Italy has it all: popes, painters, polenta, paramours, poets, political puerility and potentates. Its dreamy light and sumptuous landscapes seem made for romance, and its three millennia of history, culture and cuisine seduce just about everyone. You can visit Roman ruins, marvel at Renaissance art, visit tiny medieval hill towns, and gaze at beautiful churches. Naturally you can also indulge in the pleasures of la dolce vita: good food, good wine and improving your wardrobe. A haven of olive oil, pasta, wine, mafia and sunshine, roman ruins and renaissance palaces, Italy has a lot to give its visitors.
The ‘Italian Riviera’ is a loose term usually applied to the stretch of coast in Liguria which borders France. This coastline boasts blue seas, stately resorts with casinos and swaying palms along the promenade, and attractive inland villages.
The blue waters, the attractive coastline and beaches, and the exceptionally mild climate have long been the Italian Riviera’s biggest attractions. Sheltered from the north by the Maritime Alps, the strip of land by the sea has a micro-climate of its own; with sunshine and comfortable temperatures the whole year round.
South of Genoa, the capital of the Italian Riviera, are three very different resort towns: jet-set Portofino (where you are likely to see several yachts); elegant Santa Margherita, the flower-filled town; and lively little Rapallo, where the shopping is excellent. Stop in the promontory Portovenere and visit the renowned Cinque Terre, five picture-perfect villages clinging to almost vertical hillsides lined with vineyards and olive groves.
Before you know it you’re at the border of Tuscany. Along the way you will have soaked in some of the most spectacular sightseeing Italy has to offer, perhaps accompanied by with a meal of super-fresh fish and pasta with the local specialty: pesto sauce.