Liguria the Italian Riviera
On the Northwestern coast of Italy, we find the region of Liguria, filled with sandy beaches and home to some world-famous towns. This land shares a small border with France and some of Italy’s other regions–Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany. However, most of the region borders the Ligurian Sea. The Ligurian Sea is home to dolphins and sperm/baleen whales. Because of the abundance of these creatures as well as the healthy atmosphere of the environment, this has become known as the “Sanctuary of Cetaceans.”
Genoa, Liguria’s capital city
The region’s capital city, Genoa gives tourists the combination of the old Maritime Republic and modern times. It’s a rather popular destination in the North of Italy for is lovely beaches, contrasting architectural styles of the present with the old Italian styles of the past, and definitely the aquarium! The narrow streets and fulled encompassed sea-focused culture with transport you to the past. The Aquarium of Genoa is the largest in Italy and Europe for animal species, the third in Europe for surface area, and the ninth in the world! So, it’s a must-visit in this small coastal region. If you don’t get the chance to enter the building, even the outside structure is one to be admired, brought to life by Renzo Piano, a famous architect of Italy.
Liguria is packed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, soft, sandy beaches, and even large mountainous or hilly areas of terrain. The region is very thin, spreading all of its area over the coast, meaning that the land practically just alternates between different types of drop-offs into the sea. About 12% of the entire surface area is taken by natural reserves and the region offers much vegetation, fresh and delicious fruits, trees hundreds of years old, coves and rocky cliffs, and even those plush beaches. Tall mountains and hills give a unique view of the region’s greenery and the vast rolling hills. Countless years of history make themselves evident through the cities and also the countryside, well tended to by man but beautifully natural and fruitful.
The region is split into four provinces–Imperia, sharing the French Riveria border, Savona, Genoa (the aforementioned capial), and La Spezia, home to the famous Cinque Terre. Imperia begins with Ventimiglia and Bordighera, from which you can see the coast of Nice on the Blue Coast of France. Also within this province, is the famous “City of Flowers” where the Italian Music Festival is held, the town of Sanremo. The coast of Imperia is known as the Riviera dei Fiori, and sometimes even referred to at the Italian Riviera, implying that this is simply a continuation of the French Riviera of its border. Following, we have the province of Savona. This coastal area is called the Riviera delle Palme and is home to some of Liguria’s most beautiful beaches, such as Alassio, Noli and its Fisherman Beach (“Spiaggia dei Pescatori”), Bergeggi and the Bay of Mermaids (“Baia delle Sirene”).
Moving back to Genoa, some incredible coastal views are available there. The famous towns of Portofino, Santa Margherita, Rapallo, Sestri Levante, Camogli, and Chiavari are all present in the provence of Genoa. Many of these towns can be easily moved between using ferries that leave frequently and every day. Additionally, you can usually get to each town by a small train as well. Genoa is also home to the Gulf of Tigullio and the Paradise Gulf. And finally, following Genoa, we have the La Spezia province. On the tail end of Liguria sits Cinque Terre (“Five Lands”): Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. These coastal towns are 18 km of colorful houses in the cliffsides and lovely swimming areas in the Ligurian Sea.
This province, is also home to the Gulf of Poets, and the Porto Venere, at the end point of Cinque Terre. Off the coast, we also find the islands of Tinetto, Tino, and Palmaria. These beautiful small islands face the Porto Venere and Lerici. The latter features a Medieval castle accompanied by gorgeous green gardens and luxurious villas.
The region of Liguria hosts incredible views from every angle. During the summer months these towns are tanning-friendly beaches, transforming into lively city centers with a plethora of entertainment options in the evening and late into the night.