LIGURIA REGION | ITALY

The Liguria Region is a coastal region of north-western Italy, with a capital Genoa. The region is popular with tourists for its beaches, towns, and cuisine. Liguria is bordered by France to the west, Piedmont to the north, and Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany to the east. It lies on the Ligurian Sea. The narrow strip of land is bordered by the sea, the Alps and the Apennines mountains. Some mountains rise above 2000 meters and the watershed line runs at an average altitude of about 1000 meters.

Mountains and steep cliffs that rise loftily out of the Ligurian Sea in the most northerly part of the Western Mediterranean. This is the fascinating landscape that will impress people on their journey through this historically rich and dynamic region. The capital Genoa, one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean and home to Christopher Columbus, was already a powerful maritime state in the Middle Ages. Today one can find impressive buildings, elegant mansions, and wonderful churches, all of which bear witness to Liguria's glorious past and which blend in perfectly with the modern city. In other parts of Liguria, there are also numerous historical treasures.

An intact and luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation exists in the mountain regions of Portofino and Cinque Terre. On the other hand, Portovenere is a small jewel on the Mediterranean coast. Sanremo is one of Italy's most famous bathing resorts and the place where the annual Italian pop music festival takes place. The beautiful Benedict monastery S. Fruttuoso merits special attention. And needless to say there are many other important historical monuments to be explored. Liguria is where pesto is originally from, one of the most popular sauces in Italian cuisine. Seafood is a major staple of Ligurian cuisine, as the sea has been part of the region's culture since its beginning. Another important aspect of the culture there is the beach. Tourists have been flocking to the Italian Riviera for decades to experience its calm, deep blue water. Besides Italian which is the official national language, Ligurian, the local language, is also spoken.

PROVINCES OF THE LIGURIA REGION

Genoa Province (the region's capital), Imperia Province, Savona Province, and La Spezia Province

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The winding arched extension of region goes from Ventimiglia to La Spezia. Of this, are mountainous (65% of the total) and are hills (35% of the total). Liguria's natural reserves cover 12% of the entire region, or 60,000 hectares of land. They are made up of one national reserve, six large parks, two smaller parks and three nature reserves. The continental shelf is very narrow, and so steep it descends almost immediately to considerable marine depths along its 350-km coastline. Except for the Portovenere and Portofino promontories, it is generally not very jagged, and is often high. At the mouths of the biggest watercourses there are small beaches, but there are no deep bays and natural harbours except for those of Genoa and La Spezia. The ring of hills lying immediately beyond the coast together with the sea account for a mild climate year-round. Average winter temperatures are and summer temperatures are , which make for a pleasant stay even in the dead of winter. Rainfall can be abundant at times, as mountains very close to the coast create an orographic effect. Genoa and La Spezia can see up to of rain in a year; other areas instead show the normal Mediterranean rainfall of annually.

WHAT TO SEE IN THE LIGURIA REGION

The Ligurian Sea also attracts several specimens of sperm whales, rorquals and dolphins, who find their natural habitat and live safely in this area known as the “Sanctuary of Cetaceans.” The extensive woods of Liguria with their centuries-old trees, a true natural legacy, are an excellent alternative to traditional tourism. Immersion into the region's natural environments allows one to get to know and see the places where man, with love and dedication, has managed to cultivate the best possible fruits from this land. Places full of history, culture and traditions, which witness the passage of ancient peoples coming from the sea.

Most of the coastline of the region is known as the Italain Riviera and the authentic character of the region can still be found in the quiet corners of certain seaside villages or in the rare coves still unaltered by the hands of man. In the Cinque Terre, for instance, a group of picturesque fishing villages clinging to a rocky coastline, cars are banned. The beautiful inland area, bypassed by the tourist hordes, is surprisingly and unexpectedly fascinating and deserves greater attention. Behind Sanremo alternative itineraries touch the medieval villages of Taggia and Triora; Pigna with its characteristic chibi (alleys) surrounded by olive groves; Apricale, a medieval village magnificently facing south; Dolceacqua, with the Doria castle and vineyards. Farther north, on the slopes of Mount Saccarello (2,200 m.) lies Monesi, a winter sports resort.

Physical Profile of the Liguria Region

liguria-profile

OUTDOOR RECREATION IN TEH LIGURIA REGION

TOWNS IN THE LIGURIA PROVINCE

Genoa – Liguria’s capital city, historic maritime power, part of old center on UNESCO World Heritage list
Cinque Terre – Famous collection of five coastal towns, incredibly popular for the hike that connects them, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
La Spezia – City just south of the Cinque Terre, Roman amphitheatre in nearby Luni
Portofino – Small town on the Italian Riviera, beautiful port, nearby beach
Portovenere – Town near La Spezia in southern Liguria, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Ventimiglia – City in northern Liguria, home to Balzi Rossi caves where the remains of a Cro-Magnon family were found
Sanremo – City on the Italian Riviera, very close to France, host of annual Sanremo Music Festival and Milano-Sanremo bicycle race

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