The Italian Riviera is a 350 km scenic coastline along Italy's northwest coast. Charming fishing villages, colourful houses and vineyards are hidden among its characteristic rocks. It covers an area of approximately 3,800 square kilometres with rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and fertile valleys.
Whether it's a natural beauty, cultural heritage, or a relaxing beach escape, the Italian Riviera offers a fascinating experience for travellers worldwide.
You find a mixture of sandy and pebble beaches, offering opportunities for sunbathing, swimming and various water sports. The region is known for its picturesque hiking trails. Especially popular are the coastal paths, which offer a breathtaking view of the sea.
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Map - Where is the Italian Riviera?
It stretches along the northwestern coast of Italy and extends from the French border to Tuscany. It is part of the larger Liguria region, which stretches along the Ligurian Sea. The countryside includes many cities such as Genoa, the Cinque Terre villages, Portofino, Sanremo and many other settlements.
Part of the Riviera
The area is divided into two main parts: the Riviera di Levante and the Riviera di Ponente.
- Riviera di Levante (the "coast of the rising sun") includes the famous Cinque Terre. This is the eastern region, which is rougher and less developed. There are narrow roads between the steep rocks that wind along the coast. Other popular towns are Portovenere, Sestri Levante and Camogli.
- Riviera di Ponente (the "coast of the setting sun") includes popular coastal towns such as Sanremo, Alassio and Portofino. Locating in the west, it is an easily accessible and developed region with long sandy beaches and a milder climate. It is known for its elegant resorts, historic villas, beautiful gardens and delicious wines.
Genoa (in English: Genova i Italian) is the Liguria region's capital and the Riviera's centre. It is an important port city and has historical significance as one of the main maritime powers of the Middle Ages. It serves as a gateway to the surrounding coastal towns, so it's not uncommon for those who want to explore the Riviera to stay here. Due to its important role in the Middle Ages, it is full of attractions.
Coastal towns and villages are connected by scenic roads and railway lines, making them easy to explore by car or train.
- Cinque Terre: One of the most famous destinations on the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre consists of five colourful fishing villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
- Portofino: A luxurious resort town known for its charming harbour, colourful houses, upscale boutiques and restaurants.
- Santa Margherita Ligure: Located near Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure is a charming town known for its palm-lined promenade, colourful buildings and bustling port. It offers relaxation, lively nightlife, beautiful beaches and excellent seafood.
- Sanremo: Famous for its annual music festival. In addition, the city's elegant architecture is worth mentioning. A beautiful promenade, a bustling casino and beautiful gardens await tourists. By the way, it is also known for its flower production, hosting several yearly flower parades.
- Alassio: With its long sandy beach, Alassio is a popular seaside resort town. It offers a lively atmosphere, charming old town streets and a beautiful beach promenade lined with palm trees.
- Camogli: Known as the "city of a thousand white sails", Camogli is a picturesque fishing village with colourful buildings, a bustling harbour and a pebble beach. It is an excellent destination for seafood lovers and those seeking a more relaxed and authentic experience.
The region's cuisine is influenced by both land and sea, with fresh seafood, delicious pesto sauce and local specialities such as focaccia bread. It is renowned for using fresh seafood, olive oil, pesto sauce, and aromatic herbs. Try regional specialities such as trofie pasta with pesto, focaccia, and farinata (chickpea pancake).
The Italian Riviera has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers. You can experience pleasant temperatures throughout the year.
The area's history is rich and varied, spanning thousands of years.
- Ancient times: The Ligurian region, where the Italian Riviera is located, was inhabited by the Ligurians, an ancient Celtic people. The area witnessed the effects of the Etruscan and Greek civilizations.
- Roman period: The Roman Republic expanded its influence in the countryside in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, establishing colonies and developing trade routes. Genoa, then known as Genoa, flourished as an important Roman port.
- Maritime Republics: During the Middle Ages, there were several independent maritime republics, including those of Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi. Genoa became a dominant maritime power, controlling a huge trade network. He established colonies and outposts in the Mediterranean.
- Renaissance and Spanish rule: The Italian Riviera experienced cultural and artistic growth during the Renaissance. However, in the 16th century, it came under Spanish rule and faced economic decline.
- Napoleonic Wars: The end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century brought significant changes to the countryside. Napoleon Bonaparte's campaigns annexed the Ligurian Republic - Genoa and parts of the Italian Riviera - to the French Empire.
- Unification of Italy: The goal of the Italian Risorgimento movement in the 19th century was to unify Italy's various states and regions into a single nation. The Italian Riviera became part of the United Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
- World War: During the Second World War, it suffered severe damage. After the war, the area was rebuilt and developed, and soon after, it became a popular tourist destination.
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