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Liguria & Cinque Terre

Liguria, or better known as the Italian Riviera has two parts: the narrow, commercially developed strip of coast, and the mountainous hinterland of isolated villages, terraced for olives and vines.

Approaching from Nice and Monaco, there's an unexpected change as you cross the border: the Italian Riviera has more variety of landscape and architecture than its French counterpart, and is generally less frenetic. Southeast, towards Tuscany, on the Riviera del Levante, the coast is more rugged. Liguria’ s coastline takes advantage of a benign Mediterranean climate: umbrella pines grow horizontally on cliff faces, and in the evening there's a glassy calm over the bays and inlets. 

Genova

Genoa is "a place that grows upon you every day...it abounds in the strangest contrasts; things that are picturesque, ugly, mean, magnificent, delightful and offensive, break upon the view at every turn"...             

             Dickens, 1844

 

..and the description still fits! It's a marvellously eclectic city. At the heart of everything is the port, surrounded by a warren of alleyways which make up the medieval centre, a district which has more zest than all the coastal resorts put together! 

Cinque Terre

Over the centuries, man has managed to create an extraordinary landscape: a little corner of Liguria where generations have worked to create the steep terraces sloping down to the sea. 7000 km of dry stone walling, without any cement and cultivated as vineyards that almost reach down to sea waves.

The best way to discover this area is surely on foot: magical landscape, vineyards, olive trees, and the paths linking, like in the past when there were no other communication routes, the five villages. The five villages, Cinque Terre, are in order Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The most famous route is "Via dell'Amore", connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola. 

Cinque Terre is a wild, harsh landscape: high cliffs, very small beaches like in Riomaggiore and Vernazza, tiny ports as in Manarola. In this area is also The Cinque Terre National park, the first Italian park created to preserve such a unique environment.