The Riviera delle Palme
This itinerary takes you southwest to explore the Riviera delle Palme (Palm Riviera), a long coastline measuring over 100 kilometers, extending west from Genoa out to Alassio. For several decades, this tract of coastline has been a tourist center for sunbathing and swimming; the consistently mild climate makes it enjoyable to visit this area even out of season, thereby avoiding the summer crowds.
How to get there: all the cities along the Riviera are easily reachable by train from Genoa, or by car by way of Highway A10 Genova-Ventimiglia. However, the best way to get there is by taking the SP 1 coastal road, where you can enjoy the tranquil panorama of the coastline.
This itinerary requires at least two days. There are a great number of hotels on the Riviera delle Palme, from 4-star hotels to family-owned pensions, but if you want something different, there is also an excellent selection of bed and breakfasts on the Riviera delle Palme. For those who wish to stay a bit longer, one excellent idea is to rent an apartment in one of the residences of Riviera delle Palme.
This is a fashionable sunbathing and swimming spot, but it is also famous for its traditional production of polychrome ceramics. Take a walk along the Lungomare degli Artisti, paved with a ceramic-tile mosaic, then take a peek at the artisanal shops scattered among the alleyways of the old town, Albissola Superiore. You can also visit the Villa Gavotti, a sumptuous noble residence surrounded by a beautiful garden.
This little place is set within one of the most beautiful sections of the Riviera delle Palme. Year after year, Bergeggi has earned the European Blue Flag award for the quality of its beaches.
Between Bergeggi and Spotorno extends the Bergeggi natural reserve: the cliffs open up to lovely little beaches, surrounded by Mediterranean scrub.
A marine town of ancient origins, Noli contains a marvelous historic city center, surrounded by walls and dominated by castle ruins. A walk through the town is a delight for the eyes: alleyways, arcades, lively little piazzas, medieval houses and the famous tower houses. At one time there were 82 tower houses; today only 8 remain.
This picturesque town faces onto the Baia dei Saraceni (Saracen Bay). Immediately eye-catching are its red, yellow, and ochre colored-houses along the beach. Its alleyways inspired the stories of Hemingway and Cesare Pavese. Here the sea is one of the most beautiful along the Riviera.
This city was formed from the union of three towns: Pia, Maria, and Borgo. Final Marina is a popular sunbathing and swimming area with a lovely 18th century historic center. Final Borgo, which is located closer inland, has preserved intact the look of the medieval town. Entering the walls of the city opens up a world of palazzos and antique churches; be sure to visit the beautiful Chiesa di San Biagio and the former convent of Saint Caterina, today a city museum.
Pietra Ligure has one of the most lovely paths to the sea in the Liguria, as well as modern bathing establishments. Behind the beach, Pietra hides an ancient city center with a medieval section -- Borgo Vecchio -- and a renaissance section -- Borgo Nuovo, with an airy and elegant look. Along the seashore are the antique naval shipyards, still in use today.
Not far from here, rising into the valley from Borghetto S. Spirito, is Tirano, where you can find the complex of the Grotte di Toirano. These are considered to be among the ten most beautiful grottos in Italy.
The "city of towers" is the most important historic city center in the entire Riviera di Ponente. In its historic center, where you can see the characteristic plan of the Roman castrum, there are numerous monuments of the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The Piazza San Michele is a fabulous concentration of civil and religious architecture. Don't forget to visit the Romanesque Cathedral and the Paleo-Christian baptistry.
Albenga also offers several interesting museums: located in the Palazzo Peloso-Cepolla is the Roman Ship Museum where you can find the remains of the biggest Roman ship ever uncovered (60 meters in length).
The itinerary concludes shortly after Alassio with a little secret: Laigueglia. This is an ancient marine town surrounded by an amphitheatre of lovely hills sloping toward the sea. This is one of the most poetic places on the Riviera della Palme for its location and design. At the end of June, Laigueglia hosts and important jazz and percussion festival: Laigueglia Jazz & PercFest.