Location: Camogli, Italy
I close my eyes and feel the light breeze ruffling my hair. Down below, framed by the rugged coastline, the sea sparkles underneath the glowing afternoon sun. I’m in Camogli, a seaside resort town on the Italian Riviera, facing the Golfo Paradiso. With a name like that, how can you go wrong? Located in the Liguria region, this coastline is one of the most geographically stunning areas in Italy. Perhaps best known for the famed Cinque Terre or the jet-setting Portofino, Camogli is a jewel on its own, embodying all that is uniquely Ligurian, with its own exquisite beauty.
WHEN TO GO
For the warmest weather, liveliest evenings, and that busy summer vibe, high season is the obvious option. Be forewarned, like all summer hot spots, Liguria becomes insanely crowded and expensive in July and August.
Alternatively, I would suggest a visit in the Spring – from the end March to the beginning of June – when the sun rays are warm and pleasant, and you can spend a few days relaxing in tranquility.
Location: Carloforte, San Pietro Island, Italy
Off the southwestern coast of Sardinia sits a tiny island called Isola di San Pietro. It has only one inhabited area – a fishing village called Carloforte. Its residents, the carlofortesi, live an uncomplicated existence fishing and minding their own business.
It’s a warm summer day in June, and we hop on a ferry from Sant’Antioco to spend a day in Carloforte, or U Pàize (“the town”) in local dialect. The first residents who colonized the island were fishermen from Liguria, and so the Carlofortesi speak an old Ligurian dialect called Tabarchino, instead of Sardinian. Despite being only 7km from Sardinia, the Carlofortesi don’t consider themselves Sardinian.
Location: Rapallo, Liguria, Italy
Focaccia di Recco came into my life one balmy summer evening in a small, unassuming restaurant in downtown Rapallo. Knowing it was a regional specialty, my husband and I ordered it expecting the usual thick, somewhat dense but soft bread that the word focaccia usually refers to. Then the waiter came over and set down this silver plate of what resembled jaggedly cut up, crunchy quesadillas. I tore off a piece and took my first bite. The hot, savory, melted cheese oozed out on all ends of the thin, crispy bread. Simple, yet absolutely scrumptious.