How about being at the sea and the mountains at the same time with a favorable weather all year around? Is it asking too much? What when it is all set in Italy? Did I hear a sigh?
I sigh too when I remember sheer cliffs, wonderful sea, romantic walks, stunning hikes, pretty villages, vineyards, olive groves, flowers and palms and oranges. Memories flood me, all rushing at once, mixed and merged as an abstract painting; giving me varying interpretation. When I am writing about it, it is difficult to separate them all, difficult to narrate in some order, difficult to decide what to write first.
To make matters worse, on the penultimate day of our trip, I accidentally pressed the ‘format’ button in my camera, deleting all those beautiful moments. I cried inconsolably which terrified my four-year old son. Though we could recover some of the photographs with some software, it left voids in the saga. Now, when I am trying to put the trip in to words, my wounds, which I inflicted myself, are bleeding again. Perhaps, writing will fill some of those voids and heal the wound.
Dear readers, I am talking about the Liguria region of Italy. Liguria region is a small arched strip of land along the coast of Liguria in Mediterranean Sea, in the north-west of Italy. It lies just to the west above Italy’s great boot. The land rises to the mountains on one side and drops to the sea as beaches or as cliffs, on other side, making it a narrow stretch of land, dotted with impossibly perched towns and villages, and connected through a series of tunnels all along from La Spezia to Ventimiglia. It is famously known as the Italian Riviera.
Genoa is the capital city of this region and it more or less divides the region in two halves. The western half is known as the Riviera di Ponente, the coast of setting sun. This side has relatively wide beaches and it extends from Genoa to the French border. The eastern half,known as Riviera di Levante has rugged and craggy shoreline and dramatic scenery. It extends in the east from Genoa to Capo Corvo.
The whole Ligurian region is divided into four divisions. Starting from west, that is from French border,these four provinces are Province of Imperia, Savona, Genoa and La Spezia. To keep the matters simple, Imperia and Savona are on Riviera di Ponente and Genoa and La Spezia are on Riviera di Levante.
We were there in the spring season which was the time for flowers to be in full bloom but not for the tourist-bloom. This stretch of land is filled with flowers and flowers. In fact, the coast of the Imperia province is known as Riviera dei Fiori(flower). Sanremo and Ventimiglia are two major flower markets on that coastal region. Summer months are notoriously crowded as is the case all over the Europe, specially the seaside.
In this series on Italian Riviera, I will take you to Noli, Loano, Toirano(Savona province) on the Riviera di Ponente. On Riviera di Levante, we will stop at Nervi, Genoa, Rapallo, Portofino, Camogli-St Fruttosso, Santa Margherita Ligure(Genoa Province), and the UNESCO heritage site of Cinque Terre(La Spezia province).
During the course of journey to sea and mountains and quiet villages, besides getting drunk by sea and getting floored by all the flowers, we will also make stops for the gastronomic delights, Hollywood glamour, literary gems, and ring doorbell to Christopher Columbus’ Home.