Eastern Riviera, Genoa
I Parchi di Nervi (Nervi's Parks) spread out over some 9 hectares, uniting the gardens of Villa Gropallo, Villa Saluzzo and Villa Grimaldi, set out in English style. Tipically Mediterranean flora flourishes side by side with a host of exotic plants.
Wonderful for a day-off :) A very romantic (and popular) place after sunset. Take train from Genova Principe or Brignole station, 15 minutes and you're there :) You can actually see the promenade from the train, but the best are views, and the sea, and little beaches (bagni). I've heard many people saying ' Feels like paradise' , in many languages, and it really does :) If you get bored with sunbathing and bathing, serenity and tranquility, try one of little restaurants located along promenade. Waiters there normally don't speak English but you could do just with the hand language and simple 'per favore' and 'grazie'. If you're still bored with the sea, try parks on the other side of the railway line - very nice, part of the local botanical garden, you can also go there for picnic.
Eastern Genoese fishing villages became part of the city without loosing thei Mediterranean beauty.
Between the terraced hills and the sea, a string of small boroughs Sturla, Quarto with its Museo Garibaldino (a museum dedicated ti Giuseppe Garibaldi who left from here "la spedizione dei mille" to build Italy), Quinto, Nervi and Sant'Ilario tie up, with the Mount of Portofino in the background.
A medieval road called "via Romana" runs still today along the coast and the olive groves: it is a remain of the old time Riviera. with its red painted houses, the small gardens along the streams, and should be better covered on a mule (if you can find a mule somewhere).
There are hills that shelter from Northern winds; there are terraced olive groves, ilex groves and multicoloured fishing villages nestled around the medieval stone bridges and the paths that go uphill and ancient inns.
The small beaches are crowded with fishing boats and lazy, well-nourished cats.
In January from Boccadase to Vernazzola and Capolungo winter doesn't exist at all.
Golden age Genoese nobility bequeathed their country seats, surrounded by gardens and parks: small-scale Earthy Paradises against an enchanting background. The hill of Albaro still keeps some of the finest and best preserved "villas" in Genoa, whose lounges, painted facades and lush gardens make that beautiful suburb even more pictoresque. There are Villa Giustiniani Cambiaso, currently seat of the University, Villa Saluzzo Parodi, the frescored Villa Spinola and many others.
The best way to discover them is walking the "creuse de ma", narrow paths between trees and walls.
In Roman times Portofino had a strategic position on the sea and was known as 'Portus Delphini', the Greeks called the native people of Liguria dolphins.
This little bay was known throughout the Mediterranean world, the Romans built the 'castrum' and the 'turris' and left there guarrison to defend their territory. These fortifications even proved their importance during the periods when Genoa was at war with the great European powers. In the centuries that followed Portofino like other towns of the coast suffered the incursions of Turks and pirates, and slowly the original fortifications were extended and enlarged into the existing castle which was used in the time of French and Spanish wars and also during the Napoleonic wars.
And the end of the 19th century Portofino was discovered as a tourist spot by english charmed by this delightful little port buried in luxurious vegetation. Today linked to Santa Margherita by one of the most attractive winding roads along the sea it enjoys a mild winter climate and refreshing Summer airs for those seeking a quiet resort in a unique setting.
The fame of Portofino is world wide and its calm green waters attract the most luxurious yachts. People sit and chat at the little café tables set about in the small decorative sqare surrounded by typical frescoed houses.
Typical sea-side village of the Levante Riviera, situated on the western slope of the Portofino headland, in a valley which faces gulf Paradiso and is rich in olive and citrus fruit trees. The medieval centre with its typical, tall houses which stand one against the other, ascending alleys, steps and porticos, circles round the small harbour; the modern side, lies along the slope going up towards the hills that loom over the area. Ruta is within the town and consists of numerous little houses scattered out along the sides of Aurelia street and on the slope below, in full view of Portofino mountain (610m).