Adding new photographs of Liguria,
the Italian Rivieras and Italy every month.
Monterosso al Mare, Province of LA SPEZIA.
The fortification on the hill of San Cristoforo, where the earliest settlement was made, was built by the Obertenghi family, the first feudal lords. After 1276, the Genoese added a watchtower, which later became the bell-tower of the church of San Giovanni Battista, a fine specimen of Ligurian Gothic architecture. On the same hill stands the seventeenth-century Capuchin monastery, which holds some works by Genoese artists (Cambiaso and Strozzi) and a crucifix from the school of Van Dyck. Eugenio Montale, the 1975 Nobel prize-winner for poetry, spent his childhood holidays here: the Literary Park that is dedicated to him takes you to the places and scenery which inspired some of the poet's earliest and most celebrated works. Then there is the Cinque Terre Marine Park. The seabed is very varied and at times quite spectacular, for example below Punta Mesco (the promontory at the far western end of the Cinque Terre). You are only allowed to go diving in certain areas and only if accompanied by a guide. This area is also a favourite seaside resort: holiday makers can enjoy sand and pebble beaches and rocky areas and can also practise canoeing and sailing. There is an efficient motorboat service connecting you with other parts of the Riviera. "Monterossina" is a sweet speciality made with cream, jam and chocolate; "sweet focaccia" (a mid-summer speciality) contains candied fruit, raisins and pine kernels; the "canestrelli" biscuits available on Palm Sunday are flavoured with fennel. The white wines and grappa of the Cinque Terre are very well known, although not so famous as "Sciacchetrà", a white liquor-like wine made with raisins.
Note: The above is an extracts taken from the official web-site of the Regione Ligure, Agriculture and tourism department - Tourist section.
Travel Hint: Travelling along the Italian Riviera to visit Liguria's coastal towns and cities is recommended by train - they are frequent, comfortable and generally on time. They also take you into the resort centres and give you an additional perspective and 'flavour' of Italian life. The car by contrast is not quite as practical and ideal as first appears. There are basically two roads along the Riviera, the 'autostrada' and the 'Aurelia'. Italian 'autostrada' can be fairly stressed environments and the coastal road (via Aurelia) is pretty in parts but very slow, passing through every little seaside town. Additionally, parking in most Ligurian coastal towns is not in abundance and can take much longer to find a space than ever imagined - during most of the year, not just in summer. With car-hire, petrol, motorway tolls and parking charges, the car soon becomes an expensive and less than ideal way of getting around - and more often than not, slower overall than the journey by train.
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Visit and explore mountains, mediterranean rivieras and one of
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Enjoy relaxed, independent walking
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Whatever you look for in the great
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