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LIGURIA

The Italian Riviera of Flowers

The region of Liguria is a ripple of land that curves along the Mediterranean, stretching from Italy's border with France to the marble hills of Tuscany. It has always been a corridor for trade, mostly water-borne as the craggy hills and ravines historically made land travel quite difficult. Nowadays that’s different of course: a freeway punches its way through the hills and launches itself across the valleys so that you can travel from end to end in less than three hours.

That is, if it is not summer time and the roads are not jammed with tourists from Northern Europe seeking the sun, or the Milanese and Turinese grabbing some free time away from the industries of northern Italy.

What brings most people to Liguria is either the beach or the small towns perched in the steep hills behind: great places to escape to in the high summer, when the only thing you want to do is find cool shade and refreshment.

The old fishing villages have long switched their catch from the sea to that of the bustling tourism industry. Here in Liguria you can enjoy views from balconies that overlook the deep blue Mediterranean or silver green olive groves. Houses are often brightly painted, some with impressive frescoes or trompe d'oeil decorations that creates windows and arches where there are none.

Not only the famous Portofino or the Cinque Terre are worth visiting, but also smaller jewels further along the coastline like Alassio and Cervo. Of course, there is also San Remo, with its casino and famous music festival every February.

If you are traveling to Italy from France, reserve a day or two to taste the great seafood of this region, take a walk along crooked alleys in its old fishing villages and enjoy the shade of an old olive tree.

Article and Photographs | Copyright © Carl Ottersen

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