Fine sandy beaches and sophisticated cities, secluded hiking trails and romantic cliff villages – on more than 300 kilometres of coast, Liguria offers pure variety. Whether culture and art, sunbathing or active holidays – and the palate is not coming off badly as well. Viticulture in Liguria wine region accounts around 25 centuries and characterised by scattered, heroically grown vineyards on the stiff cliffs and wherever nature permitted.
Liguria wine region with an exceptionally glorious landscapes invites you to discover its elegant seaside towns, premium quality wines and basil scent gastronomy. You would admire steep terraces with olive trees and vineyards, colourful cities of Ligurian Riviera, hiking trails on the rocks overlooking the Mediterranean sea.
Wines of Liguria – small but beautiful
Small but beautiful – this is how the Liguria wine region can be described: Steep slopes with dry-stone walls, difficult to machine, are not only home to a handful of ancient grape varieties in the Cinque Terre. The work is laborious, so in recent decades, many farmers have abandoned the viticulture in favour of greenhouses. But in recent years, the viticulture is experiencing a small renaissance – thanks to some innovative winemakers.
“the wines of Liguria could even make stones blossom”.
Liguria is the second smallest wine region in Italy. More than 70% of the production is expanded as DOC wines, of which it has 8 areas in total and 4 IGT’s. The majority of wines produced here are white produced by small artisan wineries.
Ligurian wines are an insider tip and not only outside of Italy but also outside of Liguria difficult to get. This is simply because the steep slopes of the Ligurian coast are difficult to manage and therefore only limited viticulture is possible. After all, in Liguria, from Ventimiglia on the French border to La Spezia, which borders the Tuscany region, there are no fewer than 600 wineries.
Liguria wine region is famous for white wines produced from Vermentino grape variety, which sometimes is confused with Pigato here. However, Vermentino can have more intense colours than Pigato, but less decisive and more discreet fruity aromas. Pigato is almost exclusively cultivated in the Ligurian provinces of Savona, Imperia, and Genoa. Pigato wine best expresses Ligurian terroir displaying minerality of the soil and sea salt aromas. In addition to the Pigato, Rosé Rosadi Albenga and spicy and fruity red wine of Rossese are also coming from this area.
The Rossese di Dolceacqua is a very remarkable red wine. Ruby red to violet in colour, its bouquet smells of roses and blackberries. It is a wine with DOC predicate and one of the most interesting red wines from Liguria.
The reddish, calcareous soil occurring along the coast is very suitable for white wine varieties. More than one hundred mostly autochthonous grape varieties are cultivated in often tiny quantities in Liguria wine region. One strives to reactivate them and to save them from extinction.
Most common grape varieties:
Switness of Liguria Wine Region
The well-known wine of the Cinque Terre DOC is a dry white wine, which has ideally a mineral and slightly salty taste that makes it the perfect accompaniment to the typical regional fish dishes of the region. From the same varieties, namely Bosco, Vermentino, and Albarola they also produce dessert wine called Sciacchetrà.
The Sciacchetra is a sweet straw wine, which is produced only in very small quantities. It is made from dried grapes and therefore available as a riserva. The grapes used for this sweet come from the areas of Costa da Posa, Costa de Campu or Costa de Sera in the municipality of Riomaggiore.
Tasting Note: The Sciacchetra wine expresses intense aromas of dried fruit, especially apricot, in addition to a fine honey tone and some cases of a mild ethereal-looking note of tree resins.
Picturesque Coastal Cities of Liguria
Sanremo is a renowned spa and seaside resort on the Ligurian coast, about 20 kilometres from the French border, whose glamorous time is long gone. Similar to the Principality of Monaco, Sanremo owes its shine and glamour to the casino, which attracted nobility, entrepreneurs, artists, and players to the city and brought with it valuable revenues.
In addition to many other well-known personalities, the scientist Alfred Nobel also lived in one of the exquisite villas on the palm-lined waterfront. Corso Matteotti is one of the most elegant streets in the city and forms the modern centre of Sanremo and invites you to stroll. Here, shops of many exclusive brands line up. From June to October, the everyday flower market creates a wonderful atmosphere in the city. Sanremo is also very popular as a summer resort.
Portofino – A Gem on The Ligurian Coast
Portofino in Italy is the hotspot for the beautiful and the rich, but nature lovers will get their money’s worth.
A picturesque fishing village introduces itself and invites you to a dream. Portofino enchants not only with its picturesque and idyllic location right on the sea, surrounded by magnificent nature, but also with its countless colorful little houses, which are located directly on the harbor.
Pine, olive and cypress groves characterize the picture as well as the many colorful little houses that adorn the delightful natural harbor. Without a doubt, one of the most impressive sights is the Romanesque church of San Giorgio near the harbor and the famous Castello Brown. The latter is surrounded by a Mediterranean park and towers over Portofino, so you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view from here.
Tip: Take a break on the Piazzetta, the main square of Portofino with its many small cafes.
Savona – More Than Just a Port City
Savona is the third-largest city in Liguria, with stately boulevards from the 19th century. The old town of Savona invites you to stroll and browse. The harbor is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, and the Primary Fortress is enthroned above. Docks and jetty for the cruise ships of the shipping company Costa known, but this city has to offer as well a charming, medieval old town with some sights, cafes, and bars.
