honor of St. James, patron saint of fishermen, holding the Sea Festival in Levanto, in late July: two days of processions, flag wavers, fraternities and costume parades. Lovers of citrus fruit must instead go from Monterosso al Mare on Sunday before the Ascension (May approximately) for the Festival of Lemons, a picturesque event with contests and prizes for the biggest lemon. Or in September, when there is the Festival of the anchovies, with various tastings. In Savona and Albissola, on April, it is the turn of ceramics with the International Festival of Majolica.We organize exhibitions, workshops, conferences and tours to discover the famous Ligurian majolica. In even years, however, always at Savona takes place Friday procession, during which 15 fine wooden boxes depicting the Stations of the Cross and major episodes of Gospel. The main Ligurian food and wine are on display in the Agro Food Ligurian Salon on Finalborgo. From pesto to “la farinata”(typical ligurian cake), from extra virgin olive oil to “panissa” ( typical dish), from Recco focaccia to the thessalian garlic, from the beans of Badalucco to the saffron of Campiglia: you can find anything from the cloisters of Santa Caterina, where you can participate in tastings, mini-theoretical and practical courses, workshops as well as buy. In the same village, in July, it organized a trip to the Middle Ages in costume for the Feast of the Marquis, in honor of the Marquis Del Carretto, while in Rollo the Festival of herbs is a two days in June collects all of the aromatic and medicinal herbs from Western Liguria. In Imperia, finally, is the location of the Olioliva, a great showcase in late November for the oil and derived products.
By Plane – The airport “Cristoforo Colombo” Genova Sestri – located about six kilometers from the city center – is the main international airport in the region.
By Car – Liguria is easily accessible by car on the highway system (fee) or the state and provincial roads (free) connecting all cities and towns of the coast and inland. The highways that cross the region are the A15 La Spezia-Parma, the A10 (E 80) Genoa-Ventimiglia, the A12 (E 80) Genoa-La Spezia, the ‘A7 (E 25) Genoa-Milan, the ‘A6 (E 717) Torino-Savona, the A26 Alessandria-Genoa and Highway 1 Aurelia. To get an idea, Genoa is 250 km from Milan, Bologna 400 km, 507 km from Rome, 700 km from Naples, 402 km from Venice.
By Train – The railway network covers most of the Ligurian territory, linking the four provinces and the main towns and the hinterland of the two rivers. In the capital there are two stations: Genova Piazza Principe and Genova Brignole, frequently connected with the main Italian cities such as Milan, Turin, Rome. Who wants to use the train to travel the coast, consider travel times. To get an idea, there being practically stops in every village, the trip from Sestri Levante to Ventimiglia takes about 5 hours. So the best way is by car.
Departing from Genoa towards Sestri Levante, the first stage is Recco, famous for the bread stuffed with cheese. To test the original one you have to stop by Manuelina, the tavern that since 1884 offered this delicacy to teamsters, hunters and travelers. Four kilometers after there is Camogli, with its tall buildings of many colors, the Maritime Museum, the Walk Garibaldi and the church of Santa Maria Assunta. Looking up you see the Monastery of San Prospero, immersed in the peace and light of olive. Appreciated not only by the faithful, the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, dating back to 711 AD and rebuilt in 984 AD, retains a small cloister on two floors closed by two rows of arcades and the tombs of the Doria. There before, in the waters of the sea, 17 meters deep, is the statue of the Christ of the Abyss, protector of divers. The stars and the big names of finance are home in Santa Margherita, in the Gulf of Tigullio. The waterfront is studded with restaurants and hotels, while most internally is a bustle of houses painted in trompe-l’oeil, fake windows and flower garlands. There’s even the hotel with a terrace from which Guglielmo Marconi managed to transmit in 1933, for the first time ever, radiotelephone signals. Portofino instead from nineteenth one of the most exclusive destinations in the world. The typical Ligurian houses, tall, with bright colors, are reflected on the bay, while the small harbor is crowded with luxury yachts. Mandatory stop in the famous Piazzetta. In Rapallo is widespread the art of embroidery, especially that of bobbin lace executed. On the south-eastern Gulf of Tigullio meets Sestri Levante, where there are the Bay of Fables so named by the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and the Bay of Silence. The province of La Spezia is home instead of the Cinque Terre, one of the most characteristic of the region: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, which