An Easter break in Liguria, from east to west
The Easter holidays are the perfect time to experience the beautiful scenery of Liguria, a region of Italy that is absolutely ideal for short excursions or for longer stays.
Cinque Terre and Golfo dei Poeti
Starting from the far East, the entrance portal to Liguria could hardly be more stunning: the Cinque Terre, five historic villages nestled on the rocky coastline overlooking the sea: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, an area that was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
To be explored on foot, by taking a walk along the famous «via dell'amore» and following the trails in the National Park. The most exhilarating way to reach the Cinque Terre is certainly from the sea, by taking a boat trip from Levanto, Portovenere, Lerici or La Spezia. It would certainly be a great pity to miss the other beauty spots of this exceptional area, starting from Golfo dei Poeti, the narrow inlet from Lerici to Portovenere, with the two headlands cradling the wonderful landscape that enchanted Shelley, Byron, Petrarch and Montale, thanks to the splendour of nature and the charming villages on the coast, such as Fiascherino and Tellaro .
From Portofino to Genoa
Proceeding eastwards, visitors are advised to stop off at the famed antiques market held in Chiavari, beneath the porticoes of the main square, and then press ahead to Portofino, the most famous town of the Tigullio gulf. Once again the best approach is from the sea, embarking at Santa Margherita, but only after having taken a guided tour around the Abbazia della Cervara to enjoy the immemorial quiet of the gardens and cloisters.
Stopping off at Portofino, make sure you have time to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of the unmissable Park, with its trails, but you could also book a boat trip to the beautiful San Fruttuoso inlet, with the stunning abbey restored by the Italian Environmental Fund FAI. It's a good idea to aim to reach Camogli with plenty of time to spare before sailing so you have time to enjoy a walk through its narrow streets.
An obligatory stop at Recco is essential for gourmets, to savour the celebrated focaccia bread with cheese, a great delicacy to be eaten while still hot, perhaps while gazing out to sea.
The eastern Riviera comes to an end at the provincial capital city of Genoa, with its spectacular Aquarium, the amazing intricacies of its narrow streets and porticoes, the lively cultural experiences offered by exhibitions and museum, and the shoreline at the old mariners' district of Boccadasse.
The Riviera di Ponente and the Riviera dei Fiori
The Riviera di Ponente is ideal for visitors seeking sea, sun, and entertainment for the kids. Long beaches with amenities, sand and recreational facilities for kids, from Varazze to Alassio, there's almost too much choice. The fascinating village of Alassio, apart from the irresistible shopping allure exerted by the exclusive stores of the old centre or "budello" and the fast-paced night-life, which saw its boom years in the 50s and 60s with Caffè Roma and the famously adorned wall, frequented by VIPs and movie stars, also offers the facility for recreational fishing, which is practised all year round.
Why not try a delicious swordfish steak alla ligure, with anchovies, olives, tomatoes, pine nuts and basil, in one of the many restaurants on the sea front?
The Imperia border territory embraces the sea with the famous Riviera dei Fiori. Don't miss a trip to the spectacular Botanical Gardens of Villa Hanbury, overlooking the Mortola headland in the Ventimiglia district, just a few miles from the French border.
Visitors are also advised not to overlook the inland area of Imperia, dotted with ancient villages redolent with legend, such as Triora, “the village of the witches”, Bussana, with its artists' workshops, and Dolceacqua, with its history and its historic bridge, defined by Monet as a "jewel of delicacy”.
Choose a farm holiday in Liguria