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Trip Report Three nights in the Italian Riviera: hiking in Camogli with day trips

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In May 2017, I took a 17 day trip to Europe: flying into Venice, out of Paris, and stopping in Slovenia, Italy, and France in between. I took the train through Italy and France to Paris. I had been to many of these places before. I had a fairly loose itinerary with a basic plan I was following, with flexibility to change it up on the fly here and there. But I had certain places I was sure I would visit sooner or later.

I've divided my trip report into three parts: Part One: Slovenia + Trieste and Venice; Part Two: Italian Riviera (Camogli), and Part Three: France (Nice, Provence, Paris). This report covers the second part: the Italian Riviera, three nights in Camogli, with day trips. One can hardly cover the whole riviera in three short days, of course, but I had been to the Cinque Terre a few times before, so it wasn't my first time the area.

(To read about Slovenia, Trieste, Venice, see the trip report for Part 1: www.fodors.com/community/europe/return-to-slovenia-and-venice-plus-trieste.cfm )

I'm a photographer. My modus operandi on my solo trips to Europe is to walk around, explore, and take pictures – lots of pictures. I occasionally visit the odd museum that catches my fancy but not often. Some quick links to pictures from the places I visited:

Camogli: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG07922,470,1,0,0-camogli-italy.html
Hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08032,471,1,1,0-italy.html
Portofino: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08595,472,1,1,0-santa-margherita-ligure.html
Santa Margherita Ligure: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08681,472,1,0,0-santa-margherita-ligure.html
Sestri Levante: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08906,473,1,0,0-sestri-levante.html
Cinque Terre: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG09052,474,1,0,0-cinque-terre.html
Genoa: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG09519,475,1,0,0-genoa-italy.html

FYI, I used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 “bridge” camera for these pictures. This camera is relatively new to me; I have used a Canon DSLR for years. This time, I decided to leave my Canon gear at home. I did carry a small travel tripod, however.

Other “gear” included a small travel laptop and an unlocked Android Moto E phone with a Dutch Vodafone SIM I had bought while still in the US via eBay. This worked great to have mobile data pretty much everywhere, and I was able to make free phone calls home to the US, even to landlines, with Google Hangouts. I used the laptop to backup my pictures and review them as I traveled.

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    From Venice to Camogli

    Camogli Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG07922,470,1,0,0-camogli-italy.html

    After five nights in Slovenia, Trieste, and Venice, I headed across Italy by train for Camogli in the Italian Riviera.

    Because I hadn't fixed my travel dates until a day or two ahead of time, I had no trains booked by the time I got to Venice. Italy has a great train system, but the fast trains can be expensive if not booked in advance. By the time I knew which day I'd be traveling to Camogli, the prices for the fast Frecciarossa and InterCity trains were not cheap. However, I could still get to Camogli in a reasonable time using regional trains, which cost the same no matter when you book them. The difference in travel time wasn't much – 6:18 vs 5:21 – but the regional trains required tight connections in Verona and Milan and three changes instead of one. I understand that most people would just pay the last minute fare for the faster trains but decided to go for it anyway – I've run for trains a few times. Somehow it adds to the adventure. (And yes, I am frugal. I saved about 35 Euros over the last-minute fares of the fast trains.)

    As it turned out, I made the two six minute connections (in Verona and Milan) just fine – the train I was going to catch in Milan for Genoa was late anyway. It got even later after I got on, and for a while the train just stopped about an hour outside of Genoa, for a good half hour. The train arrived in Genoa about 45 minutes late, and I wound up getting to Camogli about an hour late. The regional trains weren't crowded on the day I traveled, and it was comfortable enough, other than being late.

    For my stay in Camogli I'd booked the Hotel Casmona, a modestly but comfortable place just above the beach, with a view of the beach and the sunset from my room! (Not a speciality room – I gather most if not all of the rooms have beach views.) The hotel was an easy walk from Camogli's little train station. I got a good last-minute price on the hotel using Hotels dot com . (Cheaper than the hotel's own rate or any other website I checked.) The price averaged about $80 USD per night (different rate each night).

