Group Travel in the Italian Riviera: Genoa and Cinque Terre

Genoa is the capital of  the Italian Riviera and a glorious maritime republic.  It is a city of contrasts where within only a few steps you move from the relics of an ancient and glorious past to the bold symbols of a new city open to the future.

Set on the seaside, the city unfolds along the hills in a very unique fashion.  The port is the largest and busiest industrial port in Italy.  It competes with Marseilles and Barcelona to be the most active and important port in all of Europe.

There are many tourist attractions in Genoa that are internationally recognized.  The Ancient Port was redesigned by Renzo Piano to commemorate the Christopher Colombus Celebrations, along with the Genoa Aquarium and the Galata Sea Museum.  The historical city center is revered for its great Genovese singers and authors.  The Ducal Palace hosts renowned art exhibits, and the Strada Nuova Museum and the Rolli Palaces are both UNESCO world heritage sites.

Part of the Italian Riviera, the Western Italian Riviera is a classic destination for cultural and nature tourism.  It offers extraordinary natural parks and cities and villages typical of the region.

The bay of Portofino, unique in the world, has a small village where the ancient fishermen’s houses border the protected inlet of the Monte di Portofino park.  You can visit the abbey of San Fruttuos  by means of a wonderful boat ride.  Santa Margherita is a lovely and elegant beach area that has kept its Belle Epoque flavour intact.  The cosmopolitan Rapallo also deserves a visit, as does  Sestri Levante, a scenic narrow peninsula  set between two harbors.

Heading towards Tuscany, you will find 18 kilometers of coastline filled with bays, beaches and deep seas.  Above the coast there is a chain of mountains that run parallel to the coast: the Cinque Terre.  The terraces are dedicated to olive and grapevine cultivation, and they are secured by ancient dry walls.  There are breathtaking paths in this territory where the sea and the land meet to make for a unique and unforgetable landscape.

The five small villages follow one after another to make up one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world.  It’s no coincidence that this area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.  The easternmost town is Riomaggiore, which is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is built in a series of steps like many villages in terraced valleys.  A little farther west, you will find Manarola, which has been named one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.  It is characterized by its tower-houses, and the Via dell’Amore which starts at its train station.  In the heart of Cinque Terre, you will see Corniglia, which differentiates itself from the other villages by its high location above the sea.  It juts out on a cliff with a sheer drop into the sea.  Vernazza is located around a small natural port – many consider it the most striking village.  It is dominated by a series of Medieval fortifications with a castle and a cylindrical tower.  The last village, and the westernmost one, is Monterosso al Mare.  It is also the largest and has two areas: the historical village, and Fegina, a more touristed region.

With their immense natural beauty, these locations have charm that few others can match.  Cinque Terre is one of the most attractive tourist attractions in Italy and an ideal destination for your group travel.