The Liguria region of north-west Italy is one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in Europe, with resorts and towns including San Remo and Portofino and numerous picturesque villages including the stunning villages of the Cinque Terre.
Although Liguria is best known as a coastal region along the 'Italian Riviera' there is also a good deal to see in the inland part of the region, especially in the hillside villages and away from the intense development that has covered a large part of the coast of Liguria. The inland parts of Liguria are also less accessible than the coastal towns - there is an autoroute that follows along the coast, but roads inland are much slower moving.
In the centre of the Liguria region, the coastal city of Genoa is the largest commercial port in Italy and also has the largest medieval centre of any town in Europe.
- Liguria is Pesto Genovese
Pesto Genovese is a sauce with origins in the Italian city of Genoa. Traditionally, it consists of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino. Its name stems from the word pestare, meaning to pound or crush, referring to the original method of making the sauce with a mortar and pestle. It is said that pesto originated from the ancient Romans who ate a paste called moretum, made by crushing together ingredients such as cheese, herbs, and garlic. Pesto is usually used with pasta, traditionally with trofie or trenette, but can also sometimes be served with sliced tomatoes or boiled potatoes.
- Liguria is Focaccia di Recco
This delectable cheese-filled focaccia hails from the town of Recco, Liguria's gastronomic capital where it can be found in every bakery, pizzeria, and restaurant. It was reportedly invented in the 12th century when, according to legend, the citizens of Recco were preparing this dish for the Crusaders with the little they had: flour, water, olive oil, and some cheese.
Unlike most other focaccia flatbreads, this one is made without yeast, and features a paper-thin, hand-pulled crust filled with the soft, mild-flavored cow’s milk cheese from Alpine pastures called stracchino or crescenza. By the end of the 1800s, focaccia di Recco had become traditionally associated with the celebration of All Saints' Day, but today it is prepared and enjoyed throughout the year. Moreover, ever since 1955, the town of Recco has been hosting the so-called Festa della Focaccia, an annual festival held every last week of May.
- Liguria is Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre wine region predominantly produces fragrant white wines that are based on Bosco grapes, with the addition of Vermentino or Albarola varieties. The wines are typically light and fresh, with mineral hues, good acidity, and aromas of citrus, fruit, and dry flowers.
They are best paired with regional seafood dishes, including appetizers and main courses, while they go exceptionally well with fried fish and local Santo Stefano d'Aveto cheese. The DOC Cinque Terre also includes passito-style Sciacchetrà wine.