Beautiful Liguria!

Albenga, Apricale, Dolceacqua, Geona, Imperia, Isolabona, Portofino, San Fruttuoso, Sanremo, Santa Margherita Ligure

Day 1 Dolceacqua – Apricale – Isolabona – Sanremo (25 Miles) 
On the arrival, a visit of the two villages in the hinterland of the west: Dolceacqua, dominated by the grand Doria Castle, made erect in the XII century by knights of Ventimiglia, and Apricale, founded around X century by the knights from Ventimiglia, who have given the start to the construction of the castle of Lucertola.  The community makes a part of the circuit of most beautiful villages of Italy and was awarded by the orange flag of the Touring Italian club. After that, we go in one cellar of the zone for a visit with a degustation of wines (Rossese of Dolceacqua, Vermentino and Pigato) and a snack. Transfer to the hotel in the zone of Sanremo.
 
Point of Interest: In the 1884 the painter Monet, who was visiting the West Riviera, arrived in Dolceacqua and made it subject of some paintings, lingering in particular on the castle and on the roman bridge.

Day 2 Sanremo – Albenga – Imperia – Sanremo (80 Miles) 
In the morning we direct to Albenga, the city of 100 towers, for a visit of the oil mill Sommariva, where we will make a small degustation of products, between which well be mentioned the famous Taggiasca olives. Next we will move to Imperia, where we will visit the Olive Museum of Fratelli Carli, In which, through art operas, rare archeological and shots, it is been told the history of the most antique tree cultivated by the man. Finally, we will go back to Sanremo, for a walk in the City of Flowers. Don’t miss La Pigna, the most antique quart of the city situated on one hill in which there is the Sanctuary Madonna della Costa from where you can enjoy a beautiful view.

Point of Interest: In Sanremo, on the street Matteotti, on the ground is the list of names of the winners of many Festival’s editions, on the model of the Walk of Fame of Los Angeles.

Day 3 Sanremo – Toirano – Balestrino – Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena – Erli – Zuccarello – Genova (125 Miles) 
Departure to the Caves of Toirano. Through a guided way we will discover the charm of two parts to visit: the Caves of the “Basura”, in which are men traces of Paleolithic, and the “Santa Lucia inferior”, in which you can admire enormous stalactites. In the afternoon we will pass the Street of Oil, passing to Balestrino, Castelvecchio of Rocca Barbena, Erli and Zuccarello, historic villages of the hinterland, rich of fortifications, immersed in one suggestive scenery formed by big, banded olive groves and uncontaminated landscapes. At the end of the day a transfer to Genova.
 
Day 4 Genova – Prà – Genova (23 Miles) 
Morning dedicated to the visit of Genova, Superba, one of the most important marine republics of Italy. The visit begins with a panoramic tour in bus in the residential quarts related to the urban expansion of the IX and XX centuries, passing from the Square of the Victory, that opens at the center of the modern eastern quarts of the city, in which is the Arch of the Fallen, proceeding to Corso Italy and to the Hill Albaro, where you can see villas, gardens and residential quarts and the Carignano Hills. Then along the street XX September, that connects the Square of the Victory and Square De Ferrari, main street of modern Genova, characterized on the beginning by big buildings on porticos under which there are elegant shops and along which you can admire the church of Saint Stefano. The visit proceeds on foot in the historic center with Ducale Palace, of medieval origin, once a seat of the community, then of the doge of Genova and today a cultural center of the city, seat of manifestations and exhibits, the Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo, main medieval monument of the city, Square Saint Matteo top of the Houses of Doria and the Church of Saint Matteo, Square Banchi. To finish with the Palace Saint Giorgio, an antique seat of the San Giorgio Bank and a place where, according to the tradition, Marco Polo dictated the Milione to Rustichello from Pisa. In the afternoon we will go to Prà, the homeland of the finest basil in Liguria, used to produce the famous pesto Genovese. We will visit one farm to discover what makes unique the basil from this zone, starting from the planting process, until the cultivation in the green houses and the manufacturing, with demonstrations of pesto making. After the visit there will be a degustation of pesto and other products.
 
