Portofino & Cinque Terre

    Take a sheltered cove, line it with a tall façade of fisherman’s houses painted in the earthy pastels of Italy, throw in a charming quayside, top it off with a couple of prominent churches, and that is Portofino.

    One of the region’s true gems - its tiny streets and beautiful square are lined with stylish boutiques and noisy restaurants. The real mission, however, is to take a picture of your yacht against the famous backdrop, so take the tender ashore, order a coffee and stay awhile soaking in the atmosphere, then climb to the church above the harbour, snap and go.

    To the south of Portofino, the Cinque Terra is home to five villages, dotted along the shoreline at the foot of steep spectacularly beautiful, terraced hills and vineyards. Vernazza is the only one of the five to boast a little harbour where there is a charming, cafe lined square enclosed by tall shabby-chic houses and overlooked by a striking church.

    Itinerary – Portofino & Cinque Terre

    Day 1 – La Spezia

    On the border between Liguria and Tuscany, La Spezia is ideally located for the Cinque Terre, Pisa and Florence. The pedestrian main street has a great range of restaurants, bars and outdoor coffee shops selling typical Italian ice cream and a variety of shops for Italian clothing and shoes. In the town centre on the Piazza del Mercato, is the morning market for fruits and vegetables of every type, flowers, cheese, salami and a wide selection of fresh seafood. The restaurants serve such local specialties as trofie with pesto, stuffed mussels and spaghetti frutti di mare with simple intense wines from the Cinque Terre but with persistent aromas.

    Day 2 – Viareggio

    Where the sea is on one side and the white peaks of the Apuan Alps on the other – this is the classic snapshot of Viareggio. Stroll through the narrow streets, have an ice cream in the Pineta pine forest and eat fish in one of the typical seafood trattorias. The market is where to best experience the area’s gastronomy, immersing yourself in the local cuisine’s most intense flavours. The extremely short supply chain means you can smell the scent of the sea only a few steps away, merging with that of fragrant fried fish, spaghetti alla marinara and trabaccolara. 

    Day 3 – Carrara

    Located in the Apuan Riviera in Northern Tuscany, Carrara has always been known as the marble town. Merging into the Alps in a succession of diverse and fascinating landscapes, dominated by white mountain tips and marble extracted from quarries, has been at the foundations of the town’s history and fortune. This historic identity has always been linked to the exploitation of the clear stone from its quarries since the Roman Empire and ever since, Carrara’s name instantly suggests quarries and marble - the white gold so famous it recalls artists of all ages and places.

    Day 4 – Vernazza

    Snuggled in the evocative coastline of Liguria, the Cinque Terre presents an enchanting postcard of pastel coloured tower homes, rocky beaches and quiet trails among the terraces covered in vineyards, olive trees and private gardens. Vernazza is perhaps the crowning jewel among the five, named as one of the most beautiful towns of Italy, it is a traffic free village with architecture characteristic of the area, shops and monuments.

    Day 5 – Portofino

    This splendid sea resort with its luxury Mediterranean personality also boasts an ancient marine culture and is another of those places’ beloved by artists, famous people and writers that have long sung its praises. The Piazzetta, meeting-up point for the international jet-set, is the symbol of Portofino, while the port with its characteristic brightly-colored houses is the icon of the Borgo maritime tradition, whose inhabitants were called delfini (dolphins) by the Greeks and Romans, so apt were they at sea navigation.

    Day 6 – Sestri Levante

    This beautiful little town, once a quiet fishing village, is slowly turning into a tourist hotspot. The original part is on the peninsula, with the beautiful Bay of Silence (a hidden gem and probably the most beautiful and romantic beach in Liguria) on one side and Bay of the Fables on the other, both named in honour of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who lived here for a short time.

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