    I planned to visit Camogli because I wanted to return to the Italian Riviera. I'd been to the Cinque Terre twice before and loved it but wanted to experience the riviera again without the crush of so many tourists (because the Cinque Terre is often mobbed with them). I hoped to day trip to a few towns by train – maybe even back to the Cinque Terre for a few hours - but the main item on my agenda was to hike from Camogli to San Fruttuoso, a secluded cove on the opposite side of the Portofino peninsula with a picturesque abbey. The only way to reach San Fruttuoso is by boat or by hiking. I wanted to hike in the region again without the Cinque Terre crowds.

    Camogli itself turned out to be a really nice, quiet town with few tourists in May (a few Americans here and there but not many). The restaurants were open at night but not mobbed. Focaccia bread is a local specialty and seemed to be everywhere, even at breakfast at the hotel.

    The first night, I arrived at the Hotel Casmona an hour or so before sunset; I did a quick exploration of town and came back in time to shoot a few sunset photos from my room. The main drag right above the beach, the pedestrian street Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, was right below my hotel (steps down), and the street has lots of beach front restaurants, bakeries, and shops. For this first night, I simply ordered a take-away pizza from one of the restaurants and ate it sitting right above the beach at dusk (and then I took some pictures).

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    Hiking from Camogli to San Fruttuoso

    Hike Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08032,471,1,1,0-italy.html

    On my first morning in Camogli, I ate a quick breakfast at the Casmona, did a quick morning walk (one of my favorite rituals while traveling), picked up some focaccia bread from a bakery as a snack for later, then headed out to do my hike to San Fruttuoso. The weather was sunny and beautiful but not too hot yet in May.

    To start, I walked up a long series of steps (maybe 20 minutes but going at a brisk pace) up to the little town of San Rocco. If you are in decent shape, this steep walk is not difficult if you pace yourself. I wouldn't call it a “hike.” There are apparently buses between Camogli and San Rocco as well (probably wouldn't have saved me time but would have avoided the steps up). There are some nice views down on Camogli from up there, so even if you don't want to hike, it might be worth going up there. It would also be a pretty place to view or photograph the sunset.

    I started the “real” hike from San Rocco. I had done some quick reading about the trail and didn't understand until I got to San Rocco that there are two different trails one can take to San Fruttuoso. Which one to take? I quickly figured out that the hike via Batterie (old shore defensive batteries) would offer more sea views but potentially be more difficult; the easier trail was more inland. Because my primary interest was photography, I of course opted for the Batterie trail. How hard could it be?

    As it turned out, the hike was very scary in places! Look at the pictures to see what I mean.

    I am in good shape but am not an experienced hiker – at least, not experienced with difficult hikes. As I continued on the trail, the views were fantastic (see my pictures), but the further I hiked, the more I started to see chains on the side of the trail to hold on to. At first, I didn't understand the need – there was enough trail for footing. It was dry this day – maybe after it rains one would hang onto the chains for safety? But as I continued, the footing on the trail got less and less solid and level, and I did find myself using the chains, even though it still didn't seem that dangerous. The trail would alternate between easy with good footing, followed by sketchy sections with the chains, with some rocky sections here and there.

    The further I hiked, the worse these sketchy areas become, until I reached a few areas where there was literally NO footing or what one would reasonably call a hiking trail! The only way to get across 15-20 feet of “trail” was to cling to those chains and sort of scale my way across the cliff – with a steep drop below me!

