LIGURIA - WHY GO?
Liguria’s scenic coastline arcs around the Tyrrhenian Sea, from the border with Provence down to Tuscany, protected by craggy cliffs that buffer the plunging vine-covered slopes and provide some of Italy’s most picture-perfect views.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
Once home to Christopher Columbus, this seafaring city’s Medieval streets wind past monuments, palazzi, flower stalls and fresco-filled churches to the main squares. And once you’ve had your culture fix, you can bar-hop till late around Via San Lorenzo.
Portofino epitomises the Dolce Vita appeal of the chic Ligurian coast and has been a mecca for Hollywood stars, fashionistas and the seriously rich since the 1950s. Pastel-painted houses jostle with expensive boutiques, while the sleek bars of the Piazzetta invite you to slip inside for a cocktail.
Cliffside houses cling to impossibly steep hillsides tumbling down to the sea in the five medieval villages of the Cinque Terre. The best way to explore this World Heritage Site coastline is on foot, walking the trails and mule tracks skirting olive groves and vineyards within spray-shot of the crashing waves below.
Monterosso has a beach ideal for scuba diving, while the little port of Vernazza has the lovely church of Santa Margherita di Antochia. Corniglia is surrounded by vine-covered slopes while Manorolo hangs sheer above the waves in defiance of gravity. Riomaggiore’s tall, narrow homes fall in steep terraces to the sea.
Eat deliciously hot foccacia from late-night bakeries, or try fresh Mediterranean seafood, pesto sauce and sinfully sweet Genoan pandolce stuffed with frutta candita. Distinctive regional brews include Sciacchetrà raisin wine and ruby-red Rossi di Dolceacqua – perfect for rounding off an indulgent Riviera repast.
MAKE A DATE
Find your sea legs as sailing comes to Portofino in the shape of the Zegna Trophy.
Moneglia plays host to a classical music festival that's a feast for the ears.
Fireworks light up the sky during the Festivitá del Santo Cristo.
July and August
Walk or take a launch to nearby San Fruttuoso abbey for a series of classical concerts.
Walk hand-in-hand among orange and olive groves between Corniglia and Vernazza on the dramatic Cinque Terre coastline.