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Travel spotlight: The Italian Riviera

Jun 03, 2015 by Laura Barber

Known for its Mediterranean climate, pristine beaches and famously relaxed lifestyle, the Italian Riviera (or Liguria) has been a sought-after retreat throughout history. The real draw of this beautiful region lies in the character-rich towns that dot its coast. From colorful cliffside villages to bustling port cities, these charming communities bring the spirit of Liguria to life. Read on for a closer look at a few of the towns that make up this inviting corner of Italy.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre

Italian for “The Five Lands,” Cinque Terre is a weathered stretch of the Ligurian coast comprised of five villages—Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore—famous for their brightly colored buildings.

By the numbers

11— The century Cinque Terre first appears in historical documents

368—The number of steps in the final climb into Corniglia on the Azure Trail

1997—The year Cinque Terre became a UNESCO World Heritage site

Did you know? The wide variety of house colors here can be attributed to the towns’ fishermen of old—each painted their home a different color so they could see them as they were out tending to their nets.

genoa-feature

Genoa

Not only is this the capital city of the Italian Riviera, Genoa is also the sixth most populous city in Italy and the country’s largest seaport.

By the numbers

8— The average number of days per year with a high above 86 °F

19— The number of miles that make up the Genoese coastline

2004— The year for which the city was named the European Capital of Culture

Did you know? In addition to being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa has produced four popes throughout history.

Portofino in the Italian Riviera

Portofino

A tiny fishing village, Portofino is known the world over for its picture-perfect harbor and charming architecture.

By the numbers

1— The number of square miles that make up Portofino’s area

56— The depth (in feet) at which the statue Christ of the Abyss is submerged off the coast

1861— The year the village officially became a part of Italy

Did you know? According to the philosopher Pliny the Elder, Portofino was originally named Portus Delphini (Port of the Dolphin) due to the large population of dolphins that lived in the surrounding waters.

Andora in the Italian Riviera

Andora

With one of the longest stretches of beach in the western Italian Riviera, this small town is a popular vacation spot during the warmer months.

By the numbers

32— The number of years Andora has held the Blue Flag award, given out by the Foundation for Environmental Education, for its clean beaches

7,657— The number of people who live here year-round

70,000— The number of people who live here in the summer

Did you know? A grower of protected-origin-denomination basil, Andora plays a key role in the production of the region’s world-famous pesto sauce.

Have you been to the Italian Riviera? What was your favorite town? Let us know on Facebook.


About the author | Laura Barber
It all began on a school trip to London in 7th grade. Since that first jaunt across the pond, Laura has been hooked on all things travel (and British for that matter). When she's not at work using her words to help people find their own adventures, she can be found running 5ks, refining her cribbage game, or rewatching The Office for the 100th time.