Local traditions and culture in Liguria

  • Portofino
    Portofino
    by Odiseya
  • Manarola
    Manarola
    by Odiseya
  • Portovenere
    Portovenere
    by Odiseya

Most Viewed Local Customs in Liguria

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    Wines of Cingue Terre

    by Odiseya Updated Sep 16, 2014

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    The good climate condition and rich soil and even location make this area almost perfect for vineyard and wine making.

    The slopes of the mountains of Cinque Terre is decorated by grappes. Some vineyards are being cultivated with Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino grapes. The local wine brand is is the Lo Sciacchetrà. That word means "push and pull".
    I find out that that type of wine is white wine with 18% of alcohol. I am not expert or even fan but what I notice is that most of wine in shopping malls have about 11 of alcohol. That wine is made by drying the grapes for a few months in a very dry place. It is recommending to taste wine with a piece of Gorgonzola cheese.

    Manarola
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    Fisherman's legacy

    by Odiseya Written Sep 16, 2014

    There is still evidence of strong fishing tradition in Liguria, especially in area of National Park Cingue Terre. The ancient fisherman's settlements sets in new age as popular touristic attraction but somehow not on its peak yet, in my opinion. No, I didn't see any fisherman or any fisherman's boat in bay. But I saw plenty of boats (well maintain or even brand new) fishing boats on central zone of towns.

    It is probably tradition and/or even source of pride to own boat. That is not what I expected here to see. On main street (closed from sea by higher square and rock) in Manarola and on open area in Riomaggiore bay you would walk between and around anchored boats. I see many small boats in bays but In Manarol I really dont know how it is possible to put boats in that area so unreachable by coast. Well, it is obviously that I am not expert here. It seems like tradition and nostalgia still no make enough space to modern mass tourism. On other side, it is one of things that make this region unique in some way.

    I find out that life on sea have influence on local cosine but prices and little time that I had on disposal prevent me to taste it so that is one of reason why I would like to visit this region again.

    Manarola Riomaggiore
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    Languages in Liguria

    by Odiseya Updated Sep 16, 2014

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    I visit Liguria as part of organized tour by touristic agency that include and many other nice destination within country. I order to maximize my travel experience I was spend some time online trying to learn so much about places that is in the itinerary. That is better to travel alone. Anyway, one of thing that I learn about Liguria is that challenging living condition (and many many more things) caused that is area is well known from its local dialects and specific Genoese / Ligurian (zenéize/lìgure) language, pronunciation and even alphabet. How cool it is! And there is still many ways to learn more about the language and culture of Liguria.

    But having in mind to I have only little time on disposal in new place with strong touristic industry I knew that would be very hard task to hear or speak to locals. And that is one of reason why I wont to go back to this region.

    Isolation, migration, formal education and probably and some political reasons and even upbringing and specific local mentality (as in other parts of world) make saving and learning local dialect even harder task. That makes every effort in that direction more merit. That is not you will find on touristic information board and interpretative maps. It is wort to make effort to peek beneath the surface and reveal more about the culture.

    Text in Portofino
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    Architecture in Liguria

    by Odiseya Updated Sep 16, 2014

    Coastal part of Liguria is very interesting for visitors not only for sea then and specific architecture style. The houses follow the rocks and steep cliffs and seems like they define gravity.
    In every part of world there is a places that people make to thinking what kind of reason is for person to make their living on some seemly the unreachable place and in the same times some sort of unspeakable understanding of beauty of life well incorporated in nature and subjugation to her whims.

    Combination of colors very pleasing to the eye of observers makes landscapes special architecture delight. It was inspiration for artists.

    Steep narrow streets of coastal towns, especially in Cingue Terre NP makes serious exercises for visitors.

    Interesting is story that I heard behind of it. The variety of colors house was not the result of specific tastes of the host but also had some practical reasons. Namely, the Ligurian coast is full of ancient fishing settlement.
    No, it is not that they are faithful bride waiting for their loved ones to return from fishing on the high seas. The colors were used and for their dear fisherman to keep them on eye. On the sea front of the bay and further offshore they could see their homes. There were able to monitor whether their wives are busy with household work. It was easy, and still it is, too perceive each house individually and see if it their clothes was dry on their windows and even to monitor on people who stay behind. The nature make sure that both side of observers watch for a while in the distance breathless (for completely different reasons).

    Today, the tourism is very big industry and prices of houses are enormous. The nature is limited human settlement on small narrow area. Colors of houses is not so distinctive like they used to be.

    Portovenere Manarola Corniglia Vernazza Portofino
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    Genoa flag in Liguria today

    by Odiseya Updated Sep 15, 2014

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    I notice the flags on buildings in Porto Venere hanging from windows. Red cross on white field. It looks like English flags.
    I find out that is old Genoa flag. That time was very festive with lots of cultural event in progress. Maybe that inspired that specific city decoration.

    I find it very interesting and wont to learn more. There is many online resource about heraldic in general.

    Short introduction:
    The story behind the flag is very interesting, in my opinion. Here follows a brief summary:
    The vexillum beati Georgii (flag of Saint George) is first reported in the Annales Januenses of 1198 (Genoa Yearbook).
    Today the flag of the Comune of Genova (Genoa) is still the red cross on a white background and the Gonfalone is the banner with the Saint George striking the dragon.

    Porto Venere
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    Churches, religion and spirituality in Liguria

    by Odiseya Updated Sep 15, 2014

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    Most of places I visited in Liguria is very small. The churches is usually main cultural objects there. Mostly of them, at least churches that I was visited, was Roman Catholic.