    To make it worse – and yes, this was STUPID in retrospect – there was no one else on the trail with me! (I know: NEVER hike alone!) It was the exact opposite of hiking in the Cinque Terre, where there are sometimes too many tourists crowding the trails. There were a few other hikers leaving San Rocco at the same time as I did, but because I kept stopping for pictures, they soon left me behind, and no new hikers seemed to be behind me. Eventually, I figured there was no one on the trail within about 20 minutes in ether direction. Maybe I should have turned back to San Rocco once I realized this – but I didn't want to give up now. (And how did I know this little section ahead of me wasn't the only bad part?)

    This picture shows probably the worst stretch I had to cross using the chains:

    www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08326,471,1,1,0-italy.html

    At some point there were signs telling me I was out of cell phone range and how far I was away from it. (Great!) I could see occasional boats below – if I fell or got hurt, should I wave to them? I started thinking about that – or how far behind me other hikers might be...

    In one hand, I was carrying a fabric shopping bag with water and some snacks plus my camera around my neck. When I would scale these dangerous sections of “trail,” I would put the camera in the bag and hang the bag around my neck, so I could have both hands securely on the chains as I worked my way across each section. Fortunately, even though it was scary, I am not really prone to panic nor am I afraid of heights. I just took my time and went very, very slowly. At one point, I wanted to go back a few steps and regroup, but it seemed too dangerous to try that. Eventually, I would go a little half step at a time and get to the other side. (My hands are sweaty as I type this imagining doing this, even months later!)

    There were maybe three or four bad sections like this of perhaps 20 feet each with only one that was super scary. A few more sections required me to sit down to climb down a rocky decline safely, but that wasn't so bad – at least I didn't fear falling over the cliff in these parts! The trail was actually fairly well marked with red dots; occasionally I would veer off because the trail forward wasn't completely obvious but eventually I would find my way back to the dots.

    Meanwhile, I passed some breathtaking scenery below me!

    About two hours after San Rocco, after crossing most of the peninsula, I got the feeling I had passed the worst of the dangerous parts, and I was back in cell phone range. When I got to a wooded area maybe a half hour from San Fruttuoso, I stopped for about 20 minutes and regrouped, ate some snacks, and finished the last of my water (wishing I'd filled up my bottle more back at San Rocco!). From here the rest of the hike was fairly easy and almost all downhill. Soon enough I saw the cove at San Fruttuoso peeking through the woods and was back in civilization. On the beach in front of the abbey there were a number of kids out for spring swimming. (Looked too cold to me, but I guess not for them!)

    I was hungry and thirsty by the time I arrived, a little tired but feeling like I'd just had a fun little adventure, even if it had been stupid to hike it alone! There was a restaurant where I might had had lunch but didn't feel like a sit-down meal at the moment.

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    On to Santa Margherita Ligure and Sestri Levante

    Portofino Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08595,472,1,1,0-santa-margherita-ligure.html
    Santa Margherita Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08681,472,1,0,0-santa-margherita-ligure.html
    Sestri Levante Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG08906,473,1,0,0-sestri-levante.html

    Although I could have gone inside the abbey, I really had not much interest in doing that – I was mostly looking for outside scenery and doing the hike. So I got the next boat on to Santa Margherita Ligure.

    The boat stopped at Portofino. I hadn't really planned to stop here, because of the town's reputation as a hangout for the rich. I wanted to get on to Santa Margherita Ligure, grab a late lunch, and chill, maybe come back to Portofino by bus or something. At least I got to see Portofino from the boat and take some pictures of it – pretty town, from there!

    Next we landed in Santa Margherita Ligure. It's sure a much bigger town than Camogli and more tourist-oriented – a much “flatter” town than the narrow stretch that is Camogli along the sea. Santa Margherita Ligure is relaxing place, though – I wouldn't have minded staying here, though because of the town's orientation you wouldn't be able to see the sun set into the ocean (which I liked to see).

    I found a grocery store and a bakery in Santa Margherita, bought a huge bottle of water and take-away pizza, and sat down for a bit on a bench in the center of town. Then I followed a Rick Steves walking tour of the town. I walked up the hill to one of the churches and took in the view down on the ocean. Pretty views, beautiful town!

