SENIORS DISCOVER THE ITALIAN RIVIERA

Dec 5th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

Liguria Beckons Senior Travelers

Liguria is one of Italy‘s smallest regions, a mountainous sliver of moon on Italy’s northern coast known as the Italian Riviera. The Italian Riviera, or Ligurian Riviera is the narrow coastal strip which lies between the Ligurian Sea and the mountain chain formed by the Alps and the Apennines. It extends from the border with France and the French Riviera and is close to the border with Tuscany. The Italian Riviera thus includes nearly all of the coastline of Liguria. Historically it extended further to the west, through what is now French territory as far as Monaco.

Liguria is a narrow strip of land along the Mediterranean starting in France in the west and ending around the Gulf of La Spezia in the east. Genoa is the capital, and the Cinque Terre a tourist favorite.  Genoa, Italy’s principal seaport, is easy to reach by public transportation. There’s a small airport, ferries come into and out of its harbor, and it’s a main rail hub easily reached from France, Milan, Turin, Pisa, and Rome. The city makes a good base or starting point for exploring the first villages on our Italian Riviera travel itinerary.

Seniors Discover Castles and Seaside Villages

Portofino, Italy, is known as the resort of the rich and famous, but there is much more to see than just people. Portofino is a picturesque, half-moon shaped seaside village with pastel houses lining the shore of the harbor. Portofino has shops, restaurants, cafes, and luxury hotels. Portofino’s crystalline green waters reveal a myriad display of aquatic life. A castle sits atop the hill overlooking the village. There are also opportunities for hiking, diving, and boating.

Sanremo is on the Italian Riviera between Genoa and the French border in the part known as the Riviera dei Fiori, or riviera of flowers.  It is a popular resort town on the west coast of Italy. Sanremo is known for its casino, but there’s much more to see.

Portovenere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portovenere’s harbor is lined with brightly colored houses and narrow medieval streets lead up the hill to a castle. The main street of Portovenere, lined with shops, is entered through Portovenere’s ancient city gate. There is a picturesque church on the promontory, once the site of a temple to Venus, from which Portovenere gets its name. Nearby is Byron’s Cave in a rocky area leading to the sea where the poet Byron used to swim.

The big, bustling working city of La Spezia is a complete contrast to the surrounding coastal villages and rural hinterland. Situated 100km southeast of Genoa, the city sits at the head of the Gulf of La Spezia – also referred to as the Gulf of Poets after Byron, Dante, DH Lawrence, Shelley, George Sand and others who sought inspiration along the gulf’s shores.

My wife and I drove through this area and found indescribable beauty in the rich, deep colors of the Mediterranean and the costal villages. It’s one area to which we want to return.  Perhaps you will visit there one day yourself.  jeb



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