Although the entire stretch
of the Ligurian coastline known as the Italian Riviera is beautiful,
there are some towns and locations within the region that merit
The town closest to the French border at the western
side of the Riviera is San Remo. High-rise free, this part of the
coastline seems to uphold the image being projected by the Riviera
and its magnificent albeit hedonistic way of life. Luxury villas
lined with palm trees, long expansive beaches with cabana filled
beach clubs and a large walk along the Mediterranean.
Flowers abound in pretty San Remo, a friendly
reminder that this is the source of all the flowers needed to manufacture
Within San Remo, there is a large and lively old
section known as Pigna, a medieval town where weekly flea markets
are held every Saturday. There is also a huge indoor food market
overflowing with local produce and wine.
In Pigna there is a hill that tourists climb just
to get a breathtaking view of the Levante and the Ponente.
The Russian Orthodox Church, which was built for
visiting Russian aristocrats, was also constructed in San Remo as
specifically requested by the aristocrats who were attracted to
the mild weather in the region.
The nightlife is alive and well in this region,
with San Remo serving as the site of the glittering Casino Municipal.
Just like in Monte Carlo, residents of San Remo are forbidden to
play in the casino.
The port city of Genoa
stands right at the center of the narrow stretch of the Ligurian
coastline known as the Italian Riviera. The biggest commercial port
of Italy, Genoa is the capital of Liguria and the birthplace of
During the time of the Romans, it served as an
important maritime center for the empire and, during the period
of the Renaissance, was known as one of the richest cities of Renaissance
Europe. An old port city, Genoa is a mixture of the old and the
new, the elegant and the squalid, the historic and the modern. Remnants
of the Roman Empire are still available within the town's medieval
walls right next to the tenement homes.
Stretching for several miles from the hills to
the coast, Genoa lives up to its reputation as the cultural capital
of Europe, a title it won in 2004 and which it most likely will
be able to continually hold via its theaters, museums, restaurants,
cafes, shopping centers and Europe's largest aquarium.
Today, Genoa is alive and bustling at all
times of the day and night with its steady influx of tourists and
visitors, its restaurants, night clubs, museums and a lot of other
colourful and exciting things happening around it.
One of the prettiest harbors in Italy, Portofino
is known as Liguria's
jewel. Its multicoloured houses and stunning seaside scenery all
contribute to give this tiny harbor town a picture-perfect milieu
and make it one of the most visually appealing of all areas within
the region of Liguria or the Italian Riviera.
Although not as busy as its neighbouring towns,
Portofino is nonetheless the best place to go to enjoy and marvel
at the magnificence and serenity of the cliffs that surround and
protect this once tiny fishing
village as well as its magnificent coastline.
First described by Pliny and given the name 'Portus
Delphini', it was the wealthy Italians who discovered Portofino
and developed it as a quiet getaway secluded and protected from
the frenzy and hassle of city life. Luxury villas perch on the hills
of Portofino overlooking the marina where yachts and private boats
bob on the water below set against the vibrantly coloured dwellings
There are very few beaches
and hotels in the picture-perfect Portofino. What there are in abundance
are bars, boutiques, nightclubs and fishing boats.
Portofino is well known for its world-famous visitors
like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey
Bogart, just to name a few.
Santa Margherita Ligure
One ferry ride from Portofino
takes you to Santa Margherita
Ligure, one of the main resorts of the Italian
Riviera. It is also that one spot in the Riviera where vehicular
traffic abounds in every corner of the town.
One well-known and highly recommended hotel in
this resort is the Splendido Hotel. Owned by the prestigious Orient
Express Group that owns some of the world's finest hotels, the Splendido
Hotel is a grand hotel in every sense of the world. A favorite among
British aristocracy who used the hotel for their discreet trysts
with partners other than their spouse, Splendido Hotel was 'discovered'
by well-known Hollywood stars as well as Europe's leading politicians
The vibrant and modern luxury stores at Santa
Margherita Ligure which some people call a shopper's haven,
are wonderful shops to go to for a fine day of expensive shopping.
One can pick up a painting or two by one of Italy's painters Massimo
Meda or purchase designer home furnishings, original Lacoste shirts,
and designer clothes from brand-name shops. Choose from a wide variety
of brands — Marina Yachting, D&G, Harmont & Blaine.
If you are shopping for something bigger, like a yacht perhaps,
then stop by the Ferreti Yachts office to place your order for your
very own yacht.
Terre or region of the Five Lands, as it has been known since
the 15th century, is a series of five small villages sitting on
the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea. These tiny villages, which
are accessible mainly by train or by foot using the paths that connect
them with one another are brightly coloured and create a mountain
cliff setting that is overwhelmingly beautiful.
The five small villages — Corniglia, Manarola,
Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore, and Vernazza — are individually
lovely and possess a personality all its own.
Corniglia is built in the higher part of the mountain,
which allows it to offer magnificent views and an even more secluded
beach. Manarola is a fishing village whose colourful houses are
perched on a rock above the port. Monterosso al Mare was founded
in 643 and boasts of the most famous beach in the region, a 16th
century Capuchin monastery, and an ancient castle. Riomaggiore is
a picturesque village with pastel coloured houses crawling down
the cliff to the sea. Vernazza juts out over the sea and houses
a medieval tower.
Although the train only travels nine kilometers
from the first village to the last, the most exhilarating and fulfilling
way to visit these villages is to go by foot, following the paths
that intertwine and connect the villages. The walk takes anywhere
from 30 minutes to several hours. While it may seem overwhelming
at first, those who have walked through these tiny villages speak
only of having an lovely time.