Earth : Europe : Italy : Northwest Italy : Liguria
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Liguria is a northwestern region of Italy, on the Ligurian Sea.
Administratively, Liguria consists of the following provinces:
- La Riviera di Ponente - the coast that stretches from France to Genoa, and La Riviera di Levante, the coast on the Italian peninsula itself - these are the main reasons people visit Liguria
- The Cinque Terre - (literally "five lands"), five tiny, picturesque fishing villages, Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza - perched precariously on the rugged, rocky hills that tumble into the Mediterranean
- Gulf of the Poets - The gulf of La Spezia is known also as the “Gulf of the Poets”, because through the centuries, many famous poets, writers and artists spent their holidays or part of their life in the villages and small towns of this gulf, enchanted by the superb and peaceful beauty of this earthly paradise.
Liguria is home to seaside resort towns in the style of Cannes and Monaco, dozens of sandy, rocky and pebbly beaches, in Genoa the country's largest commercial and naval port, some of its most desolate stretches of coast, and terraced hillsides that produce olive oil considered to be more delicate even than that grown in Tuscany.
Roads and trains run the length of the coast, linking the Riviere with France and the rest of Italy. There is an international airport at Genoa and a regional airport at Villa nuova di Albenga.
Whether travelling by train or by car, the spectacular journey along the Ligurian coast takes you through tunnel after tunnel, bursting out from darkness into sunlight, the sea sparkling at your side.
Bussana Vecchia: an old village near San Remo (Province of Imperia) destroyed in the 19th century by a strong earthquake and now inhabited by artists.
Those who are fond of a good walk will love the Via Del Amore, a long and winding path along the coast which connects the five villages of the Cinque Terre. Stunning views of the sea make for a memorable trek, but it's not for those of a nervous disposition - the path can be quite high above the sea in certain stretches, so if you don't like heights perhaps this won't be for you.
Traditional Ligurian food is some of the most refined in all of Italy. Tagliatelle is served in various forms here, and torta di verdura is a local speciality, a vegetable pie made with borage and other wild late-winter herbs. Seafood is very popular, as the sea around Liguria is abundant with life. Some typical dishes are:
- Mushroom pie
- Mussels stuffed with cheese and herbs
- Orata (a local fish) cooked with olives and potatoes
- Gattafin (pasta stuffed with beetroot, onion and parmesan)
- Soviore rice pie
Liguria is also the birthplace of pesto sauce.
In all Liguria provinces there's a speciality called ‘Farinata’, which consists of a thin salty, pie made with chick-pea flour which is cooked in a wood oven, similar to those used for pizza. It’s eaten as antipasto or as a nutritious snack and can be topped with Gorgonzola, onion or Salsiccia.
White and passito grapes are given to the Cooperativa del Gruppo Di Riomaggiore, a modern organization that has streamlined the winemaking process.
Sciacchetrà is a prestigious dry white wine produced in the Cinque Terre.
Other white wines are Pigato and Vermentino (of which you can also find a variation of in Sardinia) which suffer from a bit from the salty sea climate in which the grapes grow, giving the wine a particular if not unique taste. Red wines are not so common and the only one worth mentioning is Rossese di Dolceacqua.
Liguria is generally a safe region. Pay attention to pickpockets in some streets of Genoa (Via del Campo and the harbour)
Liguria stretches east in a narrow ribbon along the coast from France. Mountains separate it from Piedmont to the north, Emilia-Romagna to the east and Tuscany to the south.
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