Liguria is a beautiful region of the North — West of Italy with the mountains and running down to the coast and hills, bathed in sunshine. And the ancient Genoa — the Ligurian Riviera, — curving, stretches from the French border near Menton to the Gulf of La Spezia. Between Menton and Genoa Bank are mostly gentle and friendly, with a continuous succession of marine and harbours. East of Genoa the Riviera becomes more steep and wild character, reaching a climax at the sheer cliffs of the Cinque Terre.
Genoa, welcoming and romantic, built on the coastal hill, the busiest port of Italy, the city has added a lot of chapters in the world history of navigation. The Genoese docks can accommodate all types of Maritime Commerce, but this most vibrant capital of the region is also welcoming to yachtsmen. Yachting here in priority: in the city several beautiful marinas, which can become a home for your boat. It is interesting to spend a couple of seasons.
To be in Italy is always nice, and to go from Genoa, nice in either direction. To the East is the Riviera di Levante, where you can make short forays to nearby Portofino or Rapallo with their colorful facades densely standing houses. A little further is the stunning views of the old villages of the Cinque Terre on the cliffs, the beautiful harbour of Portovenere, and immediately beyond it is the Gulf of La Spezia. To the West of Genoa are wonderful of the Bay and Marina of the Riviera di Ponente. San Remo is a classic resort “with history”: the old town, the green hills and the Cathedral of the XII century. And if you like the distant passages, that soon you will move on South to the coast and the cliffs of Corsica that you will never forget!
- Genoa is an ancient city with a rich Maritime history, ideal starting point for exploring the Ligurian Riviera and to the East and West
- Lift “Il bigo” and tropical Biosfera in the old port of Genoa
The docks and harbour of Genoa, well protected from the sea by a long breakwater, stretched for eight miles. Most visiting yacht city go to old Porto Antico, which after renovation has gained one of the best in Europe urban pedestrian promenades. The yacht is easier to use the Eastern entrance from the side of Punta Vagno, with a beautiful promenade along the coastal road.
Keep to the North side of the channel to avoid commercial traffic: it runs a lot of ferries. First you will pass the Marina Fiera di Genova, where the Genoa Boat Show, then the channel will turn to the North, to the city center. Inner Harbor Porto Antico impressive. On the starboard side you will see a string of yachts in the Marina Molo Vecchio. On — high the arrows “Il bigo” is a futuristic lift with a capsule Elevator to take visitors over the Bay to admire the panoramic views and near — famous Aquarium of Genoa. To the North Marina accepts boats are more modest: to moor here you need to the dock, where former workshops are now occupied by shops and restaurants.
Behind the harbour stands the city: cubist jumble of houses, spires and Islands of greenery. Architect Renzo piano has started an ambitious update of the Porto Antico in the early 1990s and eventually successfully reunited the city to the sea, always occupied the Central place in the history of Genoa, for centuries providing it with prosperity. For owners of yachts Porto Antico — interesting place: it is worth to investigate in detail, because here, even during a short walk you can find anything.
If you can’t find a place in the city centre, in Genoa there are several other marinas, and each in its own attractive. Guest spots will be located near the Eastern entrance to the Porto Antico, Marina Fiera di Genova, or in the small Harbor of Abruzzo, where the famous Yacht Club Italiano. Another option is to go five miles to the West: there is a Marina Genova Aeroporto for 500 people. Even more berths in the nearby suburb of Sestri Ponente — place on the industrial, but quite convenient on closer acquaintance.
Stylish Porto Antico attracts many visitors, but the city’s abundance of attractions, especially in its medieval part. Going from the old port under the overpass of the main city thoroughfares and streets, you will get to Via Cairoli — long cobblestone pedestrian street that will take you to Via Garibaldi. Literally hanging over the outside of the house provide shade in the hot summer, and between them, directly over the street, drying Laundry and locals staring from the balconies.
The most famous buildings of Genoa — luxurious marble Palace, built during the great wealth that the river flowed to Genoa in the XVI–XVII centuries. On Via Garibaldi, among a dozen of the Palazzo one of the most interesting is Palazzo Lomellino, built in 1563 by the merchant, made a fortune on the fish and corals from North Africa. Here you can look at the wonderful roof garden — an oasis above the ground, with orange trees, a white minaret and the alley, overgrown with Wisteria. Be sure to get to Spianata di Castelletto is a quiet Park on a hillside, broken, on the site of the old Fort overlooking the city. Should come here early evening to enjoy the sunset and lights over the port lights.
From Genoa, the Riviera di Levante curving Southeast towards the rocky Peninsula covered with pine trees and olive groves. It is a national Park of Portofino — idyll for walkers. On the Peninsula there are several towns, and the first of them — Camogli, in the North-Western corner. The harbour here is small, but to visit this place is at least in order to see it colored “mosaic”. In Camogli a lot of good restaurants, especially fish, and the Italians often come here with a view to eat. Nearby in the town of Punta Chiappa is the famous cave of Gamberi.
