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This dramatic coastal region borders France and is protected by impressive high mountains and rolling hills, affording it a mild climate all year round. The coast is lapped by the Ligurian Sea and has characteristic rugged inlets housing small ports and coves with beaches of fine white sand. One of the most beautiful coastlines in Italy stretches almost 300 kms from Ventimiglia, past the regional capital Genoa, all the way to La Spezia and offers a host of places to explore such as world-famous Portofino and the Cinque Terre where colourful houses cling to the cliff side in picturesque villages. We offer you a selection of hotels in Santa Margherita Ligure, a lovely resort which is well placed for visiting the area.
Where to stay
Alassio has become one of the most stylish resorts on the Ligurian co
Rapallo is a charming seaside town that lies on the bay of Portofino, just a short distance from
Sestri Levante is one of the most beautiful little towns on the Ligurian Riviera. It consists of
PLACES TO SEE IN THE LIGURIAN RIVIERA
This area is very well served by the coastal train line and there are stations in both Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. The city of Genoa is easily reached by train and as well as being a huge port city, also has a fascinating medieval centre with many buildings worth a visit including the Palazzo Spinola, housing many works of art by painters such as Van Dyck. In the other direction, you can travel either by bus or train down the picturesque coast towards the Cinque Terre (literally Five Lands), consisting of five tiny villages - Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore - wedged in a series of coves between sheer cliffs. There are also some lovely walks in the surrounding hills. Don't forget to visit glitzy Portofino, home to the yachting crowd, and undeniably still the place to be seen on the Italian Riviera.
Food & Drink
Perhaps because of its mild, Mediterranean climate, some Ligurian recipes seem as if they belong further south, with vegetables and fish being the main ingredients. One recipe that everyone knows is pesto, traditionally made with olive oil, garlic, chopped basil, Parmesan and pine nuts - any other recipe is not pesto! In Liguria it makes an appearance everywhere; in pasta sauces, on meat and vegetables, in soups or even in lasagne. In the Cinque Terre you'll find gattafin which are deep fried pasties with fillings usually made from Swiss chard and artichokes.
Vine growing is a challenge in such a mountainous region and production is small but there are several grape varieties grown here including Vermentino. In the Cinque Terre area there is a sweet dessert wine called Sciacchetrà that's definitely worth trying.
Understandingly, much revolves around the sea in this part of Italy and one of the most important festivals is the Palio del Tigullio, a series of rowing regattas in the typical boats of the region. They take place in various ports along the coast between June and August and are usually accompanied by lively music and plentiful food.
Throughout the summer months there are music recitals at the Villa Durazzo in Santa Margherita, plus regular music played in the town squares.
On the last Sunday in July the beautiful Bay of Silence in Sestri Levante becomes the stage for the traditional Barcarolata, a parade of colourful floats on water. The locals compete by festooning boats with papier mache and lights and people dress in Mardi Gras costumes.