    By now it was late afternoon. I didn't feel like heading back to Portofino. (At least I saw it from the boat, right?) I considered exploring Rapallo nearby, but instead I decided to head south by train for the little town of Sestri Levante, a bit further away. I'd read a bit about the town and wanted to check it out. It was pleasant, not amazing, but it has some charm, and I could imagine spending the night here as say a base for the Cinque Terre if the villages were too crowded or overpriced.

    Finally I headed back to Camogli.

    I normally don't eat many meals at sit-down restaurants when I travel solo, but there weren't a lot of easy casual dinner options in Camogli, at least that were open in May. So I ate dinner at one of the beach-side restaurants below my hotel. Now, consider that I'm not a foodie and a bit of a picky eater (will eat seafood occasionally). For my entrée, I chose Ravioli di Pesce, thinking (please don't laugh!) it was just fish ravioli or something, but it was mussels in the shells on top of ravioli! I had a tough time eating it, getting the meat out of the shells, though I admit the meat was tasty, and I ate pretty much everything. But it's probably not a meal I would order again.

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    Final day: quick day trip to Cinque Terre

    Cinque Terre Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG09052,474,1,0,0-cinque-terre.html

    Logistically, the final day makes little sense. I spent a lot of extra time on trains than needed, zipping up and down the riviera. However, I really love train travel, and one thing I love about the Italian Riviera is the terrific train service that hits most of the major and minor towns. The regional trains are affordable and frequent if not always on time. I had a working smart phone and used the Trenit app numerous times to check train schedules on the fly as well as real-time arrivals. Sometimes I purchased train tickets with the app. Sometimes I used the machines at the train stations – I have a chip and PIN credit card that worked in the Trenitalia ticket machines.

    But, I decided to start my last day with an early direct train from Camogli to Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre, which took just over and hour and got me to Riomaggiore about 9am. I first hiked between the five villages in 2007 and have had a big picture of Riomaggiore hanging on my wall at home for years. So I have some affection for the town and wanted to stop back to see it and the other towns for at least a few hours. I last visited the area in 2011, just weeks before catastrophic floods and a slide that closed the Via dell'Amore trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola. Sadly, the Via dell'Amore remains closed to hikers to this day.

    The first thing I noticed as I got off the train in Riomaggiore was that the giant, colorful Silvio Benedetto Mural "Unknown Heros of the Cinque Terre" that greets you at the station is falling apart. (It's made of wood.) How sad – I hope it can be refurbished!

    Otherwise, I just dwelled a little in town. I sat for a few minutes in the little main square that few tourists seem to visit, near a school where you can sometimes hear the kids practicing music or singing. Later, I stood in the same spot to photograph Riomaggiore as I had in 2007, up above the boat dock looking north, trying to get the same picture I'd shot ten years later. I was disappointed to see that a few of the prominent buildings had been freshly painted; their faded appearance in the original picture gave the town a kind of “lived-in charm” look. Now it looked brand new.

    If you want to see my Cinque Terre pictures from 2011 and 2007, when I actually hiked, see these:

    portlandbridges.com/00,5D0IMG81023,356,1,0,0-cinque-terre.html
    portlandbridges.com/00,5D0IMG28940,252,1,0,0-italy-cinque-terre.html

    One thing I hadn't done on past visits was to take a boat between the Cinque Terre towns, so I could see them from the water. I finally did that. I boarded a crowded ferry boat in Riomaggiore and sailed north for Vernazza. (You can buy tickets last minute right above where the ferry boards.) I got to see the slide that closed the Via dell'Amore trail (you can see it in my pictures, barely). And of course, it was lovely to see the villages (except Monterosso) from the water.

