Impressions of Liguria, Italy
The wide bight which the coastline of the Ligurian Sea makes between the French border and Toscana, is like a giant necklace of pearls, pearls offered by the pristine beauty of nature, pearls created by mankind and civilisation also, in cities of history and rustic fishing villages evoking yesteryear rural life. Genova, Liguria's largest city, may not be as romantically cute and picturesque as its old strategic and political rival Venice, but it is undisputably a marvellous and intensely interesting city, 'La Superba', with the signs of a history of wealth, glory and power waiting to surprise you behind the corner of each and any of the narrow alleys, the caruggi, in each of the many medieval palaces along the Strade Nuove. Liguria also means the villages of the Cinqueterre and the peninsula of Portofino, the bay of Porto Venere, one by one idyllic spots where old fishing villages climb from their sea shore onto the spectacular slopes of forested mountain ridges, nestled in a harmonious contrast of green from the lush vegetation and blue from the crystal clear Ligurian Sea. It's early morning in Liguria. The church bells ringing in an appeasing rhythm, blending into the crisp morning air, the smell of fresh 'cornetti" from the oven: the coastal villages of Liguria call you to start yet another day of discovery and awe. Spring weather may not be as stable and fixed on blue, sunny skies like in the Italian South, but even on days under the cover of clouds the Ligurian luminosity still fires up the bright and frivolous colours of the palazzi in the village streets, on its squares, around the quaint little harbours. And in 'La Superba', the hectic city life of today gets underway as well in the narrow caruggi alleys and on the monumental 'piazze' where each and every corner breathes the spontaneous flair of the city's eminent past.
Before visiting the place of your choice:
Genova, or Genoa, is the largest city on the Ligurian coast, with a millennium old history of importance, but also with a vibrant role in Italy today. A main port in the Northern part of Italy, Genova is a vibrant centre of economic but also cultural life, visible in the streets and on the squares, some of them wide and sumptuous, other ones tiny and nestled and hidden in a maze of narrow arcaded alleys, in Genova called 'caruggi'. And churches, plenty of beautiful and richly decorated churches, like San Mateo and San Pietro, and San Siro, which breaths the Baroque exuberance of a city with a past of wealth and glory; glory sometimes also created but given away, as the city's famous son Christopher Columbus opened the new world to Europe while working for the Spanish Crown, and not for the Genovese Republic.