Much more well-known Portofino on the opposite side of the Peninsula is a classic Italian look with the cards. Built in a rocky cleft, this town has become too popular, and in peak season it is not overcrowded. But if you come early in the season, for example at the end of may, you can enjoy this wonderful place in the crowd. In the light of dawn Portofino is especially beautiful, and its fishermen’s houses standing here in contrast to the luxury yachts. Despite the tiny size, the town boasts fantastic restaurants, whose names resound throughout the world. One of these — I Gemelli on the West side of the port, great facilities and authentic recipes from local shores of the Gulf of Tigullio. And in the next small Bay of Paraggi don’t miss the Carillon is a legendary club and restaurant with great food and stylish décor.
- Portovenere at the entrance to the Gulf of La Spezia. This is the place that inspired another of Byron and Shelley, perfectly still
On the Eastern side of the Peninsula a couple of miles apart there are two more town: Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. Facing North-East Santa Margherita accepts the yacht at the outer breakwater; in the middle of the crowd of fishing boats and smaller yachts in the Bay. The green hills over the Bay dotted with luxurious villas: this area of the Riviera, especially a lot of them. In the 1950s there was a “nest” jet-setters: Santa Margherita regularly visited Gianni Agnelli, Brigitte Bardot and Aristotle Onassis. For lovers of night life club Covo di Nord Est with live music — the place is a must visit.
In charming Rapallo villas on extensive plots look from the slopes covered with fragrant pine trees and poplars. The shore is framed by palm trees, and over the sea stands a small castle. Here is a very nice yacht club, and the prestigious Marina Carlo Riva works like a clock. The construction of the Marina in Rapallo started in 1975 the famous Carlo Riva, Creator of the legendary Riva boats; he died just a year ago at the age of 95 years.
From Rapallo Riviera coast turns to the South-East, where Chiavari and Lavagna — pair is not particularly remarkable locations, and then from Punta Manara coast gets more mountainous. Soon you will reach the famous Cinque Terre with rocks in the blue sea. Here the sun-scorched slopes of the Ligurian seem to be wild and uninhabited, but about ten miles, between Punta Mesko and Capo Pietro, located absolutely fantastic five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, is mysteriously literally hanging on the cliffs with no visible support.
- In the town of Vernazza in Cinque Terre it is possible to moor stern to the dock
Of these, only Vernazza has a normal breakwater, where small boats can overcoats stern. But in the calm summer days you can anchor in any of the towns of the Cinque Terre, enjoying the crystal clear water and spectacular views of the pristine coastline and stretching deep into the mountain. Swimming and snorkeling are beyond praise, and then on the tender to go ashore to a bar or cafe. At the end of a long day of pleasures makes sense to make another small leap South to Portovenere harbour at the entrance to the Gulf of La Spezia, on the shore of the narrow Strait between the continent and the island of Palmaria. Portovenere — the sun-drenched great harbour with a patchwork quilt of buildings is as beautiful as a few centuries ago, when there rested Lord Byron.
Oddly enough, the Western part of the Italian Riviera — is still not the most popular route. It is similar to the French Riviera, but still Italy is a little different: the pace of life here is moderate. Between Genoa and San Remo is much less concrete than on the Cote d’azur, but a lot of traditional Ligurian towns, where tourism “humane”, and many restaurants and cafes have more everyday, home.
Varazze is one of my favorite ports of the Western part of the Italian Riviera is located approximately 16 miles West of Genoa. Although the place is very busy, the town leaves a pleasant feeling of old-fashioned with its green promenade and pedestrian streets behind it are full of shops and stalls. The Marina is built in Italian style; its lanes, wooden buildings and green copper roofs create a pleasant mood. Walking along the road to the East of the Marina, we found an amazing family restaurant Garbassu in the quarter for coastal gardens, close to the beach Bagni Nettuno. Be sure to try some of the fritto misto di mare (grilled seafood) and spaghetti with clams.
To the West from Alassio
Near Varazze is a Savona — large commercial port, whose docks and warehouses, when you come to this place, at first, depressing. But in the town is the old centre in Florentine style and cozy Marina for lifting pedestrian bridge.
10 miles to the South-West you will find Finale Ligure Marina under the rocky cliff. After it — miles of excellent beaches, which will appear on the horizon Loano — a large Marina, where there is always a place. The town is in the Romanesque style, surmounted by a dome, starts just behind the promenade, followed by the towering rocky mountains and the local peak Monte Ravinet.
A dozen miles from Loano is situated in Alassio, a famous resort of Italian Riviera, once popular with movie stars. Today the beaches are Packed with tourists, and it seems that it is better not to meddle. But near the Church and green hills on the promontory of Santa Croce, behind the breakwater, is hidden the comfortable Marina. It is closed from the bustling waterfront, and in the background are beautiful rocks. Almost opposite is a small Gallinara island; with its interior facing the continent side, too, there is a small Marina, but the island itself is beyond the reach of the tourist crowds.