    I will summarize here some things I notice regarded this topic and some of impression.
    Elegant stone churches with rich interior located on hill. Mostly of them fit the description.
    They are main sights and axle of local spirituality and culture and places where you can see priceless arts peaces, hear deep thoughts and learn about yourself. Well, it should be! Anyway, in church there no host/tour guide. Bring your own tour guide or buy a book. That is touristic reality! But that is one side of story!

    Religion is very important to people. Their faith helps them to survive all difficult and trouble. I notice several small altars on houses for what I learn that people use for pray for safe return to home for fishing trip.

    Besides churches, you could find here and small chapels, small shrines on buildings and religious sculptures and even cemeteries.

    Important cultural events are religious or connect with it. During my short visit of Liguria I didn't have opportunity to attend any of them. I would like to do that on my next visit to this region. I think it is great way to learn about culture and art of places I visit.

    Anyway, I enjoy in this tour and feel enriched with new experience.

    Vernazza Corniglia Portofino
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    Genua > great church-interiors

    by globetrott Updated Feb 24, 2010

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    Churches are in general decorated in the most beautiful and precious way.
    This is the interior of Cattedrale San Lorenzo in Genua .
    The pulpit - on the left of my pic - is made much smaller and has less ornaments than many of the other churches I saw in Italy...

    but it is made of solid marble with some great sculptures in it.

    And on my pic, you will also see the 2 storeys of gothic columns that build the main structure of the church and look even more impressive by the marble in different colors.
    When you click on the picture, you may also see the great mosaique above the entrance-gate.

    Genova - San Lorenzo cathedral
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    Sagra del Pesce on 2nd sunday in May

    by globetrott Updated Feb 24, 2010

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    These are the 2 biggest pans in the world...
    they will be used to make a great pan of roasted fishes once a year during a big festivity In Camogli on the 2nd sunday in May :

    SAGRA DEL PESCE is the name of that festivity .

    These 2 pans and the handle of the pans in the middle, are fixed during the year on a wall that you will pass by, when you walk from the train station to the beach
    The pan is more than 4 meters wide - big enough to roast one of these cars...

    Please click here in order to see a map of Camogli : www.multimap.com - Camogli

    the biggest pans in the world in Camogli
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    The Ligurian Cross

    by globetrott Updated Feb 24, 2010

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    In many places of Liguria you will see a special kind of cross with the 3 upper-ends beautifully decorated like the one on my picture.
    I could not yet find an explanation for this kind of decoration but it looks really interesting.
    The cross on my picture I saw inside Orario Santa Croce in Via Molinelli / Monterosso al Mare.
    This church is really worth seeing !!

    Here you may see a small map of Monterosso & Via Molinelli :

    www.multimap.com - Monterosso al Mare

    a Ligurian Corss in Monterosso al Mare
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    Those windows.....

    by tini58de Updated Mar 28, 2007

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    What I liked most about all these villages in Cinque Terre were those green window shutters - designed in a way that allows you to keep the sun away and still have some light and air! Bending outward, with washed clothes hanging outside to dry - this is the typical image for me!

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    Winegrowing

    by tini58de Updated Mar 28, 2007

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    Despite the fact that Vernazza (and the rest of the Cinque Terre) have only very limited space, there is still room for winegrowing. All over the place you will see terraces with grapevines and when we were there in September, you could see lots of people harvesting.

    And the result - don't miss to try it!

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    For the vicitms of WW I & WW II

    by globetrott Updated Nov 4, 2004

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    In Santa Marghertia Ligure you may see several small monuments like on my picture for the victims of the 2 big World Wars.
    I made a picture-combination of 2 of them - you may see these monuments close to the place, where the ships will leave several times a day for Portofino.

    While waiting for your ship, have a look into the big church nearby, it is really beautifully decorated ( I put a picture of it also in my tips "off the beaten path")

    In order to see on the map, where to find Santa Magherita Ligure :
    www.multimap.com - Santa Magherita Ligure

    for the victims of the 2 worldwars
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    Fake facades

    by globetrott Updated Nov 4, 2004

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    At many places in Liguria, the structures on the fassades are PAINTED only.
    But it is done in such a perfect way, that even standing in a short distance, you may think, there are structures of stone instead of a totally even and flat wall .

    My picture shows a facade in Genua, close to the port and only the small "roof" above the altar is built seperately, all the rest is totally flat, even the 2 angels around the altar.

    Fake facades in Genova
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    Altars for the safe return of the fishermen

    by globetrott Written Nov 4, 2004

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    Liguria was always well known for its skilled captains of the fast Sailingclippers and its Marine-schools and in the old times almost all of the population used to live on fishing.

    These small altars, that you may see all over Liguria, were made in order to wish the sailors good luck and pray before going out on the sea.

    Just take a look at the great decoration with sea-shells.
    I found this altar in Camogli, but there are a lot more all over the coast.

    an altar for the fishermen
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    Great door-knockers

    by globetrott Written Nov 2, 2004

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    Once that you had started to search for interesting door-knockers in Italy, you will see how many different great and fancy ones you will see:
    Look at this great work of art that was used to knock on the doors of Palazzo Ducale.
    These doors are really huge and about 6-8 meters high...

    ...and when you look up on top of these huge doors, you will also see another handle for the door in a hight of more than 6 meters...
    (Was that for the giants ??)

    The door-knocker on Palazzo Ducale in Genova
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