The Liguria region of Italy
Levanto was once the old feudal stamping ground of the Malaspina, and the Da Passano families before coming under control of the Republic of Genova. The oldest part of town dates back to the X and XI centuries and is roughly where the beautiful Church of Sant'Andrea is located. The white and green facade is recognized as architecture of the highest order.
Sanremo is most famous these days for its Festival of Italian Songs. Once a year at the Ariston theater both new and not so new talent takes the stage to benefit from a huge national television audience. Some of the competition winners become huge stars, such as Domenico Modugno, while others are simply forgotten.
The regional border starts at the coast and is marked by a huge swathe of open land dominated by the Magra Valley where the river pours into the sea. Set against the stark backdrop of the marble mountains of the Apuane Alps its an impressive spot.
It was perhaps Pliny who wrote the first guide to Portofino. He described this stunning natural area and named it 'Portus Delphini'. This over time was corrupted to Portofino. Today, the sea around the coast of Portofino is a protected marine reserve dating from 1935.
A few years ago we were invited by Sanremo Promotion to see the city and wider province of Imperia in Liguria. As well as the wonderul old part of Sanremo called Pigna and a trip to Taggia to see the famous olive production, we were also taken to the Olive Oil Museum of Olio Carli in Imperia. Read a full report here.
We learnt recently from Urban Italy that Olio Carli has just opened an Emporio Carli in the city. The shop is selling a huge range of olive oils as well as typical food products such as sun-dried tomatoes, vegetables under oil and, of course pesto made with their olive oil.
Here’s the original documented pesto recipe dating back at least 150 years.
The Val di Vara covers more than 60% of the territory of the province of La Spezia and all of the inland area of the province as it heads towards the Tuscany border. The zone is just a 35 minute drive from the Cinque Terre and do consider combining both for a vacation.
The valley is full of medieval hamlets set in woods and openings in the hilly terrain. The old Via Aurelia passes through the valley and this must have been one of the busiest transit routes for trade and pilgrims for hundreds of years. Today, things are a little different.