Liguria: one of the largest regions in northwestern Italy


One of the smaller regions of the country, Liguria is famous for its mild climate, beautiful beaches, treasure cities and amazing cuisine.


Liguria is located between the sea and the mountains and includes the Maritimes Alps and the Ligurian Apennines. The region is bordered by France to the west, Emilia-Romagna to the northeast, Tuscany to the east, Piedmont to the north and the Ligurian Sea to the south. The picturesque coastline divides Liguria into two parts – the western Riviera di Ponente (from Genoa to France) and the eastern Riviera di Levante (from Tuscany to Genoa). Such a favorable geographical location determined the mild climate of the Mediterranean type. The average January temperature in most cities is 7 ° C, and in July it is +22 ° C.


The scientists have found out the traces of the presence of the primitive people already in the coastal caves. In VIII-VI B.C. when Liguria was settled by the Greeks, Etruscans and Celts, the area obtained almost modern borders. Some fortresses have survived, notably near San Remo and Savona. In the 2nd century B.C. the Romans built strategically important roads: Julia Augusta, Aurelia, Clodia. At the beginning of XI century a number of cities in Liguria such as Genoa, Savona, etc. experienced a rapid economic growth, which was connected with the development of trade. At the end of XIII century Genoa became the strongest city of the coast, pushing aside Venice and Pisa. The Genoese Republic was incredibly rich: it owned territories from Nice to Portovenere, the islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Elba.

During the period of French expansion, Genoa was severely destroyed. In 1805 Liguria was already a part of France and 10 years later became part of the kingdom of Sardinia – Piedmont.


The culture of the region is unique in that you can see monuments from different periods: the cave paintings from the Bronze Age, the early Middle Ages temples and luxurious palaces from the Renaissance. Important examples of Medieval architecture can be found on the Riviera di Ponente. In Genoa, the Galleria Palazzo Bianco, with works by local painters from 1400 to 1700, is worth a visit. In Ventimiglia, the Archaeological Museum will display exhibits of Ligurian art and the Paleolithic period.

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On January 12, St. Benedict’s Day, a torchlight procession takes place, culminating in the “shooting” of those present with firecrackers.

On January 20, Liguria celebrates the Feast of St. Sebastian. The festive procession gathers in the Nervia Valley. The symbol of the event is a laurel tree, which is decorated with wafers. At the end of the ceremony, they are cut and distributed.

The Feast of the Fish (Sagra del Pesce) in Camogli will leave a lasting impression on you. Taste the crispy freshly grilled fish on the giant griddles. The events take place over three days and are dedicated to the patron saint of Camogli, San Fortunato.

Let us mention the music festival in San Remo, known throughout Europe, which every year brings new artists to the Italian stage.

Giant frying pan. Photo


Liguria’s traditions are best reflected in its local cuisine. The pesto sauce made of basil, pine nuts, olive oil and sheep’s cheese is famous all over the Apennine peninsula and beyond. Focaccia with cheese or farinata, a thin flatbread made of bean flour, are also recommended. Many people consider Ligurian cuisine vegetarian or non-caloric. We can agree with this statement – in the region pork is rarely used, they prefer lean veal. The dishes are filled with the amazing aromas of herbs that grow here: basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, sage.

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Pesto is a force of nature. Photo


The leading universities should be noted: the University of Genoa and the Italian Institute of Technology. The University of Genoa was founded in 1471. Today, as several centuries ago, it is considered one of the most successful and prestigious. On average 40 thousand people study there every year. The university is made up of 11 faculties.

The Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) was introduced to the European scientific community in 2003. It has been called an idea of Prime Minister Berlusconi. The opposition criticized the project, accusing it of creating a “trough” for “theirs”.

The Economy

Luguria grows fruits, vegetables and flowers thanks to its excellent climate. The region was famous all over Italy for its fishing villages, but nowadays the fishing has declined for two reasons: depletion of resources and water pollution. The following sectors are represented in the area: machinery, oil refining, metallurgy, shipbuilding, light industry and food industry.