is at the crown, at west,Levanto, and at east, Portovenere. Five villages perched along the coast, in a fairytale land of 36 square miles of rocks overlooking the sea. There, Eugenio Montale wrote his most famous poems and even Goethe and Lord Byron remained fascinated. And if the small villages are not enough, there is the romantic Way of Love, carved into the rock overlooking the sea. If you move from Genoa to the west, meets Savona, internationally known together with Albissola Marina for the production of ceramics. A little further on, is worth a stop Bergeggi, ancient fortified town in a panoramic position overlooking on the islet, inhabited only by seagulls. Suggestive Varigotti, a fishing village by the typical square houses of yellow-ocher with flat roofs and pebble beaches. A couple of kilometers north-west of Finale Marina is the turn of Finalborgo, considered among the most beautiful villages in Italy. Archaeological remains of Roman characterize instead Albenga, which retains a medieval core that is a gem. The queen of the Riviera, however is Alassio, where they used to spend the winter the British in the late nineteenth century and the Second World War. Once you enter the province of Imperia, lies the Riviera dei Fiori, coastline famous around the world for its mild climate and beautiful gardens. Obligatory stop in Sanremo that, in addition to being the home of the homonymous Festival, has a famous art nouveau Casino and flower production of the highest quality. It is called the “City of Palms”, instead, Bordighera, which boasts one of enchanting walks of Liguria, as well as the beautiful exotic garden Pallanca with the most important Italian collection of cacti. Is no less Ventimiglia, on the border with France, a small town that hides in its center, behind Via Garibaldi, a series of hanging gardens and the renowned Hanbury Gardens, near the promontory of Mortola.
TRADITIONS AND FOLKLORE
The Palio of Gulf is one of the traditional province of La Spezia in August. This is a rowing race between 13 boats, handmade by local artisans. Floral floats are the protagonists of the Battle of Flowers that animates the town of Ventimiglia, every year, in June. Strongly felt, in Liguria, also the carnival. Are two masks from the region: Baciccia, depicting a jolly fellow, and Ciocciolin.
AT THE TABLE
Who says Liguria says pesto. And we want to do it right the Genovese Basil PDO, produced in the Tyrrhenian side of the region. Equally valuable is the extra virgin olive oil Riviera Ligure Dop. Genoa is the home of classic focaccia, made with flour, water, salt and extra virgin olive oil (the traditional process, with rising long, takes about 8 hours).Is Slow Food as well as, salted anchovies of Monterosso, the Albenga violet asparagus, garlic fromVessalico and beans of Badalucco, Conio and Pigna. Lovers of cheeses are safe by buying tome sheep from Brigasca (a breed of sheep originally from La Brigue and common in the municip of Imperia and in Provence), while those who prefer the meats can taste the salami Sant’Olcese (is a big pasta, with scent of smoked). Typical from Noli are the cicciarelli or frying fish or preserves, and in Val Bormida, especially in the hinterland of Finale towards Piedmont, spread the chestnut dried from Calizzano and Murialdo. It is obtained from the infusion of the petals of the rose moss with addition of water the famous Genoese rose syrup. As for the wine, you’re not wrong if you choose the Rossese Dolceacqua Superiore Doc. For those who go to the restaurant, we recommend trofie, trenette, pappardelle green pasta with borage and corzetti. Obviously homemade and served with pesto or walnut sauce. Delicacies also among the main dishes, with the Cima alla genovese (brisket cut pocket stuffed with eggs, peas, artichokes, pistachios, pine nuts, ham and sweetbreads) and Pasqualina pie (pie enclosing a filling of chard, Parmesan and eggs).
The bobbin lace of Rapallo, the imaginative mezzeri (boxes of tissue) of Genoa, tower clocks Recco, but also the filigree jewels of Campo Ligure. In Chiavari we founds the model chair campanina, in Albissola the majolica. In Lorsica produces artifacts in Damascus (the crown and the palm are the two designs characteristic of damasks the east of Genoa), while in Zoagli spread the famous velvet. Even in agribusiness are several local products that will certainly make a fine show in your belief: from pesto to the wine Rossese Dolceacqua, from the kisses from Alassio ( typical cookies)to the focaccia of Recco. And even chocolate: do not forget that the first to receive the gift of the seeds of the cacao was Christopher Columbus. A Genoese, precisely
DID YOU KNOW THAT
Added together the walls of the Cinque Terre are roughly the same length of the Great Wall of China? Both extend between 6 and 7 thousand kilometers and are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.