The Italian Riviera is one of the most attractive tourist areas in the Mediterranean region. This is a narrow strip that stretches about 300 km along the coast of northeast Italy, between the slopes of the Alps and Apennines to the north and the waters of the Ligurian Sea to the south. It covers the entire coast of the administrative region of Liguria and the provinces of Imperia, Savona, Genoa and La Spezia.
Some people prefer, although this is not entirely correct, to include the region of Tuscany as a part of the Italian Riviera.
Mentally we can divide the Riviera into two parts – eastern and western. The eastern part of the Italian Riviera extends to the east of Genoa and is known as the Riviera di Levante. To the west of Genoa is the western part of the Riviera, called Riviera di Ponente.
Like the French Cote d’Azur, the Ligurian Coast of Italy is also a tourist destination with old traditions.
Despite the common past, these two regions today are quite different, but what combines them is the feeling of style and refinement.
Population. The population of all four provinces forming the Italian Riviera is more than 1,614,000 inhabitants. Most of them are concentrated in the province of Genoa that is home to more than half the population of the Riviera.
Although the majority of residents are Italians, the ethnic diversity here is amazing. It is assumed that the indigenous peoples of coastal Liguria have much in common with the ancient Greeks because they created numerous colonies in the region.
Nowadays the role of ancient Greeks is taken from German and English immigrants who settle here permanently attracted by the Italian sunny weather and excellent local cuisine.
Climate. The Italian Riviera has mild and pleasant subtropical Mediterranean climate. The average daily temperatures during the year range from 10 to 28 °C. The summer season lasts from May to September.
The weather conditions are very pleasant without hardly bearable heat. Even in May sun-thirsty tourists already lounge along the coast, although sea water is still cool.
Winters are generally quite mild, but during the months from December to March are still possible even subzero temperatures. The snow fall is quite rare and the snow cover is usually very thin and melts quickly.
The transitional seasons offer mild weather with temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees. The climate along the Ligurian Coast is relatively humid.
Most heavy rains usually occur in early spring and late autumn. Summer is the driest part of the year and the minimum of precipitation occur in July.
However, in contrast to many places along the Mediterranean, there are no significant droughts along the coast of the Italian Riviera.
The proximity to the Mediterranean and the Alps are the main factors to influence the weather conditions in this region.
The heated during the long and hot summers Mediterranean basin, warms the northeastern Italian coast during the winter months. The impressive mountain chain of the Alps acts as a climate barrier, stopping the cold air masses before reaching the Mediterranean.
Tourism. The slopes of the Maritime Alps descend steeply to the surface of the Mediterranean. Small towns, colored in pastel nuances are perched on giant cliffs over the sea. The Italian Riviera boasts amazing beaches.
They are, however, less numerous compared with the French Rivera. Most of them are covered with small oval stones.
For this reason sea water is usually extremely clear. In some places you can find small bays with calm and transparent waters.
These places possess an inexplicable magnetism, especially during the warm and sunny summer months when attract crowds of visitors. Sometimes tourists are so many that places to lounge on the shore are hard to find.
There are of course some large sandy beaches, but the coast in this part of Italy is mostly composed of small and secluded coves. Marine waters change their color from silver to dark blue in depending on the sunlight.
What makes the Italian Riviera unrivaled is the fact that it is a spectacular and unique green garden under the open sky. The whole coast seems to be immersed in lush greenery.
Different types of trees, including some thermophilic species such as olive and citrus trees, palms and all sorts of flowers, brought from all over the world, have earned this unique place the pseudonym “Palm Riviera” or “Flower Riviera”.
Cities. Along the Italian Riviera, between the French border and Tuscany are arranged to each other dozens of small towns that attract millions of tourists with their fascinating and at the same time casual and unpretentious atmosphere.
They all have their own marinas and offer great views, beautiful architecture, lush vegetation and numerous small restaurants and cafes to have a portion of fish with vegetables or a cup of fragrant Italian coffee.
From west to east are most famous Ventimiglia, San Remo, Arma di Taggia, Imperia, Savona, Genoa, Portofino, Rapallo, Chiavari, Sestri Levante and La Spezia.
These, however, are not all cities along the coast of Liguria. Among them there are dozens of other coastal must visiting towns and villages.
The biggest and most famous city on the Italian Riviera is Genoa. It has a population of about 800,000 people in the urban agglomeration. It is an amphitheater on the shore of the Mediterranean and is considered one of the most beautiful cities in southern Europe.
San Remo is a small but extremely popular city. It became famous for its music festival “San Remo”, held annually since 1951. In addition, this is the last city on the route of the annual cycling race Milan – San Remo.
Portofino itself is a fishing village, but also an attractive seaside resort, famous for its picturesque location, lush vegetation and beautiful beaches nearby.
Rapallo is a beautiful port town whose old buildings reach the coast itself. Among the narrow and shady streets you will find many wonderful restaurants, offering excellent local cuisine.