Justin Foulkes

The Italian Riviera

Italy's famed crescent of Mediterranean coast, where the Alps and the Apennines cascade into the sea, is defined by its sinuous, giddy landscapes. The Italian Riviera, synonymous with the Ligurian region, is shaped by its extreme topography – its daily life is one of ascents and descents, always in the presence of a watery horizon.

Anchored beside the region's best natural harbour is noble Genoa. Known as La Superba (the Superb One) to biased locals, it's a city that ruled over one of the finest maritime empires in medieval Europe. Fanning out on either side is the Riviera, home to many alluring destinations including the Portofino peninsula, the legendary Cinque Terre and more low-key seaside towns to Genoa's west.

This is both a deeply historic destination and a fabulously in-the-moment pleasure-seeking one, where you can explore lavish palazzi (mansions) or humble village churches and then simply swim, eat, walk or stare at the sea.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Italian Riviera.