    By the time I got to Vernazza, I'd decided to end my brief visit to the Cinque Terre and move on. I didn't feel the need to hike the open trails again. Great to be back but I'd seen enough. I decided instead to head all the way back up to Genoa for the rest of the afternoon. This meant a train all the way back up past Camogli. (Remember – train travel is fun for me, so I didn't mind!) Leaving Vernazza, I grabbed some take-away pizza slices (which were really yummy!) to eat on the train.

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    Day trip to Genoa

    Genoa Pictures: www.portlandbridges.com/00,LM1K0IMG09519,475,1,0,0-genoa-italy.html

    I can't honestly say I was excited to visit Genoa. It's one of those places that's been “on my list” for a while, as I place I “should” visit, but I'd kept putting off a visit when I'd had the chance. Meanwhile, over the years, I've come to enjoy big cities less than I used to. Still...I was nearby. When was I going to have a better opportunity?

    I got off the train at Genova Piazza Principe, one of Genoa's the two main stations and the one closest to the waterfront and the old town. I had a list of things to see, parts of town to visit. I decided to start at the waterfront. This was probably a mistake; the walk from the train station down to the waterfront is kind of ugly and sprawling in parts, and it didn't give me a good first impression of Genoa. For example, there is a hulking highway overpass cutting the waterfront off from the rest of town going up the hill – somehow it makes the city seem a bit too unwelcome and sprawling.

    I strolled past the ships at the waterfront, including the old pirate ships. I passed the famous aquarium but declined to visit. Nor did I visit any museums. I just walked around and took pictures. Then I walked up to the old town and the San Lorenzo Cathedral (aka Genoa Cathedral), through some of the narrow old town streets, where the city seemed much more interesting and appealing than the waterfront below. I walked to some of the churches and the old town gate and around the Piazza De Ferrari fountain. Yeah, I can see why people might like Genoa: because of this part of town. I might have enjoyed taking pictures at night there, and I'll bet the old town is a vibrant area at night. But otherwise, I wouldn't have felt the need to spend much more time in Genoa – one night perhaps, unless I wanted to visit the aquarium or museums. I'm sure Genoa's fans would beg to differ.

    From a logistics standpoint, because I was heading through Genoa the next day anyway on the way to Nice, it would have made more sense to skip the last night in Camogli and just stop in Genoa on the way. Or, I might have taken an early train to Genoa the next morning as I was heading to Nice and stopped for a few hours, leaving my bags at the station. But I fell in love with Camogli, and I was happy to have spent the last night and morning there, so it was a good choice for me to do it this way.

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    Leaving Camogli and Final Thoughts

    For dinner my last night in Camogli, I tried another waterfront restaurant. This time I stuck to pasta without fish: a pesto ravioli (a local dish I think) that was really tasty.

    My final morning, I had a late morning train to Nice (via Genoa), so I had time for a nice long morning walk, one last time wandering around Camogli's oceanfront. I checked out of the Casmona and dragged my bags up toward the train station...and with plenty of time, I stopped at a bench with a view down the ocean and dwelled on that last view of Camogli as long as I could. You know you love a place when you take that long last look, trying to hold the picture in your mind forever, right? Even though I had pretty much seen enough of the area for now and was anxious to move on to France, I hated to leave. It's sure better to leave a place feeling that way instead of, “I can't wait to get out of here,” isn't it?

    I had expected Camogli might be the highlight of my whole trip, and it was. I survived my scary hike, and it was a memorable adventure. I love the feel of the Italian Riviera – there are certainly ritzy areas, but compared to the French Riviera, it feels much more modest and accessible overall, at least to me. I'm sure I'll come back, to explore other towns and do more hiking. I could imagine staying in another town nearby (like Santa Margherita Ligure) or coming back to Camogli.