Transport and Infrastructure

Genoa’s Aeroporto di Genova – Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus Airport) is used for regular flights by more than 10 airlines. Annually, its services are used by more than 1 million people. The airport is located 9 km from the historic center of Genoa.

There are two railway stations in the capital of the Region: Genova Piazza Principe (international and inter-regional trains to the North and South) and Genova Brignole (eastbound Genoa – Pisa). The railway connection of the region is well organized both with neighboring and distant regions. High-speed trains from Genoa take you to Milan, Turin, Pisa and Rome.

  • A7 Milan – Genoa;
  • A10 Genoa – Savona – Imperia – Ventimiglia;
  • A12 Genoa – La Spezia – Pisa – Livorno.

On average, a ticket for public transport in Liguria costs 1.5 euros. A 24 hour ticket (Genovapass) costs 4,5 euros.


Liguria is one of the most densely populated regions in Italy. It is home to 1.565 million people. The population density is 300 people per km². According to the data for the year 2006, the population of Genoa was 620,316, compared to 94,263 in La Spezia, 61,766 in Savona and 57,120 in San Remo.



Genoa is the economic and cultural center of the coast of Liguria. Its fortunate geographical position has made it one of the most important trading ports in Europe. Here since ancient times the cultural life has been concentrated: there is the University of Genoa, founded in 1471 and the Academy of Fine Arts, the Opera and many theaters and museums.

Genoa is rich in ancient architecture and historical monuments. For example, the Genoese fortress was built in the 16th century, when Liguria was frequently attacked by pirates.

The second most popular attraction is the aquarium, with over 5,000 species of all kinds of fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Here you can watch a seal plastic, touch a hand stingray, and much more. Because the city is located in a hilly area, it is full of a variety of staircases and underground passages, the walk through which will be especially romantic.

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Lovely Genoa. Photo by


Due to the fact that the town of Arenzano is located near Genoa, it also has a second name – the gateway to Liguria. This modern town has a distinctly touristy character. It has a mild climate, shelter from northern winds and a wide range of services. Arenzano is famous for its beautiful climate and sea boulevard, which makes it one of the most popular vacation destinations.


In Varazza you will find impressive sandy beaches stretching for a kilometer. Among the places of interest are the remains of city fortifications from Roman times, the shipyards of the sailing fleet, and the Romanesque-Gothic church of St. Ambrosius. Varazze is now a leader among the manufacturers of pleasure boats.


Spotorno catches the eye with its many parks, ancient streets, various historical sites and well-equipped beaches. Tourists are attracted by cozy restaurants, cafes and excellent conditions for sports.

Pietra Ligure

Pietra Ligure is a beautiful town with beautiful comfortable hotels. Many of them have their own equipped beaches. The quality of services provided is quite in line with their prices. Days spent in Pietra Ligure will be unforgettable, the most enjoyable days of the year. The picturesque gardens, the path that leads through the palm trees to the sea, the chic restaurants and tea rooms, combined with the Italian hospitality will give tourists a magical holiday.

Magnificent beaches in Pietra Ligure. Photo by


Alassio is one of the respectable and most popular resorts of the Ligurian Riviera. It has been known since the 60s as a city of dandies and artists. Holidays in Alassio will be remembered for leisurely gliding on the turquoise sea of snow-white yachts, wide beaches with fine sand, olive groves and green fields. In the city center you can admire the wall – Murento, which is decorated with many ceramic tiles with autographs of celebrities. Sophia Loren, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill and other famous people left their mark here.

Diano Marina

This picturesque resort town attracts with its luxurious sandy beach, numerous parks with exotic trees and plants. Diano Marina has everything for sports and leisure: bars, restaurants, boutiques, stores, horseback riding halls, tennis courts. Both adults and children can have fun in the water park Le Caravella.

The resort town. Photo

San Remo

The west coast of Liguria is called the Riviera di Ponente. Its most famous city is undoubtedly San Remo. This city is a kind of symbol of the eternal holiday, summer. It is known for its annual meeting of Italian song lovers in February. San Remo is full of the spirit of past decades. The legendary Casino and the true Russian church are the favorite places to visit.


