The Italian north-western coastal region of Liguria, sometimes referred to as the Italian Riviera, has an enviable array of riches waiting to be discovered. On the Riviera di Levante (east wind) you can visit suggestive Portofino and Portovenere, while the Riviera di Ponente (west wind) stretches all the way to the border with France and offers you Sanremo, a town best known for its beautiful flowers (take a look at the Russian style Orthodox Church and the Art Nouveau building of the Casino while you are there!).
Christopher Columbus was from Liguria (Genoa), and it is not a coincidence that the Republic of Genoa was best known for its maritime prowess. Speaking of the sea, do not hesitate to try seafood here, and also the Focaccia with cheese, which is so good that it is even being considered for European Union PGI status.
How to get to Liguria
To visit Liguria, you can fly to Genoa Airport, also known as Christopher Columbus Airport or Genoa-Sestri Ponente Airport.
In order to get to the city centre, you can travel by car or taxi on the SS1, or use the Flybus service towards the closest train station, called Sestri Ponente Aeroporto railway station. From said station, you can get to Genoa’s city centre by regional train in a few minutes.
For more information, check the airport’s official site: https://www.airport.genova.it/en/
Things to do in Liguria
Genoa has historically been one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean and an incredibly powerful maritime republic for over seven centuries. Its wealth of monuments and buildings is proof of the fact it was one of the richest cities in the world. La Superba (“the proud one”) is also known for its narrow lanes and streets that the locals call “caruggi”.
Part of the historical centre is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and it comprises the Palazzi dei Rolli and Le Strade Nuove (“New Streets”, comprised of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, Via Balbi, Via Cairoli, along which you can see Renaissance and Baroque palaces of ingenious built). After seeing all this, do enjoy eating trenette (or trofie, both delicious) pasta with Genoa’s traditional Pesto sauce, before exploring the city’s walls, which are a stunning Medieval reminder.
Genoa is also home to one of the largest aquariums in Europe, inaugurated in 1992.
Photo by Italy for Everyone
The Cinque Terre (“Five Lands”) is a coastal area within Liguria made up of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Over the centuries, people have built terraces right up to the cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea, while paths, trains and boats connect the villages (narrow and precarious mountain roads make the use of cars difficult). The Cinque Terre is incredibly popular for its astounding landscape and will be a delight for those who love trekking and hiking.
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