Top 10 Places of the Italian Riviera
Top 10 Published on 09/03/2012 08:00

1. San Remo

San RemoSome of the most beautiful destinations can be found on the Italian Riviera and San Remo is one of them. San Remo was first a Roman settlement and the historical sites are a tribute to that rule, later during the middle ages the commanding power expanded the area and moved the city site  further off the coast and constructed walled castle to protect against raids. Now the city boasts everything - Italian culture along with lively festivals. Taking in all the beautiful architecture of San Remo and the breath-taking views of the Riviera is a major attraction for most people. Due to the citys vicinity near the Mediterranean Sea the weather is phenomenal year round with little change in temperatures, the nights are usually quite cool and the days are just the right amount of warm. These special year round weather conditions are enough to keep you from wanting to leave the seemingly perfect city.

2. Santa Margherita Ligure

Santa Margherita LigureSanta Margherita Ligure, a well-proportioned town near the Riviera with room enough to accommodate many tourist without feeling crowded, which is very important when vacationing in a place like Santa Margherita Ligure. The low-hill area of the town dominating the seafront is worth exploring having many authentic family kitchens with wondrous views of the Riviera that will take your breath away. Many monuments and landmarks dedicated to the early history of the city and the Riviera can be discovered among the intriguing Italian architecture in the low hill area of Santa Margherita Ligure. Walking along the rocky parts of the shore and looking uphill at all the homes set on a downward slope amongst lush greenery is a quite a sight to see. The attractive town settled at the edge of the Italian Riviera is one that deserves its place among the best of the best when it comes to Italian culture.

3. Portofino

PortofinoLocated in Genoa on the Italian Riviera is the sometimes referred to as "the resort of the rich", town of Portofino. The town was originally founded by early Romans, who named the beautiful Mediterranean port "Portus Delphini" which literally translated means "port of many dolphins". This name was given by the Roman settlers due to the fact that an unbelievably large number of dolphins inhabit Portofinos blue waters. In the 1950s the small fishing village became a tourist resort, as it started to attract many wealthy European aristocrats. One of the most popular attractions in Portofino is the "Christ of the Abyss" which is a statue of Christ placed seventeen feet below the waters surface in the port to protect those who are at sea, as the locals say. The statue was set in 1954. There is also a lot of gothic style 16th century architecture to see in Portofino as well.

4. Genoa

GenoaHolding Italy's largest seaport is the city of Genoa. The city with a glorious history, deeply rooted actually has a part of the old town area registered on the World Heritage List. The Bank of Saint George is Genoa is one of the oldest founded banks in the world being first established in 1407. Genoa also has the oldest financial sectors in the world dating historically dating back to the middle ages. The city is also known as the culture capital of the European Union, due to its diverse cultural heritage and growth. Rich arts, music, theatre, and architecture have allowed Genoa to stake its claim. The deep history of Genoa can be seen throughout the city in many forms, amongst the most prominent of those is the citys many remarkable landmarks spread about. When looking for the best Italian cuisine Genoa tops the list with family pesto sauce recipes dating back centuries, Italian cooking prowess is expressed without challenge.

5. Portovenere

PortovenereSpread across a rocky peninsula on the Gulf of Poets is the beautiful town of Portovenere. Originality flows in the town at the end of the Italian Riviera. Portvenere, once home to great writers such as Byron, the town surely gives creative inspiration in all forms to those who visit. Historic landmarks sprinkled about the city are a testament to its illustrious past. If you follow the narrow medieval roads in the town they will lead you uphill to an early century castle and the main street is entered through an ancient iron gate. A church stands on the promontory that once was the site of the temple of Venus, which the ancient society paid homage to and from which the colourful city derives its name. When you stand at the shore line of Portovenere within sight are three small islands you can ferry to for a small island tan. The town of Portovenere never disappoints and always offers wondrous views.

6. Manarola

ManarolaThe second smallest town in Cinque Terre and the oldest has its own native dialect Manarolese. The town of Manarolas dialect even though only marginally different has been the inhabitants own for centuries, the cornerstone of the church dating back to the year 1338. Traditionally the industries of the tiny town have been fishing and wine making. It has actually been mention in ancient Roman writings that the wine produced in Manarola is of the highest quality with a most distinct flavour. The quaint colourful town has many hiking trails and one that ancient civilizations used to travel to Riomaggiore, the translated name of the trail is "Loves Trail". Seeing the town from one of the vineyards overlooking the small town is quite amazing and must be done at least once to capture the beauty of the tiny old town that rests on the rocky coast of the Italian Riviera.

7. Ventimiglia

VentimigliaJust 7 km from the French - Italian border, lays settled a town split in two by the flowing Roia River, the town of Ventimiglia is set on the Gulf of Genoa. The town has a far reaching history dating back to the first century; its rich history is seen throughout its streets in architectural design and ancient monuments. How far back the history of the towns first settlers dates back is almost impossible to pin point, even traces of a Cro-Magnon people have been discovered just near the modern town. Many tropical and sub-tropical plant species thrive in the mild climate, giving the town some of the finest and most diverse botanical gardens in all of Europe. Spectacular views of the city can be had from its surrounding highland areas. The old town is actually set stop the Cavo Hill overlooking the more modern developed part of the town in the lowlands.

8. Rapallo

RapalloThe mild climate of Rapallo has long been a major attraction of the city outside of the deep rooted history that is seen in the citys early century architecture. Mild winters allow for leisurely strolls on the citys promenade and a nice day spent golfing at Italys oldest golf course opened in the 1930s. The town boasts a small picturesque castle in the sea. Its also the largest resort town on the Italian Riviera. Due to Rapallos well developed modes of transportation its a good site to stay and enjoy while visiting different towns of the Northwest Region of Italy. Enjoy days spent in the historical areas of Rapallo where pedestrian shopping streets can be found. The Rapallo seafood restaurants are also some of the best on the Riviera, where classic Italian seafood dishes reign supreme. The hotel Hemmingway stayed as he wrote his famous book "The cat in the rain" is also in the beautiful town.

9. Riomaggiore

RiomaggioreA wondrous town climbing up the Riveras rocky ridges is Riomaggiore. Original settled by early century olive and grape producers looking for a place with ideal climate conditions on the Riviera where they did not have to fear pirate attacks. During Nepolians age the town actually absorbed the nearby town of Manarola whose history is older than the town of Riomaggiore itself. The Guardiola Tower of the town was once one of the most well equipped fortresses of its day and age, now its a national park you can tour and admire. The tower is only reachable by footpath. On the hill of the town you can find a 13th century castle you can enter and enjoy a spectacular view of the Italian Riviera. In the highest reach of the town there is a parish church of san Giovanni Battista built in 1340 by the bishop of Luni, Antonio Fieschi.

10. Andora

AndoraDuring the Middle Ages Andora was a fishing and boat building epicentre, now the town is home to many medieval ruins along its historical centre. Andoras long palm filled beaches are very popular in this day and age during the summer months. The town hosts many festivities that draw visitors from all around, the most famous of those being the Beer Fest in June. During the Beer Festival the town echoes with live music and the outdoor arena near the coast is filled with people dancing to the sound of the music. Among seeing all the sights of Andora, the town has many recreational activities including horseback riding, tennis, hiking, cycling and a ton of water sport activities. The romantic Italian atmosphere is found in the town with many marvellous views and narrow stone roads weaving in and around the town making a moonlit walk in the city quite amazing.

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