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Holidays in Liguria will introduce you to charming villages of unadorned beauty, places where you can get to know the locals and embrace their slower pace of life. If you prefer a life of luxury, visit swanky resorts with chic bars and restaurants and neatly moored super yachts.
Liguria, also known as the Italian Riviera, has a strong regional identity, a deep sense of culture and tradition and is one of Italy’s smallest regions. Its narrow crescent shaped section of coast, which lies between sea and mountain, stretches from Ventimiglia near the French border to Tuscany, further down the coast. With the mildest of climates, it is an all year round destination, ideal for couples.
As you travel throughout the region you’ll discover a cornucopia of colourful Art Nouveau buildings, beautiful beaches, elegant parks and gardens and some of the finest coastal walks. Historic abbeys, churches and monuments, a window to a time long gone, are also available in abundance. There are bars, restaurants and entertainment to suit all tastes. For foodies there are lots of local specialities to try, whether you’re dining on the beach or on a roof terrace with spectacular views.
As the region’s capital and largest city, many holidays to Liguria will start in Genoa, a historic port city and the birthplace of navigator and explorer Christopher Columbus, the city’s most famous son. Here you can explore Porto Antico, the original harbour, now an area filled with bars, restaurants and other visitor attractions. Alternatively, see the Centro Storicio di Genova with its narrow streets and place on the Unesco World Heritage list.
Join in some of the many festivals or public events across the region on your Liguria holidays. Take in the Sagra dei Limoni, the Lemon Festival, in Monterosso, Santa Margherita’s Festa di Primavera, the Spring Festival or one of the most unusual, the festival dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen in Sestri Levante.
If you’re feeling energetic, you could walk in the Cinque Terre, take the long walk to Rapallo’s hilltop Sanctuary of Our lady Montallegro or take to two wheels on Diano Marina’s Riviera dei Fiori. Of course you might choose just to relax, enjoy a drink and take in the view.
With the ease of train travel in Italy why not make the most of your holiday in Liguria and enjoy more of the attractions the region has to offer? It could be relaxing in a beautiful garden, admiring some of Liguria’s historic villas or churches or treading an old town’s cobbled streets looking for a bargain in one of its little shops.
You could take an excursion to the lovely town of Sestri Levante and admire its picturesque seafront houses, or walk through the city’s ancient thoroughfares in Sanremo to the Santuario della Madonna della Costa. On the other hand you might go diving or snorkelling in La Spezia or join the jet setters in Portofino.
Most flights to Liguria arrive into Genoa airport (GOA) although visitors to the west of the riviera can also fly into Nice (please call our Italy Experts to book flights to Nice). Direct flights to Genoa are available from London Gatwick, London Heathrow and London Stansted and take approximately 2 hours.
Food is history in Liguria, almost every town has its specialities. Take Pignone, a small medieval commune close to la Spezia, as an example. Every year they celebrate their food heritage in Gli Orti di Pignone, a festival of peasant culture. Potatoes, a staple crop, are important to Pignone from both an economic and culinary perspective and play their part in wider Ligurian cooking.
Trenette al Pesto, a classic Genoese dish combines locally made pesto and fettuccine, string beans and of course the humble patata di Pignone. Another recipe to make use of this ubiquitous vegetable is Stoccafisso alla Ligure, which includes dried cod, cooked Ligurian style. Like much of the region’s cuisine it’s a very simple dish with potatoes, capers, stockfish, anchovies and other ingredients varying by family recipe.
The Torta di Patata, a humble tart, is constructed using potatoes with bacon, parmesan, nutmeg and other ingredients. It’s a versatile dish and can be served alongside fish or sausages.
Tradition of course extends to the wine making parts of Liguria. Cinque Terre, which is on the itinerary of most visitors to the region, produces a lovely sweet wine called Sciacchetrà. Amber in colour with suggestions of honey, apricots and figs, this delightful drink is made from Vermentino, and Bosco grapes which add most of the flavour. It’s created using a meticulous fermentation process, with aging taking around 18th months. It’s the perfect accompaniment to cheese or a generous slice of Torta di Patata.