Located in the northwestern part of Italy, Liguria has borders with France in the west, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna in the north, and Tuscany in the south. It is a narrow strip of land squeezed in between the mountains and the Ligurian Sea. The coastline is a succession of cities and small market towns, some of which are surrounded by a bay or port, while others are perched atop the steep slopes of the cliffs. In this region, the locals have always had a strong bond with the sea, from which they have been able to draw sustenance and wealth.
Surface area : 5421.0 km2
Population : 1614924 inhabitants
The streets of Genoa are full of colourful characters and all sorts of boutiques: from those selling ethnic clothing to just usual everyday stuff, there are also some that deal exclusively in second hand items and local craftwork.
If you want something a bit more chic, head for via XX settembre, or the via Venti, as it is known to locals.
Despite what one may think, the local cuisine isn't all that centred around fish, and yet it boasts all of the culinary wonders one may expect from a Mediterranean region.
Pesto is a typically Genoese speciality made with a very specific variety of basil that only grows in Pra, a neighbourhood in Genoa. Add pine nuts to the basil, a bit of garlic, a few spoonfuls of parmesan, and, if you want, some grated sheep's milk cheese. All of these ingredients, together with a few grains of coarse salt and extra virgin olive oil, are to be crushed in a traditional marble mortar with a traditional wooden pestle. All of the trattorias in the historical centre offer pesto-based pasta and soup dishes, and you can even buy a jar of the sauce in one of the numerous shops that sell traditionally prepared gastronomic specialities.
FOCACCIA AND FARINATA
During your stay in Genoa, try and stop at a Focacceria. Presented on hot plates, there are several types of focaccia: plain, or with cheese, onions, or potatoes. Soft and delicious, the Genoese eat them at all times of the day. Another speciality you should try is the farinata, a sort of very thin tart made with chick pea flour.