Provinces of Liguria

Guide to Property in Liguria

Liguria is a region of contrasts and the properties on sale reflect this. There is a mix of beautiful Italian villas with sea views, charming rustic farmhouses and stunning seaside apartments, but expect to pay more the closer to the Italian Riviera you go. Liguria real estate is popular with second home buyers; it's easy to get to, with airports in Genova and Nice, and you can earn attractive rental income from your Italian property from short term lets.  

The five colourful fishing villages of the Cinque Terre, as well as stylish Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure, are on the eastern coast or Riviera di Levante. The western coast, the Riviera di Ponente, is home to Sanremo, a vintage resort with a turn-of-the-century casino, an international jazz festival and a flower-filled promenade.

Liguria is enviably blessed in its location, climate and geography. In addition to being one of the most visited regions in Italy, the temperate climate has made it a very popular spot for second-home-owners. Liguria is a cosmopolitan place, elegant yet relaxed and enjoys an excellent transport infrastructure with airports in Nice and Genova. An unspoilt landscape and attractive rental income are just two good reasons to consider buying property in Liguria but read on and you'll find many more.

Liguria borders France to the west, Piedmont to the north, and Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany to the east. The region is a narrow strip of land, enclosed between the sea and the Alps, a crescent shaped region from Ventimiglia in the west to La Spezia in the east; it is also one of the smallest regions in Italy.

Drive along the French Riviera, through Monte Carlo and into Italy and you will arrive in Liguria.  From the 18th century it has been a popular destination, known as the Italian Riviera dei Fiori (The Riviera of Flowers). It is famed for its 300 km of coastline, beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, local colourful outdoor markets and wonderful food.

The Mediterranean coastline, enormously important feature of the region, has characteristic rocky coasts interrupted by small coves, and beaches of fine golden sand. 

Featured Properties

Overview of Liguria

Portofino Liguria

Western Liguria

This corner of Liguria has all the advantages of being close to the French border. There are abundant sandy beaches overlooked by attractive 19th century architecture. The climate is exceptionally gentle, with flower-growing being a big local business, and flowers blooming even in February. Ventimiglia, Finale Ligure, Bordighera and Ospedaletti are venerable old resorts in this area, but the best known town is probably Sanremo – with its labyrinthine old lanes, casino, daily flower market and designer shopping bargains. Set on a large sheltered bay backed by an amphitheatre of hills, property prices in Sanremo are high but bargains can be picked up in the hilly hinterland dotted with picturesque villages.

Imperia to Genova

This stretch of Liguria’s coast is not as well known but has a string of family-oriented resorts on sandy beaches. Inland, the terrain of Liguria’s central western area quickly climbs to leafy heights, cut through with winding mountain roads and sprinkled with charming little hill towns and villages. As everywhere in the region, property prices drop as you move away from the coast.

East of Genova

The coastline is much steeper and rockier than in the west. Tiny cliff-bound coves sit at the feet of leafy slopes dotted with colourful villas. Visitors come in their hundreds of thousands to wander secluded inlets and steep footpaths, admiring the vivid blue and turquoise sea, the tall cliffs sprouting evergreens, the fruit-coloured houses and the white luxury yachts.

Portofino is a fishing village on the Italian Riviera coast. Pastel-colored houses, high-end boutiques and seafood restaurants fringe its Piazzetta, a small cobbled square overlooking the harbor, which is lined with super-yachts. A path leads from the Piazzetta to Castello Brown, a 16th-century fortress and museum with art exhibitions and panoramic views of the town and the Ligurian Sea.

La Spezia and the Cinque Terre

La Spezia is a pleasant enough place but its stunning neighbours are what draw the attention down to this part of Liguria. People come primarily for the Cinque Terre – five cliff-bound villages formerly accessible only by boat, where terraces have been carved into the near-vertical landscape to hold brightly-painted homes and endless grapevines. These five, much-sought-after locations offer superb rental returns.

Elsewhere in Liguria’s extreme east are beautiful Portovénere with its pink and yellow tower-houses staring serenely over the water, and swish Lérici with its castle, beaches and marina. Both towns are almost as popular as the Cinque Terre.

National Parks & Nature Reserves

The Cinque Terre National Park

This UNESCO world heritage site in the province of La Spezia covers all five Cinque Terre villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. There is a host of walking trails that link one village to the next. The route from Riomaggiore to Manarola is known as "Lover's Lane" (Via dell'Amore) due to the particularly scenic nature of the coastline. The park also offers cycling and horse riding opportunities.

The Marine Protected Area of Portofino

The Marine Protected Area (Area Marina Protetta di Portofino) is an ecologically protected area which includes the municipalities of Camogli, Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure. The area is particularly good for sport fishing, diving, yachting and swimming, although there are strong sea currents in this area. There is a very rich and diverse fauna along this coast.

Riserva Naturale Regionale di Rio Torsero

This regional nature reserve close to Ceriale is famous amongst palaeontologists for the abundance and variety of its fossils. The reserve is home to a museum where these finds can be examined. Trails in the park include the 10 Km Ceriale to Poggio Grande route, taking in areas of natural beauty that are equally interesting from a historic point of view.