In Bordighera you can attend interesting events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the world fireworks championship, etc. The city is located near the mountains, so many do not miss the opportunity to admire the local scenery. In Bordighera there is a museum of ancient petroglyphs. Interesting for tourists and the old town, and the promenade with sand or pebble beaches and various churches.

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Camogli is called a place of peace and humanity. An important point in the life of this town is fishing. A beautiful harbor, pebble beaches, colorful houses, narrow streets – everything in this town disposes to rest. You can take a boat trip to the fishing village of San Fruttuoso. Here you can admire a 13th-century palace and a church with a monastery courtyard. At the bottom of the sea is another landmark, the statue of “Cristo degli Abisi,” which can be seen from the surface of the water when the weather is calm.


This picturesque region has also been celebrated by famous personalities. Perhaps the most famous “son” of Liguria is Christopher Columbus. He was born in Genoa in 1451, but some scholars do not exclude the possibility that he was born in Savona.

The director Giuliano Montaldo was born in Genoa in 1930. His film God with Us was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Singer Alexia was born in La Spezia in 1967.

Ricchi e Poveri band member Angela Brambati was born in 1947 in Mignaneggio in the province of Genoa.

Actress and model Eleonora Casalegno was born in Savona in 1976.

Enrico Chiese, former footballer, now head coach of Filine, was born in Genoa in 1970.

Footballer, current sports commentator Stefano Eranio was born in Genoa in 1966.

The group Ricchi e Poveri . Photo

Liguria, like the rest of Italy, evokes positive emotions. This corner of paradise has been praised by writers and poets in their works. Visiting the region, you will realize that it is impossible not to love it.


Beautiful Liguria, the heir to the mighty Republic of Genoa, is ironically one of the tiniest regions in Italy. It’s all the easier, once you come here, to get a complete picture of the area’s beauty. I was lucky enough to settle here, between the sea and the mountains, and to visit half of the seaside villages.

Liguria in the summer months is a never-ceasing holiday, with hot beach parties and crowds of travelers. But the rest of the time it is quiet and nature reigns supreme. This is a place where, surrounded by forested mountains, you can be alone with your inspiration. In my opinion, one should go here to write a novel.

Over the centuries, it has attracted romantics and philosophers in search of solitude. Shelley, Byron, Nietzsche, Hans Christian Andersen, and Ezra Pound drew spiritual peace and creativity from the local landscapes. I’ve spent enough time here to assert that Liguria has everything Italian about it (except the Tower of Pisa).

A short video about Liguria

How to get there

Liguria is a northern region, which means it is developed in every way. Including transport. You can get here by air, water and land, the main thing is to get there in the end!

By plane

The only airport in the region is located in the port of Genoa and is named after the brave Christopher Columbus, a native of these places. Since the Ligurian coastline is a mountainous area that grows right in front of the surf and there is no room for a proper runway, part of the airport is built into the open sea. The planes land almost on the water and take off, revealing a spectacular view of the mountain ranges.

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Ticket from Moscow to Genoa is not cheap, during off-season and at low oil prices you can fly there and back for 16-18 thousand (Aeroflot, Alitalia and Turkish Airlines perform flights daily). A ticket to Pisa, a little further south, will cost about the same. A ticket from St. Petersburg, bought in advance, will cost from $20,000 (with Alitalia and S7).

For Muscovites there is a way out – buy a roundtrip ticket to Milan for 13 thousand. Those who want to save even more money can get on a small comfortable airplane “Pobeda” and for 5 thousand rubles without changing planes to fly to the airport of Orio-al Serio, 3 km from Bergamo and 40 km from Milan. Then take the bus to the central station (“Milano Centrale”) for 10 euros and without wasting time – to the coast of Liguria!

Here you can see which flight it would be more comfortable for you and how much it costs.

By train

There are trains to the Ligurian coast.

They take 3 hours through the Piedmont mountains and fog and cost 9 euros. The end point is the main train station in Genoa (Genova Piazza Principe, located in the center of the city at Piazza Aquaverde), where you will need to make a connection to get to a smaller town.

