Liguria, from Levant to Ponente to discover the treasures of the region

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Liguria
Aerial view of Genoa (photo from Facebook @ComunediGenova)

An arch of land overlooking the sea that hides countless treasures. This could be a way to sum up Liguria in a sentence. However, trying to frame this region with a word or phrase would be reductive. Hardly, in fact, could a visitor find so much in not so wide territory.

From nature that, from the territories of the rivieres of Levante and Ponente, offers breathtaking landscapes and views with some of the most beautiful views in the world. To the gastronomic offer with dishes and products that have transcended national borders. Not forgetting its cities and villages rich in culture and secrets.

Liguria
Portofino (Photo by Yevhenii Dubrovskyi on Unsplash)

History

Liguria owes its name to the population of the Ligurians, called by the Greeks lígyes. From the Greek term you have the Latin Ligures,derived from lígys,which indicated the loud screams of that people before a battle. In addition, their territory was much larger than present-day Liguria, encompassing parts of southern France, northern Tuscany and northwestern Italy. Over time, populations have moved towards the coast, thus developing a strong attachment and dependence on the sea. Genoa, the regional capital, was the most important of the maritime republics (along with Venice). Today its port is the most important in Italy and among the largest in Europe. Here you will find the famous Lantern, the beacon symbol of the Ligurian capital. At 77 metres, it is the second highest in Europe and, considering the rock on which it rests, reaches the height of 117 meters.

Typical products

A true icon of the Ligurian table is definitely the pesto with Genoa. A few simple ingredients for one of the most iconic toppings that exist. From the Genoese basil Dop, to the Ligurian extra virgin oil Dop, to garlic, pine nuts and pecorino cheese. All pounded (hence the name) in a marble mortar.

Liguria is also famous for its flatbreads. From the soft Genoa, to the focaccia of Recco, with the cheese, which has obtained the Igp (Protected Geographical Indication) recognition. Other typical dishes in the region are flour, a chickpea pie, and brandacujùn, made from stockfish and potatoes. The so-called “Baci di Alassio” is also very famous. These are sweets made from hazelnuts, cocoa and honey with a chocolate cream inside them.

Treasures to discover

Genoa is undoubtedly the beating heart of Liguria. From the harbour area, to the famous careries (the alleys of the old town), to its famous aquarium, the second largest in Europe after the Oceanographic of Valencia. The beauty of the region, however, does not end in its capital. Countless treasures lurk on the road from Levante to Ponente. Once you cross the border with Tuscany,heading towards La Spezia, you enter the Cinque Terre. It is named the territory that includes the countries of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Riomaggiore and Manarola.

Liguria
Photo by Sylwia Pietruszka on Unsplash

Together with Portovenere and the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, since 1997, they are part of the World Heritage Sites protected by Unesco. This is because they represent “a cultural landscape of exceptional value that represents the harmonious interaction established between man and nature”.

The other sites in the region are the Rolli of Genoa, the Beigua Park, between Genoa and Savona and the dry stone walls, included in the list of intangible elements. When we talk about the Rolli, we mean the noble palaces of Genoa, which, in 1576, were included by the Republic of Genoa in a list called the Rolli. It is more than 100 palaces, of which 42 are considered a World Heritage Site.

Before reaching Genoa, a must-visit is the village of Camogli from which you can reach San Fruttuoso and its abbey. In the cove in front of the abbey, at a depth of 17 meters there is a statue of the Savior of 2.5 meters. It is the Christ of the Abyss and every day there are boat excursions with transparent bottoms or very suggestive dives.

Liguria
The abbey of San Fruttuoso (photo from https://www.fondoambiente.it/luoghi/abbazia-di-san-fruttuoso)

Not far from San Fruttuoso is one of Liguria’s most popular tourist resorts: Portofino. And among the resorts of the region, famous in the world, you can not fail to mention Sanremo. From the Italian song festival held every year, to the Ariston Theatre, to its casino, to one of the classics of cycling such as the Milan-San Remo.

Finally, in the area of Ponente, in the province of Savona, we find Alassio and its famous wall. Located in front of the historic Caffè Roma, since 1953, on the initiative of the owner of the restaurant Mario Berrino, a series of tiles with autographs of famous people have been inserted. The first signatures were by the great writer Ernest Hemingway, members of the Cetra Quartet and guitarist Cosimo Di Carmine. Over the years many others have been added among actors, sportsmen and singers, such as the great Genoese singer-songwriter Fabrizio De Andrè.