Art and Culture of Liguria

Liguria possesses a number of Unesco World Heritage Sites.

Genova combines the ancient with the modern, its culture, places, food and buildings tell the story of the old Maritime Republic. You can still breathe its ancient atmosphere walking among the carruggi, the narrow alleys of the old town of Genoa. Here we can find the Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli, an extraordinary architectural work of the 16th Century built to host politicians and aristocrats. The aristocratic dwellings that would host State visits were chosen by draw from the rolli, or public registers.

Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria, with its precious paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck and Bernardo Strozzi; Palazzo Lercari Parodi;

Palazzo Campanella and Palazzo Podestà are the beautiful palaces of the Renaissance that you can admire while visiting this unique place.

The Aquarium in Genova is one of the most technologically-advanced marine life centers in Europe. The Aquarium houses an entire marine world, in enormous and varied pools behind large windows: dolphins, seals, sharks and colourful tropical fish.

Cinque Terre, in addition to Porto Venere and the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto are another UNESCO Site in Liguria.

 

Towns in Liguria

Genova Liguria

Cinque Terre – five cliff-bound villages formerly accessible only by boat, where terraces have been carved into the near-vertical landscape to hold brightly-painted homes and endless grapevines. The five towns of the Cinque Terre: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

Genova is still Italy’s largest port and has thrived on seaborne trade for 1,500 years. It’s a very lively l city with 600,000 inhabitants. Its eclectic architecture jumbles up and down steep hillsides – glossy boutiques, Art Nouveau villas, Renaissance palaces and Medieval tenements.

Portofino is especially desirable, with some astronomical property costs.

Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo are larger and slightly less exclusive places to consider

Chiávari and Lavagna each have a good stretch of beach

Sestri Levante has two, and a stunning central boulevard. Inland from here, green slopes and villages abound. An especially charming spot is Varese Ligure, a medieval market town with arcaded streets.

Sports and Leisure in Liguria

Portovenere

The Coast

Over three hundred kilometers of the Ligurian coast present a wide range of ports and docks equipped for recreational sailing, windsurfing and water skiing.

Diano Marina has fine golden sand. Riva Ligure black sandy beach. Sanremo has fine sand and its crescent shape that allows you to enjoy a unique view from the promontory to the cypresses of Bussana Aregai.  Balzi Rossi is a few miles from Ventimiglia and is known for its pebble beach The sea is blue and turquoise and very popular with divers and is within an archaeological area.

La Spezia's August sailing regatta sees all the local fishing boats battle it out in the lovely Gulf of Poets. Imperia's tall ships regatta takes place every other year in September. In July, Rapallo stages a three-day firework festival in honour of the Madonnna.

Golf

Liguria is well equipped for golf enthusiasts of all levels, with a total of five courses across the four provinces. One of the best courses being the Sanremo course, there are other courses located in Lerici, Rapallo and Garlenda.

Cycling

The Sanremo cycling rally was formerly a mixed surface event (tarmac and gravel), the rally is now an all-tarmac event and takes place around the mountains. Sanremo is the finish of the classic Milan-Sanremo cycle race (294 km), one of the five 'Monuments' of the cycling season. The Milan-San Remo is a classic cycling race while the 'Classic' San Remo Rally races through the Ligurian and Tuscan Alps in May.

Experienced mountain bikers may wish to ride along the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, although it must be remembered that these routes are primarily designed for walkers so paths are not ideally suited to mountain bikers. Bike riders are asked to limit their speed and never to leave the marked trails.

Liguria’s Cycle Path

A spectacular new cycle - pedestrian path now hugs the picturesque Ligurian coast between Tuscany and the French Riviera. It is the perfect way to explore the quaint fishing villages and glamorous town of Sanremo. The first 24kms from Ospedaletti via San Remo to San Lorenzo al Mare, offers an exhilarating Riviera break for cycling fans, families or walkers.

74km of cycle paths provide magnificent coastal views as well as to food trails in the hills. The current path already provides access to 5kms of previously unreachable beaches and a vast Marine Park, which acts as a whale sanctuary.

Skiing

The closest skiing is in Limone in Piemonte at an altitude of approximately 2,050 metres. Although you can enjoy skiing in both the French and Italian alps which are slightly further. Limone has:

• 29 Lifts - highest lift: 2,050m (6,725ft), lowest lift: 1,032m (3,386ft)

• 46 Slopes cater for beginner, intermediate and expert

• Total piste length: 90 Km

• Cross-country: 9 Km piste

• Ice rink and paragliding, snowboarding

The Sanremo Music Festival

The Ariston Theater hosts the celebrated annual Sanremo Music Festival, a very popular song contest held in the city since 1951. This festival inspired the Eurovision Song Contest, which started in 1956, and for years the Sanremo festival selected the Italian entry. The internationally notable song "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu", also known as "Volare", was performed at this festival for the first time by Domenico Modugno in 1958. The festival is so popular amongst Italians that it is often referred to simply as "Il Festival" (The Festival).

