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Post from 06/06/2008

Glamour of the Italian Riviera

In the northwest of Italy one can find Liguria which is quite a diverse region. It offers harmonious contrasts between the Mediterranean coast with its bathing towns and fishing villages on the Gulf of Genoa and the hilly heartland with imposing ranges and quiet mountain villages. Take enough time to discover the all beauty of Liguria!

Chic promenades and historic old city centres

Not only water rats and those who enjoy water sports will love Liguria but also people who enjoy the sophisticated lifestyle and shopping will find this area to their taste.

You will definitely want to go on a short stroll through the largest city of Liguria, Genoa. Spend some time visiting one of the numerous churches, Baroque temples and palazzi. Particularly worth mentioning are the Palazzo San Giorgio from the 13th century and Palazzo Ducale as well as Palazzo Spinola both from the 16th century. In the latter one is home to the art collection Galleria di Palazzo Spinola. Numerous precious artefacts from the 14th to 18th century can be viewed here including the painting “Ecce Homo” from Antonello da Messina.

San Remo invites you to enjoy the chic lifestyle. Take a walk along the largest street promenade Corso Imperatrice that is lined with palm trees or visit the old city centre of La Pigna. Art Nouveau dominates the majority of San Remo. Successful examples can be seen in the Casino Municipal and Villa Nobel where Alfred Nobel lived until his death. A tip for those fans of Italian music: Every February the Festival della Canzone Italiana takes place in San Remo. The town transforms into a Mecca of those passionate about Italian music.

The bathing resorts can look back on a 150 year long tradition. This is not only reflected in the well kept buildings in Art Nouveau style but there is a perfect infrastructure available for the guests. Here one can really enjoy the glamour! On the Riviera on the eastside of Liguria the bathing resorts line up like pearls on a string. When here it’s worth spending some time visiting the coastal towns of Portofino, Santa Magherita Ligure and Sestri Levante.

The Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is worth much more than just a brief trip. Along this impressive coastal formation at the east coast of Liguria one can find five idyllic fishing villages on a hillside. The alleys are so narrow that the visitor may have the impression that the houses are stuck together. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and rent an authentic holiday home directly in one of the villages. Some villages surprise you with their sights. In Levanto you can visit historical royal residences of the 17th and 18th century as well as two important Romanic churches.

Further inside the heartland in Cinque Terre is more tranquil. The rough landscape has a beautiful charm about it and offers ideal conditions for hiking, riding and mountain biking. The mountain region of Cinque Terre is scarcely populated and the landscape is untouched.

Enchanting mountain villages in untouched landscape

The Cinque Terre is the ideal starting point to experience the beauty of the mountain region of Liguria. Particularly hikers will find this mountain range an El Dorado. A nice hike can be taken up the hillside “Via di Santuari” that has a wonderful setting. This hike offers an ideal contrast between nature and culture and makes it possible to visit all five important pilgrim sites as well as taking in the unique landscape.

Those who visit western Liguria through the mountains should view the mountain villages Baiardo, Apricale, Isolabona and Pigna. The villages have a special character with their churches and piazzas. Take a trip into another world. Those who are more active may want to go up to Monte Bignone with a height of 1299 metres. The sweat will be worth it as one can enjoy a magnificent view over the area.

Those who want to go back further in time may want to take some time out to go to the Balzi-Rossi Caves that are situated in Grimaldi near chalk stone rocks (directly at the French-Italian border). Proof of human life was found here such as the skeleton of Homo Erectus (200,000 years old) and Cromagon (15,000 – 30,000 years old). An adjacent museum explains the discoveries and gives an insight into the archaeological works.

All the beautiful and unique sights are complemented by culinary delights. Enjoy some of the most splendid wines of Liguria in your holiday home and let an eventful day find its appropriate end. Alternatively why don´t you try to prepare a traditional Ligurian dish like Focaccio (scolloped flat bread) or Trenette con pesto (Pesto with garlic, parmesan and Ligurian olive oil). Ligurian olive oil has a high quality and is a popular small present to take back home.