Quiet vacation in the Empire
Further West from Alassio lies Empire — pleasant in all respects the town is known for its excellent olive oil. Here at once two marinas, each with its own atmosphere. The old port of Oneglia has several marinas, but mostly there are fishing vessels. I like slow, inviting atmosphere of this place, especially in the morning when from the sea the fishermen were coming in and people come to see the catch. Buyers are slowly looking at the fish, share the local gossip, chatting with fishermen who seem more interested to talk than money. Music of the Italian votes sometimes sounds too loud and harsh, causing confusion of strangers who think that sparked a serious dispute. But it all ends with smiles and mutual wishes of good day…
Further West from Aneli is Porto Maurizio is a modern Marina, where visitors are allotted to the southern pontoon. You can also stand in the Western corner of the Marina, opposite the promenade where a lot of pizzerias and trattorias. In high season Porto Maurizio crowded: there’s a lot of different boats and on shore crowds of tourists. But if there is a place, where you can have a good time.
Luxurious harbour to San Remo can boast not only fantastic infrastructure, but also hospitality. Here alongside luxurious yachts and modest boats — Marina Portosole staff is equally friendly with everyone.
- Alassio, once a refuge for movie stars, and today is popular with tourists. The Marina here is quite cozy
Protected by the coastal mountains of San Remo is one of the Grand old resorts of the Italian Riviera. Its Golden age began in the 1840s, when British and Russian aristocrats used to come here for the mild winters and the surrounding beauty. Later, in the XIX century, the San Remo became even more popular: it held the railroad and built hotels. Just as in nice and Cannes, in 1920-1930-ies there was a real boom: celebrities of all sorts have opened this Mediterranean gem. And although tourism is now much less exclusive, Sanremo, still keeps the magic of the “old Riviera”.
Go to Corsica
Sooner or later you will have the desire to cross the Ligurian sea to reach Corsica is a beautiful rocky island. Its highest peak is 14 miles from the coast reaches almost 3 km From Genoa, the nearest point of Corsica — cap Corse on the East side of the island. Located here Macinaggio Marina is a beautiful Marina with leading to the shore of green paths and Golden sandy beach. From Genoa to Macinaggio — 90 miles: for fast boats very close, especially in a calm day. Still, there is a Marina in Bastia Toga — 18 miles South from Macinaggio; alternatively, it is possible to circumnavigate the North Cape of the island and to stay at Saint-Florent. This town with a bunch of luxury homes and restaurants on the coast like a sleepy version of San Tropez. He pulled into the lowlands near round the citadel, and along the coast beaches with white sand.
The transition to Calvi
Deciding to go from Genoa to Corsica, I would have planned the transition to Calvi (110 miles) to the North-Western tip of the island. It’s a nice place to stop and rest is conveniently placed for further navigation along the West coast. Local Marina hid the walls of the citadel, which severely looks at the luxurious Bay with a green, curved Crescent beach at the foot of the hills. In the water is a piercing blue color anchored are different yachts and along the waterfront stretches a chain of bars, cafes and restaurants, many of which have terraces right on the water. The Marina is a maze of streets of the old town of Calvi with unexpected twists, steps and patios.
The West coast of Corsica
South of Calvi you will find quiet beaches and summer villas, and then, on the approach to Punta Palazzo, the coast becomes higher and rockier than this. Scandola natural reserve and the famous red rocks, transformed by the wind into bizarre sculptures. In calm weather you can go on the boat quite close to the shore to see the caves. At Punta Rossa you will find yourself in the magnificent Bay: sheer granite wall leads to a promontory where stands the old Genoese Fort. Behind it the town Girolata. Once very distant settlement, and today he was on Hiking trails. There are several restaurants and beach cafes, and the local fishermen bring fresh fish. Anchorage here is well protected; in calm weather you can spend an unforgettable night in this secluded spot under the protection of the coastal hills. The water here is crystal clear and shallow water near the shore and did turquoise.
THE ROUTE FOR A WEEK
Time: April — September
The length — 195 miles
The San Remo. Historical “refuge” of the European elite, the resort is one of the most luxurious places of the Ligurian Riviera. Grand hotels, boutiques, restaurants and, of course, a rousing night life.
Genoa. The place for enjoying the hectic city life, before heading on to explore the small villages and natural beauty.
Portofino. Postcard views of turquoise waters and excellent restaurants attract a lot of yachting public. Alternatively you can go to Rapallo or Santa Margherita Ligure: these nearby towns are also very attractive.
Viareggio. Its growing popularity owes a place that is yachting, a great Marina and beaches. Also here a convenient place to stay for a day to visit Pisa or Florence.
Portovenere. None of the Charter in Ligurian Riviera is not complete without a visit to this place, where close to the picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre.
Elba. The island is like a Caribbean Paradise. Sandy beaches, diverse landscapes, excellent cuisine. I wonder what he thought about Napoleon sent to Elba in exile.
Porto Ercole. Not Tuscany, but Tuscany, this charming town in the deep natural Bay with a great Marina and a lot of entertainment is a great continuation of the Italian Riviera.