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Liguria - Things to Do - Tourism

Liguria's geographical position, mild climate and pleasant landscapes have made it a successful traditional pole of attraction for national and international seaside tourism since the middle of last century.

All along the coast, from Ventimiglia to Lerici, there are small holiday resorts which, though themselves endowed with works of art, have only developed alongside the famous holiday resorts: Bordighera, Sanremo, Alassio, Finale Ligure, Nervi, Portofino, Santa Margherita and Rapallo.

The development of tourism has improved amenities and infrastructures but not without damage to the environment, only now the object of energetic measures of conservation.

The authentic character of the region can still be found in the quiet corners of certain seaside villages or in the rare coves still unaltered by the hands of man.

In the Cinque Terre, for instance, a group of picturesque fishing villages clinging to a rocky coastline, cars are banned. The beautiful inland area, bypassed by the tourist hordes, is surprisingly and unexpectedly fascinating and deserves greater attention.

Behind Sanremo alternative itineraries touch the medieval villages of Taggia and Triora; Pigna with its characteristic chibi (alleys) surrounded by olive groves; Apricale, a medieval village magnificently facing south; Dolceacqua, with the Doria castle and vineyards. Farther north, on the slopes of Mount Saccarello (2,200 m.) lies Monesi, a winter sports resort.

The inland areas round Savona with their picturesque villages, Calizzano, Millesimo and Pontinvrea deserve a visit; in the Province of Genoa, Uscio has the Romanesque church of Sant'Ambrogio; Torriglia, near Lake Brugneto and Fontanigorda, amongst woods and meadows, in an area of considerable mycological interest (mushrooms). On the slopes of Mount Maggiorasca (1,799 m.) lies Santo Stefano d'Aveto, an Apennine winter sports resort.

Far inland, behind the Riviera di Levante, lies Varese Ligure (interesting urban plan) and, on the Tuscan boundary, stands Sarzana, a small town with a wealth of history and interesting church buildings, the majestic Cittadella and the Fort of Sarzanello.

Other parts of Liguria have extremely interesting grottoes and archeological features.

These include the Balzi Rossi (prehistory museum), near Ventimiglia, characterized by the presence of human settlements dating from the Paleolithic to the Meso lithic periods, then the popular Grotte di Toirano (grottoes), inland from Loano, which can be visited, following a planned route, for more than a kilometre amidst spectacular mineral deposits and evidence of man's life twelve thousand years ago; lastly Luni, an ancient Roman town near the mouth of the Magra, which conserves splendid traces of its past, such as the `Grande Tempio', `Campidoglio', the Forum and the Amphitheatre (Museo Archeologico Nazionale-national archeological museum).

Other Roman monuments can be seen at Ventimiglia (theatre, 2nd century BC.), Albenga, Albisola Superiore, Bocca di Magra etc. Traces of prehistoric civilization are also to be seen at Finale Ligure, inland from Varazze, and at Chiavari.

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