    Most non-European tourists who visit the riviera focus on the Cinque Terre, which is lovely, certainly a favorite place of mine, but there are so many visitors now that it can be unpleasant. And it's hard to go wrong with other towns in the riviera like Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure. There are plenty of other hikes to do in the region besides between the popular Cinque Terre towns – and they aren't all as difficult as the one I did from Camogli to San Fruttuoso. (If I were to compare hikes, though, I'd say that the crowded trails, the Cinque Terre hikes were a tad more dazzling than my hike to San Fruttuoso.) As I said above, it's easy to get up and down in the Italian Riviera by train and see as much as you want to, and there are many beautiful areas. If you want a relaxing vacation with a variety of things to do, at your own pace, this area would be a great choice.

    Stay tuned for the final part of my trip report: from Nice to Paris by train!

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    Glad you enjoyed Camogli and its surrounds so much. A few added points of data:

    Focaccia is normally eaten for breakfast (often topped with onions) and also as a late afternoon snack.

    Taking a bus to San Rocco from Camogli takes longer than walking up the stairs.

    The defensive batteries in mountains above San Fruttuoso were constructed and used by Nazis (who also used Portofino has an ammunition depot).

    There are easier hikes from San Rocco to San Fruttuoso (and Portofino) than the one your took but all of them are difficult. People who want to easily see the area should use boats.

    I noticed in your photos of Camogli in May you visited either right before or after the Sagre di pesce. During that festival weekend, tens of thousands of people come into the town, which alters the experience entirely, to say the least. So people planning a trip in May who want to experience a peaceful fishing village need to plan around that.

    The old pirate ship in Genova was actually constructed from scratch in the 1970s for a movie, and the director (Roman Polanski) simply gave the ship to the town when production was completed, rather than destroy it.

    It's true that the area around the Principe station might be too dodgy an introduction to Genova for most people, but many people have a lot of affection for the port area. I tihnk it tends to be the case the one either likes Italian port cities or one doesn't. Trieste, Genova, Napoli and Palermo are among my favorite Italian cities.

    I have never seen ravioli di pesce served with mussels. Normally it is just what you expected: a typical square ravioli with a ground fish filling, sauced with a little oilive oil, garlic, parsley.

    If you return to the area you might enjoy a walk in Zoagli for its beautiful photo opporunities. Rapallo is lively and you can take a cable car into the mountains for some spectacular views.

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    A wonderful report, Andrew,and photos.
    I did half the walk Batterie-San Fruttuoso last month. Only half of it, because I decided to turn back midway. I had come by boat from Camogli, stopping at Punta Chiappa, so climbed all the way from there to Batterie, a pretty exhausting climb. Then from there so San Fruttuoso I saw somewhere a sign saying Sentiero Molto Impegnativo, which I unwisely decided to ignore. I was on my own but then a lovely British couple came along and we walked together. Still, it was too scary and for me as it went on and their presence wasn't helping since I was feeling the need to "perform". I'm in good shape and walk a lot but had not done something like THIS before. So it was getting to be like something I HAD to do and was not enjoying. I decided to walk back and did just that, this time climbing DOWN the endless stairs (there are chains there too) to Punta Chiappa. Got there, waited on the dock for the next boat to San Frottuoso, then once arrived, immediately jumped on the next boat to Rapallo.

    The boat trip was spectacular and made me forget the difficult hike I'd just done. In Portofino came on board maybe a 100 people, maybe more, who all got off at Santa Margherita. Probably to get back to the cruise ship.

    In Rapallo I walked around a bit (it was a perfect day), ate a fabulous Frappé at Frigidarium (thanks, Massimop, for recommending it) and splurged on a quick taxi to Chiavari (thanks again, Massimop), a lovely authentic town with lots of food shops, which I'll probably choose for my base in a future trip to the Riviera.

    I was staying in Genova for the week and was loving every minute of it. There's so much to explore and visit, I was walking aimlessly around in the old town or in the newer bits up above it, also walking in the woods outside the Righi Cable car. For me Genova is a place to go back to again and again.

