Oozing with charm and having its own intriguing lifestyle, the magical coastline of the Italian Riviera casts its web to attract visitors rather elegantly, between Tuscany and Cote d’Azur in France. The Italian Riviera, also referred to as the coast of Liguria, has some of the finest beaches set among idyllic towns which exude rustic charm in an old world atmosphere. Liguria, incidentally, is located in the northwest of the country, on the Ligurian Sea.
Immersed deeply in literary appeal, the Italian Riviera has had its fair share of former eminent admirers like Shelley, Byron and D. H. Lawrence among others, all of whom were smitten at some time or other by the prettiest stretches of coastline to be found anywhere in Italy. It is a well-known fact that the Riviera has many more hot spots within its slender boundaries than most countries of the world combined. Luckily for world travelers, there is no shortage of houses for rent in Italy.
With the historic town of Genoa occupying center stage, the shoreline of the Riviera is basically partitioned in two parts. While the western part is known as the Riviera di Ponente, the eastern part is called Riviera di Levante. The Riviera di Ponente harbors some excellent beaches set amongst lush landscapes. Riviera di Levante is more or less wild and rugged. All in all, a visit to the Liguria has all the components of a perfect holiday, especially with the seven good reasons mentioned here.
Getting to the Italian riviera
Italy has an extensive organized system of transportation, and the Riviera region has a number of trains that regularly run the length and breadth of the Ligurian coast. Genoa has an international airport, as well as other regional airports connecting important destinations.
The journey to the coast by road, as well as by train, is quite spectacular. Tunnel upon tunnel form a major part of the scenic trip, with the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea forming a boundary on one side.
dining (and Drinking) in the Italian Riviera
The locals here go to extreme lengths to make sure that all visitors to the Riviera take memories back home to remind them of their experience with traditional Ligurian food. The signature dish here is Farinata, a thin pizza-like pancake similar to the French socca. It is made out of chickpea flour and served hot, straight from the oven and garnished with cheese. Liguria is also the birthplace of the famous pesto sauce as well as some typical dishes like Orata, Gattafoni and Soviore – a pie made from rice.
While red wines are not so popular, the Liguria is famous for its prestigious dry white wine, produced in the Cinque Terre villages. The special white and passito grapes found here give the wine a unique flavor, owing to the salty climate they are grown in.
What to See in the Italian Riviera
Planning a trip to the Riviera needs careful consideration. The thin and fragile coastline can be overrun by tourists, especially during summer. It is advisable to stay in a spot that offers equal, if not more enjoyment, but without all the crowds. In fact, some of the more impressive seaside towns extend far beyond the main tourist hub of Cinque Terre. Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Lavanga and others are steeped in elegance and ambience.
Admiring Fine Art in the Italian Riviera
Stunning architecture and a wealth of paintings can be found in the chief port of Genoa. Some of the finest churches and large medieval buildings can be seen here, with the old town area still maintaining its splendor of centuries past.
The area’s spectacular art galleries house some of the most beautiful and priceless pieces of art, including Durer, Van Dyck, Rubens and many more. The colorful covered market, located within the confines of the Duomo di San Lorenzo Cathedral, includes an ornate chapel which dates back to the 12th century.
Stay in Style at Cinque Terre
Situated in a small 18km strip of pristine coastline are five fishing villages which comprise the beautiful Cinque Terre, or Five Lands, as it is more commonly known. It is here you will find a cluster of brightly colored structures built on sheer cliff walls which are considered to be a major marvel of engineering.
An officially approved list of accommodations is readily available from the information center of each of the five villages. A plethora of great hiking trails also crisscross the district – you just need to purchase a Cinque Terre card for access.
Spot Trompe-L’oeil in Santa Margherita
The Italian Riviera is noted throughout the world for the brightly painted decorative details on their buildings. From a distance these seem real to the naked eye. It is only upon closer inspection that you discover they are just illusions. The most popular place to view these spectacles is at the elegant resort by the sea at Santa Margherita Ligure.
The beautifully colored buildings which line both sides of the promenade are some of the most popular sites, especially around the curved streets of Piazza Caprera.
Hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso
One of the most popular day hikes in the whole of Italian Riviera is the trip from the village of Camogli to San Fruttuoso through the park. After enjoying a sumptuous lunch on the beach, you can return via the ferry to Rapallo, and travel past the scenic towns of Portofino and Santa Margherita.
The Italian Riviera forms some of the most scenic parts of Italy. Exquisite cuisine, colorful towns by the sea, panoramic views and excellent walking opportunities make the Ligurian coast a must see destination on any travelers bucket list.
This post was produced in partnership with Italy Villas & Vacation Rentals.