PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Holidays in Santa Margherita, situated on the Gulf of Tigullio between Rapallo and Portofino, offer an enticing combination of that glorious style which Italians bring to their seaside resorts. An unrivalled natural environment meets thought provoking cultural attractions and great food and entertainment.
It’s a lovely resort for couples, full of life, full of opportunity but also with space and time to take it easy, to enjoy each other’s company and to enjoy the Riviera experience. The beaches, where you can hire deckchairs, sunbeds and umbrellas, are a mix of public and private and primarily pebble with just a few sandy ones. But move closer to Portofino, around five kilometres away, and you’ll discover more sandy beaches. A great example is the beautiful Paraggi Beach, which is surrounded by all the bars and restaurants you will ever need.
If pebbles or sand between your toes are not for you, there are some really nice gardens and open spaces to enjoy on your holidays in Santa Margherita.
One of the great joys of a holiday is to find a connection with the locals, to see and understand their town as they do. One lovely way of doing it is to join in one of the festivals. Each year Santa Margherita hosts the Festa di Primavera, the Spring Festival. Usually held on the nearest weekend to 19th March, it symbolises the end of winter and welcomes the new season. The festival opens with a firework display, enjoyed with sweet and savoury fritters and the occasional glass of wine served around a roaring beach bonfire.
If you just want to stretch your legs there are a number of trails to tackle on holidays in Santa Margherita. One of the most popular is the path to Portofino. For more serious walkers there is the option to turn off and take the more demanding route to the beautiful bay of San Fruttuoso di Camogli.
For art and culture the Villa Durazzo, built in 1678, has a stunningly beautiful interior. With classically elegant furnishings, impressive oil paintings and much more, this is a place where superlatives trip easily off the tongue. It is indeed, “a treasure to be discovered.”
With so much on offer, a holiday in Santa Margherita can be as relaxing or active as you want it to be. This could be spending time on the beach, taking part in water sports, exploring the historic sites or enjoying an al fresco evening meal with loved ones.
But with the ease of train travel in Italy why not expand your holiday horizons and look beyond Santa Margherita to some of the other towns in Liguria? You might enjoy a trip to the pretty village of Cervo, with its 16th Century ramparts and Baroque churches, or even Sanremo for a flutter at the casino. Alternatively, choose the resort of Alassio or hop across the border into France. With so much choice on offer you could plan carefully or just leave it up to chance.
In many ways discovering new culinary delights on holiday is as much about history and tradition as it is about food. Torta pasqualina, a savoury pie, with roots in the 16th Century, falls into that category. Originally made at Easter with 33 layers of pasty to symbolise the years of Christ’s life, the recipe is much simpler today. Among the ingredients are eggs, artichokes and local prenscinseua cheese. It’s perfect for vegetarians and other discerning foodies.
Vine growing on steep Ligurian slopes is definitely one of life’s challenges although the topography and soil conditions help the process. Despite the difficulty, local vineyards, mainly artisanal, produce over 100 varieties of some of the best wines in the country. Some are red but most are white, many made with the Vermentino grape which some experts argue originally came to Italy from the Middle East. Many of the varieties are not available outside the country, so make sure to take your favourites from your holiday in Santa Margherita.
Sometimes described as a cuisine of humble origin, Ligurian food would often be made from local produce. Filling, crusty and delicious focaccia made with potato, flour, olive oil, coarse salt, rosemary and other ingredients is a must during your visit. While it might be unassuming, it’s perfect on its own or for scooping up any remaining sauce on your plate. Add a glass of chilled white wine, some Italian sunshine, a table with a view and you have the ideal recipe.