    Andrew, there are lovely Riviera towns on the west coast as well, Like Varazze, Noli, Finale Ligure, Cervo, Bordighera. And some good hikes. One of them is the trail going up from the ancient village of Finalborgo, inland from Finale Ligure. Spectacular.

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    For anyone planning a trip to Genoa, daytrip or otherwise, the Brignole station is much closer to the old town and then on to the harbor, and much less dodgy than arriving at Principe.

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    Thanks, folks!

    Holly, Brignole is further from the water than Principe but slightly closer to the old town, at least according to Google Maps, which indicates a 17 minute walk from Principe to the aquarium (which was about right) or a 26 minute walk from Brignole. Could well be Brignole is less "dodgy" than Principe, but I didn't feel unsafe around Principe at all during the day.

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    Oi, my palms are sweaty just looking at that photo with the chains. I don't know if I should congratulate you on your fortitude or exclaim at your nuttiness at continuing that hike, but I suppose you made it out in one piece, so that is all that really counts.

    Sadly, the Via dell'Amore remains closed to hikers to this day.

    That's too bad, I remember it as being one of the easier and more accessible sections.

    We too loved SMLigure. And we met a young woman from Genoa who urged us to visit, but alas, we had no time.

    Great photos and account, thanks.

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    The Brignole station is about a 12-15 minute walk to Piazza de Ferrari on the edge of the old town, and then on to the harbor. That's all I was trying to point out, Andrew. Principe is technically closer to the water, but it's an area of the harbor where few tourists would want to go to because everything they'd want to see is farther south/east than that.

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    Andrew,

    Great TR! Thanks for the details and photos. Very timely since I was just roughing out my next Italy itinerary and the Ligurian Coast is on the list for a re-visit. Camogli wasn't what I pictured. the harbor area didn't look very great to me. You said you fell in love with the town. Why exactly? I'm thinking either Rapallo or a repeat stay in SML which I really liked.

    Thanks for your input!

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    Dayle, I guess I found Camogli peaceful and quaint. While it is clearly a vacation town not as much of a "working town," it also wasn't overrun with tourists like, say, Vernazza. Plus, I loved being able to see the sun set into the ocean (something you can't see from SML, right?).

    Sadly, I didn't get a chance to stop in Rapallo to compare. I think it is bigger than Camogli and not as much a "vacation town." I'm sure others who have visited both can weigh in.

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    Andrew, a terrific report! And fantastic photos. Felt like I was vicariously on the trail!!! Quite a story to tell after that harrowing experience. We really liked the Ligurian Coast. Just this fall, we returned for a second visit, enjoying the beauty from the water, as you describe. Loved reading your TR. Thanks!

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    Hi Andrew, nice report, sounds like you had a good time.

    I had the same feelings about Genoa that you did originally. In fact, my last trip to the region (based in Rapallo for 5 nights) I never got around to going to Genoa, even though it was on my 'list' because it just didn't call to me (and there was so much else that did). But then last March I was in Milan for several days so did a day trip to Genoa and loved it. Definitely planning to go back and spend at least a night. I agree it might be very interesting at night, plus there are several areas I didn't get to. Did you take the funicular or elevator to one of the miradors? Great views and interesting neighborhoods.

    Next time you are in the area try to visit Rapallo and Portovenere (that one is very photogenic). Also if you get back to Portofino, the hike (more of a walk) up to the castle has magnificent views, was really the only part of Portofino I felt was worth my time. You are right about it being a playground for the rich, but the view of the town from the castle is one of my favorites (http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p946045812)

    Looking forward to the France report

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    Thanks, folks! I really love the Italian Riviera - it's a place I'm sure I'll get back to if I can.

    Still working on the France portion and pictures. Unfortunately, it won't be as interesting as this part in Italy...

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    Andrew, sorry for the delay responding. I do appreciate your input. I love detailed TRs because it really helps my planning to hear others' impressions.

    That hike did look intense. I'm glad you made it safely!

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