The Municipal Art Gallery of Savona is one of the most important art collections in Liguria and includes paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, and prints from the 14th to the 20th centuries. A special attraction in Savona is the whale sanctuary, where you can watch whales and dolphins as they prepare for winter.
Basil Scent Ligurian Gastronomy
A kitchen that always smells of fresh basil. Discover flavours of Liguria in traditional dishes.
The cuisine of Liguria is characterized by its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps and the Apennines. The proximity of France has often led to the exchange of specialities. Since Liguria is a small region of Italy, but at the same time has a high population density, the kitchen is considered very economical.
The climate is mild, but because of its proximity to the sea as well humid so that many wild plants are often processed into fillings in pastries such as borage, chard or spinach. Vegetables are mixed with cheese, eggs, pine nuts, and pistachios. Among the spice plants, basil dominates. The best-known preparation is the pesto alla Genovese.
Pesto – The Green Gold
World-famous pesto is the bright green cream of basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and grated cheese, which is eaten to a particular type of pasta called Trofie, short, irregular twirled Pasta towers, or the trenette, narrow noodles.
Basil is the main ingredient in pesto, and it is evident that the basil grown in Liguria is the best, especially when it comes from the carefully manure-fertilized beds and greenhouses of Pra near Genoa. It must be small-leaved, so it can be young harvested. Sometimes you mix a crushed potato or pieces of fresh beans under the pesto – just delicious.
Focaccia – The Perfect Companion to Aperitivo
For Genoese, the focaccia with oil is an art, myth or symbol of their own country.
Every Ligurian loves the hot, freshly baked focaccia, the classic variant is simple and for many the best: flour made from common wheat, extra virgin olive oil from Riviera Ligure DOP, salt, yeast, and water. The classic focaccia can be refined with many ingredients: with thinly sliced potatoes on the surface, with finely chopped onions in the dough, with rosemary, sage or pitted olives.
Chinotto – Chinese Citrus in Liguria
The Chinotto or Bitter Orange Tree is a small, evergreen Chinese citrus plant that grows to only half a meter in height, more like a bush than a tree. It’s just a few branches that are richly loaded with fruits. The Chinotto grows in a narrow area in the province of Savona from Varazze to Finale Ligure.
The fruits are mainly candied or pickled in alcohol. The cultivation in this region goes back to the end of the 18th century, about a century later in Savona the “Società Cooperativa dei Chinotti” was founded, which gave the producers the further processing of the fruits and the sale. The juice is added to many digestives in Italy and is also included in Campari.
3 Spots to Get Away for Nature Lovers
Natural parks by sea and by land
Almost 12% of the entire Ligurian territory is occupied by national and regional parks and nature reserves. The most famous protected areas are the National Park of the Cinque Terre and the Regional Natural Park of Portofino. In addition, there are other beautiful nature reserves, such as the so-called “Santuario dei Cetacei” and the Hanbury gardens.
The national park of the Cinque Terre – where 5 communities meet
The Cinque Terre National Park is an important nature reserve in the province of La Spezia. It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The park covers the area around the so-called Cinque Terre and also part of the territory of Levanto and La Spezia. Characteristic of the unique landscape is the stony coast that juts out to the sea, as well as medieval villages and a Mediterranean environment.
Looking at the flora, you will find the typical Mediterranean vegetation, aromatic plants, and succulents (fat plants). The park is also inhabited by many mammal species, birds, reptiles and amphibians.
Entrance to the Cinque Terre National Park costs 7.50 euros for adults and 4.50 euros for children. The entrance fee includes: Unlimited use of the parking buses, as well as access to all trails.
The Marine Reserve of Portofino
A breathtaking sea garden
This protected area is located in the province of Genoa and is divided into three areas. It is forbidden to drive in this area without a special permit. The area from Portofino to San Rocco di Camogli is particularly rich concerning the marine fauna and in these waters, you can also find the famous statue of “Cristo degli abissi” (German: Christ of the Abysses). Dive in and discover unique coral gardens, sunfish and dolphins playing on the coast of Liguria.
The Hanbury Botanical Garden – a mix of English and Meditteranean style
The Hanbury Botanical Gardens are located on the promontory of Mortola, near Ventimiglia, a few kilometers from the French border. The gardens show a typical English style, while the landscape is typically Ligurian and Mediterranean.
The gardens were built in 1867 as part of a project by Sir Thomas Hanbury, a wealthy English merchant who lived for many years on the Ligurian Riviera. After the Second World War, the gardens were abandoned and later bought by the Italian state. Since 1987, the natural site is managed by the University of Genoa.
In the gardens, you can see many species of tropical and subtropical plants, citrus plants, spice plants and flowers such as roses and peonies. If you want to visit the gardens, note that the flowering time of the plants starts very early in spring and you can admire the flowers all summer long and often longer.
Calabria is a jewel on the toe of Italy. Calabria has a large number of wineries that offer wine tasting and tour. Visit our website to book beautiful wine-filled experiences and learn more about the wine region.