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Liguria is a province which borders Italy’s north-western coast. It is the second smallest region of Italy, with boundaries in the west being France, Piedmont to the north and in the east, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany.
The city of Genua (Genova) delineates the boundary between the Riviera di Ponente on the northern side and the Riviera di Levante with the Cinque Terre on the southern side.
Genova, the place of birth of Christopher Columbus, lies beautifully situated on the Mediterranean Sea and is built like an enormous amphitheatre against the hills of the Ligurian Alps. It has the biggest harbour of Italy and is the capital of Liguria. It enjoys many wide avenues interlaced by small and steep alleys. The wide avenues are among the widest roads of Italy. In the city you will find old public gardens and a beautiful, Medieval city centre. The nautical atmosphere that typifies the old harbour is something to be enjoyed by young and old. Furthermore, the city is full of museums, art galleries and imposing cathedrals. Do not forget to check out the old San Lorenzo cathedral. And for children the sea aquarium is a must!
The Riviera di Ponente draws its fame not only from the many seaside resorts, but also its flower cultivation (mostly to benefit the perfume industry) and the olive production. This coastal region is much flatter than the coast south of Genova.
The beaches consist mainly of small pebbles here. For English people the city of Ventimiglia may sound familiar as well. It is located just beyond the French border, and in the 1950s and 60s it indicated the end of the line for train traffic. Ventimiglia has a charmingly walled, old inner city centre with a church dating back to the 11th century, along with a beautiful city public garden lined with palm trees and flowers. There are sandy beaches like in San Remo. The fame of San Remo dates from around the turn of the 20th century when the aristocratic English settled there. The many distinguished and grand old hotels lining the coast remind us still of those days. Modern day San Remo is famous for the many, expensive and exclusive stores, and the very popular casino. Each year the well-known Festival di San Remo is held, which is a type of national song festival. The typical crisscrossing tangle of small, cobbled streets in the old Medieval part of the city (La Pigna) has fortunately been preserved.
Savona is the largest city close by. It is the capital of Riviera delle Palme. In its harbour you will often see the large luxury cruise yachts from the Mediterranean Sea and many of the fish restaurants see their fresh catch of the day often disappear into the mouths of hungry tourists who land on shore for a few hours. Other nice seaside resorts on the Riviera delle Palme to visit are Varazze with its brand-new harbour, and Celle, Albissola and Spottorno.
The kitchen of Liguria is famous for its fish specialties, but it is known the world over for its pesto Genovese, which as a true culinary connoisseur you know comes from Savona. In the neighbouring areas the specialty of the local kitchen is farinata, a type of fat pancake prepared in a wooden oven and consisting mainly of water and the flour made from chickpeas. This farinata can, just like a pancake, be made according to your wishes, adding differing flavours such as rosemary, onion, cheese, or others that appeal to you. Naturally, the kitchen of Liguria uses tons of the delicious olive oil that is made in the local region.