Liguria is a crescent shaped coastal area flattened by the Apennines on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s located in the North-West of Italy and is bordered in the East with Tuscany, in the North with Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont and in the West with France. The unique quaintness of this region is made up of steep streets, perched villages and spectacular inlets, making it one of the most dramatically stunning regions of Italy.
The bright colored villages jut out into the deep blue of the sea, appearing and disappearing from view along the hairpin bends of the Via Aurelia which runs along the region from the east to the French Riviera in the west.
The Ligurian Sea that creeps into the small bays along the jagged coast, has always been an indispensable resource. A historically important merchant port, today the sea gives the Liguria Region the highest number of Blue Flags in Italy. Blue flags are the recognition of the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) which rewards 30 locations for the quality of bathing water and the nautical services offered.
It is no coincidence therefore that this stretch of sea is one of the most productive and life-rich pelagic environments in the Mediterranean. There are numerous boarding points on the Riviera di Ponente from which to start a Whale Watching experience in the Cetacean Sanctuary where visitors can photograph exciting encounters with dolphins, sperm whales, sea turtles and fin and sperm whales.
Alps and Apennines
But the sea is not the only attraction: from the west to the east, the Alps and the Apennines, Liguria is also a fascinating attraction for trekking. The Alta Via dei Monti Liguri crosses the region in enchanted paths and mule tracks that run between the sky and the sea, rarely falling below a thousand meters of altitude. From here, the sunrises are witnessed at three hundred and sixty degrees, from Corsica to Monviso, from Gorgona to the Rosa Massif.
Vineyards and Olive Groves
Going down to the valley, you’ll be immersed in the different scents; first of the forest, then of the meadows and finally of the sea. You will find vineyards and olive groves, supported by risky dry stone walls, a sign of the indomitable character of the Ligurians. The locals are skilled merchants, yes, but also architects capable of shaping a rugged and yet generous territory.
The most striking example of how it is possible to model such an impervious environment without altering its beauty is the Cinque Terre National Park which, together with Porto Venere and the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, is part of the World Heritage List of Unesco.
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