The Ligurian Coast

Liguria’s Riviera di Ponente—“of the setting sun”—stretches from Genoa westward to the French border. Its neighbor to the east, Riviera di Levante (“of the rising sun”), holds the regional monopoly on luxury and sophistication, with Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Camogli, and Rapallo strung like expensive jewels along the coast.

The first thing to strike you about Liguria is its almost total lack of flatness. Wedged in a sinuous arc between Piedmont and the sea, this is where the Alps and the Apennines cascade precipitously into the Mediterranean. Anchored beside the region’s best natural harbour is noble Genoa. Known as La Superba (the Superb One) to biased locals, it’s a city that once ruled over one of the finest maritime empires in medieval Europe. Spread on either side are the swanky resorts of the so-called Italian Riviera, punctuated with pockets of timelessness, most notably the Portofino peninsula and the legendary Cinque Terre. Surprisingly, given its lack of obvious agricultural land, Liguria is renowned for its food: anchovies, lemons, crunchy focaccia bread and an earthy green sauce known to the world as pesto.

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