Along the "Italian Riviera," this region runs along the coast from northwest Tuscany to southeast France.

Genova (Genoa)

The Italians call it DGEH-noh-vah, the ancient maritime republic (along with Amalfi, Venice, and Pisa) and modern seaport, which is the largest city in Liguria.  Birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genova is also famous for its palaces and pesto alla genovese (Genovese pesto sauce—a pungent green sauce with basil, pecorino, and garlic).  Convenient night trains go to and from Naples; Genova is also a relatively cheap home base to explore the region.

Places to Eat

Elsewhere in Genova Province

Cinque Terre (Five Lands)

Popularized by Rick Steves, these five tiny towns were once only accessible from the sea, although now a train connects them (there is limited car parking outside of the towns). A footpath, known as the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail), connects the towns, and requires a fee for admittance (one version of the fee includes train transport; see Cinque Terre Insider's take on it). In warmer months, there's also a ferry connecting the towns. Each town has its own character...from north to south:

Monterosso (al Mare)

bustling resort town with a large beach


"the pretty one", beautiful babe of the bunch with its picturesque harbor


"the one on the cliff", quieter


cute little town nestled in a small valley, a bit more "rustic", subject of the most famous photos...Manarola was probably the main inspiration for the town in the Disney movie Luca


second-largest town, like Manarola is mostly in a valley, apparently popular with Germans

Which footpaths are open?

Other Towns in La Spezia Province

Some of these towns combine the beauty of the Cinque Terre but fewer crowds (especially the first 3 listed, which are along the same coastline as the Cinque Terre). Nice article about hikes that avoid crowds

view of La Spezia from Campiglia Tramonti

Campiglia Tramonti

Tiny hilltown along the coast, known for its saffron production, just south of the Cinque Terre and north of La Spezia...note that there is a hiking trail that connects Campiglia Tramonti to Riomaggiore (another trail leads to Portovenere to the south); you can also drive there from La Spezia but be prepared for lots of curves. Restaurants to check out:

Portovenere (Porto Venere)

Further down the coast from the Cinque Terre, right where the peninsula ends; has nice castle


One train stop north of Monterosso (the northernmost town in the Cinque Terre), you can also hike on "path number 1" to Monterosso from here (more in this NY Times article)

...there are also several towns north of Levanto in La Spezia province including Deiva Marina, listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, along with Framura

La Spezia

Relatively large town just south of the Cinque Terre; relatively inexpensive compared to the resort towns. Not as scenicly beautiful, but could be a cheaper "home base" for exploring the region?

South of La Spezia

This corner of Liguria, extending from La Spezia to the Tuscan coast, is perhaps the least touristy area. The Gulf of La Spezia is also known as Il Golfo dei Poeti (the Gulf of Poets) since British poets like Byron & Shelley spent time here

Imperia Province

Most of the following towns are an hour or less from the French border (near Menton).

Savona Province

The next province over from Imperia, also not far from France

Slow Food Liguria has a list of restaurants