Ligurian Coast

Old Oct 8th, 2017, 09:17 PM
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Ligurian Coast

In early June 2018, my husband and I will be leaving Provence and driving to Nice where we'll have lunch and then get on a train to Genoa where we'll spend a day or two before going to Cinque Terre. Instead of zipping through the coast en route to Genoa, I know there are beautiful and interesting places to explore along the way. We'd like to make a few stops, even if it's for a few hours or overnight. Any suggestions for where to visit or stay over? Thanks for advice, suggestions...
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 09:53 PM
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Alternately, consider a stop between Genoa and the Cinque Terre, e.g. in Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure, both really nice towns. Camogli might be a less touristy contrast to the tourist mobs you're going to find in June in the Cinque Terre villages. (Camogli gets Italian tourists though.)
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 11:36 PM
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Apart from the Genova train stations, I'm unaware of any that have luggage storage and I don't think you can count on finding a cafe that will hold your luggage for you. So you'll probably need to spend the night.

The towns that tourists know about -- Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Camogli -- are beautiful and have varied charms -- but so do the towns that they don't know about -- Bogliasco, Chiavari, Zoagli, Moneglia -- including the fact these towns don't get many non-Italians visiting .

If you like to swim, would recommend Sestri Levante. If you like food and atmospere, Chiavari. Food alone? Recco/ Hike or water sports? Camogli. Serenity? Moneglia or Bonassola. Italian people (and pet) watching + gelato? Rapallo. Your own private paradise? Framura. Art? Nervi. History? Lavagna.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 11:54 PM
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Not trying to sell you on Lavagna, because it has the least direct seafront of all the towns I've mentioned and there may not even be a hotel in town, but this article could have been written, with various small changes, about almost every single coastal town you've never heard of along the Italian Riviera from France to Tuscany.

https://hubpages.com/travel/A-Rough-...-do-in-Lavagne
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 02:42 AM
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Massimop,

Thank you for the information regarding Lavagne.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 03:30 AM
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It's an exceptionally sleepy town with good food but much of it's beachfront is consumed by ship repair docks, which has largely kept it off the tourist map.

I don't like crowds and festivals, but Lavagna's appears a lot of fun (Aug 14 only)

http://www.tortadeifieschi.it/113__F...e_English_text

and it has one of my favorite church stoops in Italy

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2884/...ceabf9db_b.jpg
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 04:31 AM
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Since you’re already heading to Nice why not spend some time in that lovely town?
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 06:32 AM
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This article was in yesterday's New York Times Travel section. We have spent time in both sections of beautiful Liguria.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/09/2...anean.amp.html
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 07:49 AM
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Interesting report in the NYT but disappointed that for the writer the "best" meal of his trip was one that was food tweaked for affluent tourists with a preference for trendy fusion plates sing imported ingredients to achieve popular modern flavors rather than the extremely simple local fare that relies totally on season local harvesting from the earth earth & sea -- which I find exquisite and hope will draw others to the region. There are no water buffalos in the Ligurian hills, so when someone raves about their lunch of buffalo mozzarella and asks rhetorically "How fresh is it?" one hopes eventually someone will tell him that if it really was buffalo mozzarella (and it probably wasn't) then it was trucked in or flown in from elsewhere -- so you might want to do your own research to find knowledgeable guides to this area that I consider a food paradise.

Still, Ranzo and all the other towns mentioned in the article are highly enjoyable & special places to go that I hope never change.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 07:55 AM
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 09:05 AM
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Thanks everyone - I did see the NY Times article on Liguria Finale and it inspired me to do some further research. I was really looking for advice on stopping in these coastal towns west of Genoa. Massimop raises an important point that I overlooked - unless we drive this route, there's no place to drop our luggage for a few hours). Has anyone driven along this route? I will definitely check out the towns in Cinque Terre that you mentioned Massimop.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 09:18 AM
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The article on Lavagna was interesting, and I liked the author's willingness to acknowledge the warts as well as the beauties of the town. I was amused by his mention, over and over, of the town's "Basilico". Basilico is what you put on your insalata caprese.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 09:40 AM
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If you are driving from Nice to le Cinque Terre on a nice weekend in June you will have almost as much trouble parking your car as you do parking your luggage. During the weekdays you can only hope that you don't pick the town market day (although the markets close up at 1pm, so if you are arriving after that, things ease up a little).

As for the actual driving, I have read ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL PANICKED REPORTS on Fodor's from people who screamed in friigut at the many tunnels ("I had to keep taking my sunglasses on and off!!!! There were TRUCKS whizzing past me!!!") or people who missed a turnoff around Genoa and now tell people NEVER drive NEAR there -- but, ummmm, a lot of people don't have any trouble with the highway at all. Although it sounds like fun to skip the paid highway (autostrada) and take the old littoral coastal road instead, you end up dealing with a lot of stop signs, stop lights, slow moving traffic -- and you really should use the autostrade to get around Genova.

If you rent a car in France you face the problem of paying a drop off fee which might be more than you want to pay. Renting it in Italy (Ventimigla) sparies you the drop off fee, but eats up time as you need to take a train there, get off, find the rental office, etc. Also, you really don't want or need a car in le Cinque Terre, so you either need to drop it off in Rapallo and then get on the train to le Cinque Terre, or you need to overshoot le Cinque Terre to La Spezia and go back by train to a le Cinque Terre village.

I guess if it were me I would do one of these things:

Spend the night en route

Take a day trip from Nice across the border

Pick a Riviera town to visit near Genova, put luggage in Genova station, visit town, go back get luggage, carry on

Pick a town on the Riviera for a stop, contact a local hotel to see if can leave your luggage, including offering to pay the hotel a nice fee for keeping your luggage for some hours.

Go to le Cinque Terre and take a day trip to Zoagli for a walk, then go to Rapallo for lunch and ice cream, and then to Chiavari for cocktails.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 09:45 AM
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In Liguria, "basilico" is the main ingredient of Genovese pesto, and it's easy to get pesto on the brain. There really is no insalata caprese in Liguria except in tourist restaurants. The locals eat cow's milk stracchino if they want cheese, But generally they don't eat tomatoes, not even in salads. They don't grow well in Liguria and are only used occasionally in a fish stew or such.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 07:11 PM
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You are right, Massimop- we would never want to drive in Italy, much less in CQ, so our plan was to drop the car in Nice and hop on the train; or, alternatively, pick up a car in ventimiliga and drive to Genoa if it means we can stop in a few towns a long the way. It is sounding more and more like that's not a desirable option.
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Old Oct 10th, 2017, 12:11 AM
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I don't mean to discourage you from driving in Italy. Driving from Nice and stopping along the way can be fun, but not in one day.

I don't know how long you are going to be in Genova or le Cinque Terre, but if you want to see other parts of the Riviera, you can take trains and go have lunch and do a bit of sightseeing in other places. If you are not doing a lot of hiking in le Cinque Terre, it can be nice to escape the midday crowds by taking a train to another town for lunch & swim or vice versa, and then come back when the crowds are vacating. In June the sun sets very late, so you have lots of time to play with.
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Old Oct 26th, 2017, 08:11 PM
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Massimop- thanks again for the good advice. We plan to rely upon the trains as much as possible. They offer a lot of flexibility.
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