Since my parents have recently moved to Genoa — a capital of Liguria — I have been lucky to explore every nook and cranny of the historical port city and other Ligurian villages and towns. Genoa may be overwhelming for a lot of tourists with its incomparable architectural beauty, particularly with the most splendid and grand European palaces, the fountain located on Piazza De Ferrari in the very heart of the city and a number of notable historical churches built in Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance styles.
While true art and history buffs find the beauty of Genoa in its rich cultural heritage, my favourite part of the city is called Boccadasse — an old mariners' neighbourhood located five kilometres away from the city centre.
Walking along the streets of this small harbour where the warm-coloured houses are reflected in the water is a pure bliss. The seaside fish taverns with the view on fishing boats lined up on the small sandy beach beckon to stop for a meal. Fritto misto — a mixture of deep-fried seafood— and fior di latte ice cream, which literally tastes like sweetened condensed milk, are the main reasons why I keep returning to Boccadasse.
While in the summer Genoa gets busy and crowded with tourists, Camogli — located only 30 minutes away by train from Genoa — is a truly undiscovered gem of Liguria. This ever-charming fishing village is an escape from the busy city life as it offers a great variety of hiking routes with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean coastline. While I do not usually have enough time for a four-hour hike from Camogli to Portofino, I take a 30 minute hike to the pretty church of San Rocco. A walk through olive groves and ripe orange trees leave me with no choice rather than to rip an orange from the tree. At the end of the hike, the spectacular view of Camogli and even Genoa in the distance is my reward.
Santa Margherita Ligure is another beautiful — and unheard of — destination to escape from the city life. Undoubtedly, the walk from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino is one of my favorite walks in Italy! It starts along the waterfront of Santa Margherita Ligure towards the busy marina of luxury yachts. This is a path to true love. Each turn on its way reveals a new vista, whether villas, beaches or the sea. Approaching Portofino, there stands an incredibly beautiful villa surrounded by cypress, pine and olive trees. It turns out, the lucky owners of the place are Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
“I found my love in Portofino,” sings the Italian singer Andrea Bocelli, making this little village a promising place to find a significant other. As Portofino is a tiny town, no tips are needed on where to look for love when you get there. Simply order a cup of coffee in any café or restaurant in the main square of Portofino and take your place alongside politicians, film stars, professional sport players, European royalty — you name it.