Absolutely all ports (and almost all “inland” towns) are connected by rail. The ticket to Sestri Levante will cost 5 euros, to the French border 9 euros. All prices can be seen here. Before boarding the train ticket must be validated at the station (in a special green machine). If you did not do this – it’s considered a hare ride.


Bus – is a wand-saving tool for any traveler in Italy. They are always and everywhere, and even if one of them is not on time, do not worry – sooner or later it will be!

Another thing is that it will not be cheap by Russian standards: a few kilometers will cost about 3 euros. But, as we know, the strictness of the laws is compensated by the optionality of their implementation. In the year and a half that I have been in Italy, I have never once paid neither for a city bus nor for an intercity bus. A heart-to-heart talk with the driver will make both him and you forget about the ticket.

Buses go from Genoa to Recco, Rapallo, Chiavari (and so on along the coast to Sestri Levante, schedule and prices here), Arenzano, Savona and other cities in the region. You can always buy a ticket from the driver, but it will cost more than at the Tabaccheria (“Tabaccheria”, a tent where you can buy everything from cigarettes to beach shoes, including tickets).

For more on how to get to and from Genoa specifically, see here.

By Car

Liguria was the most difficult region to master. My deepest bow to the ancestors of the locals, who, despite everything, settled here, where there was a catastrophic lack of flat land.

Not to say that there was a lot of it even now, but people cut ledges in the rocks, stuck houses to them, built roads, terraces, stairs, planted grapes and lived at their pleasure.

Planning a trip by car, prepare for the mountain serpentines and steep turns, behind which will appear the church towers of mountain villages. If you want to rent a car, the prices are here.

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The Liguria freeway is the subject of jokes all over the country. Straight highways are built to speed up travel and make it as safe as possible. Here, however, the autostrada twists and turns just like any other road (well, a little less); it also consists entirely of bridges and tunnels, that is, it is literally suspended in the air.

It was long and costly to build: tunnels were dug, shoring was built, and rock was drilled again. Maybe that’s why it’s so expensive: for example, the Genoa-La Spezia section costs 13.5 euros. By the way, the road from Milan to Genoa will cost the same amount.

Read more about this route here.

When is the season? When is the best time to go

Tourists begin to flock to the Ligurian Riviera in early May, when the grass turns green, the rivers shallow, and the bars put out tables on the waterfront, which slowly begin to occupy the Milanese who have returned from wintering. It’s not bathing yet, but they’re already strolling along the surf and picking out swimwear for summer. Bicycles are taken out of the garages and the heat is turned off.

June and July smell like seawater, Liguria is filled with visiting Italians and travelers, and the locals are switching from red wine to white. It’s a time to do all the things you planned to do in summer – swim, drink a dozen ice-cold cocktails, make out on the beach all night, jump off a cliff into the sea, tan to the point of pain and eat ice cream.

In Sestri Levante, for example, the prices of wine and ice cream don’t change depending on the season, but it’s much nicer to consume it all on a July evening, sitting in a boat moored in Fairy Tale Cove.

The hottest part is August. All of Italy goes on vacation, and much of it heads to Forte dei Marmi, Sestri Levante, Varazza, Cinque Terre, Portofino. It’s beautiful here, it has clean water, service, ancient holidays and modern parties, pasta pesto, proximity to France, the hot evening air, the starry August sky and the unique Genoese architecture.

In September, the olive, peach and eggplant harvest begins. The sea water, warmed over the hot summer months, cools down for a long time, the farms start crushing grapes, the tourists leave the coast one by one. The local musicians curtail their carefree summer tour and return to Genoa in time for the first cold rains. And here comes the fun part.

To come to the sea in the off-season, as Iosif Alexandrovich said, “in addition to the materiel benefits, has that other reason. “. Winter in Liguria means rains and fogs, winter storms, furnace heat, warming red wine, steaming carbonara, work in the evening hours, lemon pies, bunches of kiwi and walnuts with honey. Half-empty cities, scowling controllers on trains, swollen mountain rivers, long conversations in bars – time for a deep sleep by the sea.

For prices on tours to Liguria at different times of the year, see this section of Travelascope.

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