Yachting in the Italian Riviera: Glamour with Gusto
Yachting in the Italian Riviera with picture-perfect harbours: patrons gaze out from waterfront cafes at newly arrived yachts in both curiosity and delight. No matter who you are, charter guests docked in their tiny ports are worthy of distinction.
The excitement grows each day in tandem with the warming sea and flowering mountains. There is every reason why this land has been the favourite escape of artists and poets, conquerors and kings. Embark on a yachting adventure along this storied coast and see for yourself.
The Riviera di Ponente, known as the coast of the setting sun, extends westward from Genoa to the French border. The Riviera di Levante or, the coast of the rising sun, runs east from Genoa to Capo Corvo, just south of La Spezia. Every port of call is unique. This overview will help you refine your itinerary of must-see destinations. A yachting holiday or yacht charter vacation in the Italian Riviera is unique and very different experience from its French counterpart.
Northern Italian food is also unique and very different from Southern Italy or France. Ligurian cuisine is natural, fresh and healthy.
Red tile roofs crown grand neo-classical buildings that sprawl upwards from the harbour to the foot of the Maritime Alps, which soar to a dramatic 1,300 meters.
Stroll along the romantic seaside promenade of this polished resort town with upscale shops, galleries, cafes and marvellous period architecture. Sports enthusiasts may take advantage of the pro golf course, horseback riding stables, or tennis courts.
Later, enjoy a performance by the Symphony Orchestra, Municipal Opera, or one several theatre groups, or join Lady Luck at the glittering casino. During the second week in August, take your chilled Prosecco on the sundeck to watch the spectacular Firework International Contest light up the sky.
This colourful seaport town dates from the 15th century and will fascinate art lovers and history buffs. Within the impressive medieval fortress are two sculpture museums and an archeological museum with an extensive collection.
A short walk brings you to the narrow streets off the historic core, lined with rare houses built of ancient stone. The most notable of these properties are linked to the youthful Christopher Columbus.
There are several exquisite Renaissance churches and the Pinatoca Civica Savona museum displays 14th and 15th century religious art. Picasso, who frequented San Remo, is represented with two paintings in the collection. Wander this neighbourhood to explore the fine art galleries, designer boutiques, artisan shops and enticing cafes lodged among elegant seaside homes.
Archeology Museum of Savona: www.euromuse.net
A thriving port for centuries, Genoa continues to be an important industrial centre. Exit the commercial port to see a city adorned with the churches, palaces and collections of magnificently wealthy Genovese bankers, merchants, and princes.
Wander the labyrinth of streets and squares that radiate from the medieval core. Gilded facades and luxury shops share walls with bakeries, shoemakers, and the homes of residents whose laundry flutters on lines overhead. An excursion to Genoa’s aquarium is a must for children.
The picturesque village of Camogli on Genoa’s outskirts is a delightful anchorage. Here many houses are painted with trope l’oeil and the carousel on the piazza amuses the children while parents relax at a sidewalk café for an aperitif and a bit of people watching.
From a dozy fishing village Portofino has blossomed into one of the most desirable and expensive addresses on the Riviera coast. Drop anchor in the enchanting harbor, shimmering with the pastel reflection of elegant hillside homes. Summers in Portofino are crowded with A-listers who adore the ambiance with good reason.
A promenade along the quay lets you find whatever you are seeking, from local wine to the latest in haute couture. Arrive at the Hotel Splendido’s terrace bar for sunset cocktails among the celebrities currently in town.
The walls of the hotel bar are decorated with black and white images of film stars and other persons of means and discernment who have been patrons.
Santa Margherita Ligure
This old seaside resort town with charming, palm-lined waterfront is quietly popular with the Italian aristocracy. Less glamorous and more subdued than neighbouring Portofino, a friendly, intimate ambience makes Santa Margherita a more authentically Italian experience.
The marina, which is always packed with yachts, is just a short tender ride from Portofino. Here the upscale waterfront shops and cafes form the social nexus between the town’s two seaside squares, Piazza Martiri della Liberta and Piazza Vittorio Veneto. For arts appreciation, a Crucifixion by Van Dyck in the church of San Michele is well worth viewing.
Cinque Terre is five separate, centuries old villages, astonishingly balanced on cliffs along a spectacular stretch of the Ligurian coast. The villages, connected by hiking trails and a scenic railway, are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park.
At Riomaggiore you can walk up the hill to the beautiful botanical gardens for Zen relaxation. At Manarola, the narrow, winding streets lead up to a cliff-side bar with panoramic views, ice cold white wine and bright green pesto on focaccia.
Corniglia is a peaceful farming community perched high on a cliff and criss-crossed by vineyards. Monterosso, the only town that allows cars, is the most popular with visitors.
Vernazza’s ancient castle and church lend a timeless feel to the attractive natural harbour, crowded with yachts throughout the summer months.
Cinque Terre National Park: www.parconazionale5terre.it
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