This is the story of a special piece of Italy, chosen over time by poets and artists for the beauty of the scenarios that depict it.
A place to pull the plug and open a window of a colorful building that together with the others forms backs of books lying on a cliff where emerald waves break.
I will tell you about the Gulf of Poets and its most authentic pearls of a Liguria to be discovered through the SIS.T.IN.A Project (SYSTEM FOR INNOVATIVE TOURISM IN THE HIGH MEDITERRANEAN).
I had the great honor of being invited by the Riviere di Liguria Chamber of Commerce to present you this project that relates the tourism of the high Mediterranean by creating a tourist network that shortens distances and makes it possible for visitors to follow paths and itineraries aimed at sustainability of the territory .
A cross-border network that facilitates interaction between Liguria, Corsica, Sardinia, the Tuscan coast and PACA (Maritime Alps, Var)
Many local partners have joined the project to create tailor-made experiences for the tourist.
I was lucky to discover and take you with me to discover a special Ligurian territory that goes from the hinterland to the wonderful 5 Terre.
An idea for a romantic weekend in which to switch off and catapult into a dimension of surreal beauty, between sea, nature, gastronomy and culture.
How to arrive
I wanted to go back to the Cinque Terre area for a long, long time. It had been the destination of a school trip of which I have foggy memories. It is true that some aspects of life are appreciated with age.
I had the mistaken belief that it was almost impossible to reach this area easily from Rome.
I changed my mind a lot. With a Frecciabianca train it is possible to reach La Spezia directly. From here the distances are short to reach all the most incredible places and the best solution is to rely on your hotel or a taxi to move by car (about 15 minutes) to Portovenere (in our case).
Portovenere and the sailing tour of the 5 Terre
Portovenere, our first stop, is not part of the 5 Terre but is its sentinel. Perhaps this has allowed her to maintain a very authentic and truly unique atmosphere.
It was love at first sight and then I fell madly in love with it.
A small handful of colorful houses (each color identified a family) close to a small port crowded with yachts and small fishing boats.
At night the seagulls rocked our dreams and in the morning the fishermen gave us a good morning.
A seaside village of such little-built beauty: effortless chic, elegant without effort.
We arrive in Portovenere just in time to enjoy the warm golden rays of an early summer evening.
A walk to the Church of San Pietro and then down to graze the sea from Grotta Byron is a must.
The water is crystal clear and the reason why so many poets reached this place in search of inspiration, a poignant beauty.
Other addresses to remember?
- Grand Hotel Portovenere
The center is really small and human-sized, you can admire it easily and pleasantly on foot.
If you are looking for a super romantic location to admire the sunset hand in hand with an incredible view this is the right address.
Don’t forget to toast with a glass of Sciacchetrà, the passito DOC of these lands.
- Colonna 24 – luxury rental room
Imagine a narrow street that smells of fresh laundry with one of the famous cats of Portovenere to act as a guardian and an old gentleman who walks slowly and peeks at you curiously.
Emanuele, the perfect host of Colonna 24 (HERE), asked us if we are lovers of cats.
I don’t think I need to tell you my answer and so the suggestion was to leave the window ajar. At night they go on to doze near the willing guests 🙂
Unfortunately in the morning I did not find new 4-legged friends but a fantastic breakfast based on local focaccia, ginger extract and many other local delicacies.
- Velamica Charter – a sailing boat tour to discover the 5 Terre
This is not a real address but an incredible experience to live (you can find it HERE).
I had dreamed of sailing for a long time. Often it was proposed to me but I always had other commitments.
The sea is my element and being able to experience it up close with such an involving experience leaves its mark.
The sea waves weren’t kind to me, but they still whispered beautiful stories made of colorful houses and vineyards overlooking the sea.
The SISTINA project also includes a weekly sailing tour of the Ligurian Riviera, of which I was able to experience a little bit (our boat was equipped with 3 bedrooms with private bathrooms and kitchen / living room).
I discovered the 5 Terre, sailing from Portovenere, with a completely new perspective. Admiring them from a splendid sailing boat is truly a dream experience.
Lunch on board looking at Palmaria Island and then heading to Lerici.
After a busy day on the boat, Lerici welcomes us with its bright colors and children playing in the sea with the castle behind them.
We have little time to reserve them, but it’s just a goodbye.
I remain with the enormous curiosity to visit Tellaro, a fraction of Lerici so highly praised by poets and artists over time.
Our second and last night in Liguria is in this super authentic medieval village 10 minutes from Lerici and 5 from the sea.
In a small square in the center, our B&B (Boccanegra) is hidden inside a marvelous noble palace.
I immediately perceive that this is a town where the quality of life is the one everyone dreams of.
Elderly gentlemen play chess in the square while the lights of the rooms are lit all around, where they can sip a glass of wine in the company of friends.
And the most incredible is right where our last dinner awaits us: Loggiato Gemmi.
A beautiful 16th century building that houses this institution in the city: restaurant, patisserie, bar and above all incredible location of the past.
I could not have wished for a better memory to say goodbye to this experience: stuffed muscles (a typical local dish consisting of delicious stuffed mussels) by candlelight. Really 10 and praise for food, atmosphere and location!
The following morning there is a beautiful sun to accompany the last walk in Sarzana before our return from La Spezia.
Lose yourself among the wonderful and super colorful alleys to find yourself in front of the house where Napoleon lived for a period and set at 100% in an atmosphere where time passes slowly and the scent of freshly baked croissants arrives from Loggiato Gemmi.
It is time for the last greetings and to thank those who believed in me to tell about their lands. I always say that people make places.
A special thanks to the Riviere Chamber of Commerce of Liguria that invited me to tell you about authentic and extremely wonderful pearls of our Italy as leader of the SISTINA Project (more info HERE) that breaks down barriers and makes tourism a unique language that everyone can speak and enjoy.
I know this is just a goodbye. My dear Liguria, I’ll be back soon!
A special thanks to Gianluca Giannecchini, the perfect “landlord” who was able to lead us with extreme wisdom through the magic of these spectacular places, managing to show us the most authentic and spectacular sides.