Italy - Liguria
Made up of the Riviera Ponente bordering the French Cote D'Azur, and the Rivera del Levante, with its rugged landscape and maze of coastal paths, Liguria is one of Italy's best kept secrets. From the chic and exclusive Portofino, romantic Cinque Terre villages and the 19th Century resort of San Remo, the Italian Riviera is all about style and sophistication.
If you are visiting Portofino, the best way is to go by boat, to enjoy the panoramic views of the resort from the water.
Traditional Liigurian food is considered some of the most refined in the whole of Italy. Tagliatelle is served in various forms, but most notably with the basil-based sauce, pesto, which originates from here, or the local trofie, little floury shaped potatoes in the many excellent fish restaurants found in the coastal resorts.
The mild climate of Liguria is ideal for growing vegetables and fruit such as tomatoes, artichokes, peaches, apricots and lemons, so expect to see some winderful displays at local shops and markets. Vines are also grown throughout the region, and pigato and vermentino are the most notable Ligurian white wines, the rossese do dolceacqua is Liguria's best red, whilst sciacchetra is the sweet dessert wine still produced in the Cinque Terre from partially dried grapes. The classic Italian aperitifs of cinzano and martini produced in nearby Turin are also common place here.
The colourful market held twice weekly in San Remo is still held in high esteem by the people living along this stretch of coastline, whilst Portofino is home to the chic boutiques of Gucci, Prada and Chanel. For a traditional souvenir, why not try the extra virgin olive oil, rivalled only to that produced in Tuscany, or the interesting pasta shapes that can be found in the local delicatessens and supermarkets.
Discover the Cinque Terre, the five charming fishing villages along the rugged coastline to the west of La Spezia. Now a World Heritage site, part of the charm is the lack of modernisation; the villages remain secluded from the outside world, being accessible only by boat from La Spezia. A walking trail connects the five villages, each having its own character, making this area a must-see!
Take a boat trip and spend a day exploring the highlights of the Ligurian coast and visit exclusive Portofino and the city of Genoa.
Monaco & Monte Carlo
Just across the border into France. Discover the glamour of this small principality, famed for the pink Palais Princier, the Grand Prix and the Casino.