Otherwise known as the Italian Riviera, the stretch of coast from the French border in the west to La Spezia in the east has been long famed for its gloriously mild climate, its luxuriant vegetation of vines, olives, lemons, olives, cypress, pines, bougainvillaea and roses, and its colourful fishing villages of gaily-painted shuttered houses nestling on cliff-sides and in coves.
To the west of Genoa the road along the coast forms a corniche with fishing villages, resorts and fruit orchards, this part of the coast being known as the ‘Riviera dei Fiori’ as its mild climate encourages abundant flowers, notably roses and carnations.To the east of Genoa the coastline of the Ligurian Riviera is more rugged with promontories such as the Portofino peninsula, renowned for its graceful beauty, sheltered coves, wide bays and larger resorts. Inland, seemingly a world removed from the coast are greenish-grey rugged mountains and hill towns, ruined castles and fast flowing streams. There are abundant chestnut woods and remote valleys, caverns and grottoes and interesting little churches. The Ligurian Riviera is a delightful holiday region where the emphasis is on stylish and tasteful rest and relaxation.
Cultural Highlights of the Ligurian RivieraThe 12th Century Church of San Matteo in Genoa, with its striped black and white Gothic facade. The 16th Century Via Garibaldi in Genoa, designed by Cantone. The `Adoration of the Magi` by Joos van Cleve in the Church of San Donato in Genoa. Cruxifiction by Van Dyck in the Church of San Michele di Pagana between Santa Margherita and Rapallo.
Festivals of the Ligurian RivieraBlessing of the Fish in Camogli in May and the Stella Maris procession of boats to the Punta della Chiappa in August. Procession at Montallegro, above Rapallo, beginning July. La Spezia holds a `Festa del Mare` on first Sunday in August.
Gastronomy of the Ligurian RivieraInfluenced by the sea in particular and the moutains to the north. Local specialities include dishes made with pesto for example Trenette al Pesto and Farinata which is a flat bread of chickpea flour and oil, thin like a pancake and eaten as a snack. Pansoti with walnut sauce is a Ligurian speciality of spinach and egg filled pasta with a sauce of nuts, garlic, herbs, ricotta and olive oil.
There are numerous places of interest on and around the Ligurian Riviera. Visit the resort of Nervi with the collection of clocks, fabrics, furniture and lace in the Villa Luxoro and its Galleria d'Arte Moderna. Genoa, a busy port and bustling city, also has fine palaces such as the Palazzo Reale and the Palazzo Bianco and the fascinating Steglieno Cemetery, full of elaborate tombs. The wild beauty of the Cinqueterre should be seen from the ancient footpath, the Sentiere Azzurro, which links the coastal villages. The Abbbazia di San Fruttuoso on the Portofino Peninsula can be reached by boat or on foot. In Camogli sea shells adorn the house walls and the castle contains a display of sea creatures. Flower market in Sanremo early mornings. Giardino Hanbury near Ventimiglia. Diano Marino known for its olives and sandy beaches.Visit Andora Castello, inland from Alassio, known as the finest mediaeval building on the western Riviera.
By Air: Fly to Milan. There are daily flights with British Airways from Gatwick and Heathrow and Alitalia from Heathrow. Hire-car: We include a hire-car with all the holidays to the Ligurian Riviera although you may prefer us to arrange a taxi transfer for you. Please ask us for the price difference. Self-drive: With your own car you can reach the Ligurian Riviera from the French Riviera to the west or from the Mont Blanc and Frejus tunnels to the worth and west of Turin respectively. If you take the route through the tunnels you can reach the Ligurian coast with just one overnight stop, perhaps in the French Alps although a second night makes the journey more comfortable. We can arrange overnight stops for you in France. You might want to consider combining the Ligurian Riviera with a stay on the Cote d'Azur.
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CapitalRome AirportThere is a very good scattering of international airports in Italy, with the main ones being Venice, Pisa, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Naples, Genoa, Turin and Bari; on Sicily, Catania is served by several airlines from the UK and on Sardinia you fly to Cagliari or Olbia.CurrencyEuro (£1 = Euro 1.30) SizeItaly is roughly 650 miles long, but only about 100 miles wide Population60 million Average temperatureItaly's temperature varies dramatically, from about 4 degrees in Turin in winter to 33 degrees in Sicily in summer, with snow year-round on the summits of the Pyrenees and Alps National holidays in Italy Some tourist attractions as well as banks etc may close on the following days: 1 January 6 January (Epiphany) Easter Monday 25 April (Liberation Day) 1 May (Labour Day) 15 August (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) 1 November (All Saints) 8 December (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary) Christmas Day Boxing Day There are a number of local feast days that can affect conditions locally. In addition to the above days, museums are often closed on Mondays in Italy.
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