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Stretching from the French border to Tuscany, Liguria is known as the Italian Riviera. One of the most enchanting harbour towns in the region, Portovenere lies at the mouth of the Golfo dei Poeti (Gulf of Poets), a wide bay renowned for its connections with the poets, Shelley and Byron. La Spezia, the largest town in the bay, features a rich nautical heritage which is recorded in its fascinating naval museums. It has an attractive town centre where you can stroll through the streets, or sit at a pavement café and watch the world go by. Via del Prione is a largely pedestrianised street lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. The seafront promenade is another pleasant place to stroll or just sit and admire the views.
Cinque Terre means Five Lands and the Cinque Terre of the Italian Riviera are five unique villages hugging the cliffs along a short stretch of the Ligurian coastline. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso make up the five villages of the Cinque Terre and if youre feeling active, you can walk from one to another, soaking up the natural landscape and authentic charm of each of the villages. The Cinque Terre card can be bought at any local information office. Valid for 1, 3 or 7 days, this entitles you to walk along the pathways and use local trains and buses at no extra cost. The coastline of the Cinque Terre is a national park, a protected marine area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Running between the resorts of Camogli and Rapallo, the Portofino promontory is one of the most scenic spots along the Ligurian Riviera. Along its lower edge lie the small towns of Portofino and Santa Margherita. As a protected area, you will not find any big developments and its best discovered on foot. A boat trip is another very pleasant way to see the coastline. Santa Margherita is a lively town with a wide range of restaurants, bars, cafés and ice-cream parlours and a pretty public park. Portofino is a smaller town and a favourite haunt of the rich and famous, crammed with multi-coloured houses, designer boutiques and a stylish yacht marina.