Point of Interest: For eternal memory against the war’s horrors, inside the cathedral of Saint Lorenzo, in Genova, in the right nave, there is an exact copy of unexploded ordnance. The grenade was exploded in 1941 by the British float during one of the worst attacks against Genova in the II World War. Genova contends with Sicily the primacy of having invented the pasta.

Day 5 Genova – Camogli – San Fruttuoso – Portofino – Santa Margherita Ligure – Recco –Genova (47 Miles) 
Day dedicated to the discovery of the Tigullio Gulf, a real jewel of the Ligurian Riviera. The visit starts from Camogli, a marine village which hosts the famous houses “towers” and the Castle of the Dragon, today a seat of exhibits and cultural events. From here we will direct on a boat to San Fruttuoso, where we will visit the famous abbey, Benedict’s monastery of the 1000, nestled in one creek protected by a tower from the XVI century. Then we proceed on a boat to Portofino, an exclusive village where is the imposing Brown Castle, from the X century. Finally, we will take again the boat to direct to Santa Margherita Ligure, an antique village in which are the imposing template of its castle, built in the 1500, and the splendid complex of Villa Durazzo, admirable from the sea, and immersed in a fairy park from the XVII century. Returning to Genova, we will take a break in Recco to taste the focaccia of cheese, a delicious variety of the focaccia Genovese born exactly here in this part of the city.

Point of Interest:Portofino was the film set for many soap operas, like “Beautiful” and “Cento Vetrine”, and movies like “The Wolf of Wall Street” of Martin Scorsese.

The dragon from the bay of San Fruttuoso. In the magnificent bay stopped one day a horrible monster. Still, God have chosen that place to make a church in honor of San Fruttuoso, a dead martyr. So, one day there was an angel who showed up to Justin and Procopius, ex collaborators of the saint, and conducted in this bay, where they wanted to build a church. Arrived on the destination, there was a war between the angel and the monster, who was beaten, letting like that the construction of the church. Later, because the church was going to ruin, the Benedicts built there the beautiful abbey that we find today.

Day 6 Genova – Cinque Terre – Genova (145 Miles) 
The Cinque Terre are Five Maritime Villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Rio Maggiore. Immersed in one Mediterranean environment, the high coast commands the line of beach, like Rio Maggiore, on which coast is the famous Tuscany “Boulder”. The place keeps untouched the structures and colors typical of the small land of the fishermen, from which you can reach Manarola, along the path excavated in the rocks, a romantic walk properly called “Via dell’Amore”, now closed for the repair after one landslide. Another village on the shore which reflects in the sea water, is Vernazza, the most beautiful of the Cinque Terre, from which square, with the steep stairs and narrow alleys, you will arrive on the small port. In the rugged coastal, on one cliff, rises the church of S. Margherita. This area, besides its fascinating beauty, is famous also by the production of wines, like the Sciacchetrà, which we will taste in one wine shop of Monterosso.

Point of Interest: In the Sanctuary N.S. of Reggio di Vernazza, (which has an antique origin, from the XIII century), immemorial from time ago are happening extraordinary healings, for this reason here are coming persons from far away, to enter in the “window of Madonna”, a niche one meter long, which is inside the church. There are so many healed people, sick and blind people, and other miracles content in the documents recently published from don Giovanni Bozzo.

Day 7 Genova – Portovenere – Return (70 Miles) 
Transfer to La Spezia, from where we will go by a boat to Portovenere. We will take a walk on its small port until the little church of San Pietro, built on the extreme point of the village, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the sea. The visit will proceed with the Castle of the XII century, the Sanctuary of White Madonna, and the Cave of Byron, where the English poet was coming there to take inspiration for his poetries. Return in the afternoon.

Point of Interest:It has been told that in Portovenere, in the XIII century, from the sea arrived on the land an excavated hotel trunk, with inside a small picture with Madonna and Jesus in her arms on it, seat between angels. The picture, interpreted like a god’s present, was brought in the church that was dedicated to Madonna. How time passed the picture faded, until the citizens had to say that was everything disappeared, resting only the white painting. Years have passed, until when, in the end of XIV century, some citizens entered in the church and saw the mysterious painting put again between the antique splendors. They didn’t doubt it was a masterpiece of the angels.   

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