Other Events

Other events include the Tenco Prize (autumn), a song contest for authors dedicated to the memory of Luigi Tenco; the Flowers Parade in January/February in which every city of the Italian Riviera presents an original composition of flowers displayed on a Carnival/Mardi-Gras style moving car; and the summer Firework International Contest in the second week of July.

Food and Wines of Liguria

Ventimiglia Market Liguria

Liguria is famed for being the home of pesto, the delicious basil, pine nut, oil and garlic paste that flavours so many Italian dishes. With so much coastline it’s unsurprising that fresh fish and seafood form the central ingredients of the ‘cucina profumata’ (fragrant food) that typifies this Italian region.

Among the specialities you will find are spaghetti alle vongole, sea bass and sea bream and wonderful grilled sword fish. Chickpea flatbread (farinata) and focaccia bread are also served. Extra virgin olive oil from the region is regarded by many to be the finest in Italy.

While the majority of wines produced in Piedmont and Tuscany are full-bodied red, Liguria specializes and excels in delicate white wines: Vermentino , Sciacchetrà and Pigato are some fine examples that complement the delicate and zesty local cuisine which features a variety of seafood, mushrooms, aromatic herbs, walnuts, pastas and baked dishes.

History of Liguria

Traces of Neanderthal Man were discovered in the settlements of the Ligurians (Ligures), which date back to the first millennium B.C.

During the first Punic War the ancient Ligurians were divided, some of them siding with Carthage and a minority with Rome, whose allies included the future Genoese. After the Roman conquest of the region, Liguria, was created in the reign of Emperor Augustus. The great Roman roads (Aurelia and Julia Augusta on the coast, Postumia and Aemilia Scauri towards the inland) helped strengthen the territorial unity and increase exchanges and trade. Important towns developed on the coast, of which evidences are left in the ruins of Albenga, Ventimiglia and Luni.

Between the 4th and the 10th centuries Liguria was dominated by the Byzantines, the Lombards and the Franks and it was invaded by the Saracens In the 11th and 12th centuries the main Ligurian towns, especially on the coast, became city-states, over which Genoa soon became dominant.

Between the 11th century (when the Genoese ships played a major role in the first crusade, carrying knights and troops to the Middle-East for a fee) and the 15th century the Republic of Genoa experienced an extraordinary political and commercial success (mainly spice trades with the Orient) and it was the most powerful maritime republic in the Mediterranean from the 12th to the 14th century, In spite of its military and commercial successes, Genoa fell prey to the internal factions which put pressure on its political structure.

The 18th century saw France restore influence over the republic. Napoleon’s first Italy campaign marked the end of the secular republic and was transformed into Ligurian Republic, according to the model of the French Republic. After a short period of independence in 1814, the Congress of Vienna (1815) decided that Liguria should be annexed to the kingdom of Sardinia. The Genoese uprising against the House of Savoy in 1821, which was put down with great bloodshed, aroused the population’s national sentiments. Some of the most prestigious figures of the Risorgimento were born in Liguria (Mazzini, Garibaldi, Mameli and Bixio).

In the first years of the 20th century the region’s economic growth was remarkable: a lot of industries flourished from Imperia to La Spezia.

Liguria had very important people both in ancient and modern times. It would be very hard to speak about them all and so we just like to highlight some of them. Christopher Columbus is surely the most famous Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini, architects of the unification of Italy, Goffredo Mameli the author of the national anthem and Nicolò Paganini the most famous violinist of all times. We cannot forget other famous non Italians who have taken Liguria to their hearts: Ezra Pound, Lord Byron, Shelley and Ernest Hemingway all loved Liguria and the Golfo dei Poeti takes it name from Byron and Shelly’s sojourn in the region.

Geography of Liguria

Surface of 5,420 square kilometers

Coastline extending over 350 Km

Population of over 1.5 million

Bordered by France to the west, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna to the east and south, Piemonte to the north.

Provinces

Imperia, Savona, Genova (Regional capital), La Spezia

Getting To Liguria

Airports

Nice (France) 45 km from Sanremo, Turin, Genova

Road

E80 Motorway

Sea

The great port of Genoa is the destination of many shipping lines linking the capital every day to the rest of Italy and some of the major Mediterranean ports. The port of Genoa is also an important destination for cruise ships of the largest shipping companies in the world. Their luxurious boats depart from here or stop for a visit to the city during the tour of the Mediterranean Sea .The two other major ports in the region are Savona and La Spezia.

Climate

The Italian Riviera is renowned in Italy for its superb year round climate. The region enjoys a hot summer but not the overwhelming heat of southern Italy and retains s warm and constantly sunny climate in the winter. The ring of hills, lying immediately beyond the coast, together with the beneficial influence of the sea, account for the mild climate the whole year round with average winter temperatures of 7-10° and summer temperatures of around 28° which makes for a pleasant stay even in the heart of winter.

Contact us for an initial call, or send us your requirements, so we can suggest the perfect Italian home for you in Liguria. 

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