A gorgeous Riviera long overlooked by tourists and all the more glorious: Why HARRIET SIME dreamed during the lockdown of Liguria in Italy
- Harriet Sime of the Daily Mail recalls a trip to Liguria in northwestern Italy that is often overlooked by tourists
- She remembers enjoying plates of seafood linguine by the sea and visiting the city’s famous casino
- Other fond memories are a day on one of the most beautiful bike paths in Europe.
With a knowing smile, the waitress asks in broken English: “Another one?” We come to this cliff-top bar every afternoon so she knows the answer.
The result is our Aperol cocktails with even more starters. This time it’s purple Taggiasca olives and thick platters of tortenverde, a local cake made from cheese, eggs and vegetables that is baked in a thin crust of olive oil and served for breakfast, lunch or as an afternoon snack.
Liguria, in northwestern Italy, has long been overlooked by British tourists in favor of its dazzling neighbors. France’s glamorous Côte d’Azur in the west and the pastel-colored mountain towns of Cinque Terre in the east.
Colorful: Harriet Sime of the Daily Mail remembers that she went to Sanremo (picture) to get plates of linguine with seafood
And what a blessing that is. We rarely hear English accents and are forced to use our terrible Italian everywhere.
We spent the day on a 15 mile bike path that runs along an old coast line. It is one of the most beautiful routes in Europe, between the sparkling Mediterranean Sea and the hedges full of electric pink bougainvilleas.
On the way we stop to take a bath. First, I climbed down a collection of jagged rocks before diving, then, an hour later, I crawled across a tiny pebble beach and threw ourselves gracefully into the water, leaving our bikes in some bushes nearby.
Back on the route, we pass women wearing floating dresses and ruby red lipstick, and leather-skinned old men slowly pedaling alongside their little dogs.
Light, dark, light, dark; The tunnels come frequently and offer us a short break from the sun. The Alps plunge into the sea here, protecting this stretch of coast from the cool northern air and creating one of the most moderate places in Italy.
We are in the mountain village of Castellaro near the main square, best experienced in the morning, when men gesticulate over the first espressos of the day and older women clap on benches shaded by lemon trees.
Poker Face: Harriet said she always felt glamorous visiting the city’s famous – and very great – casino
Tonight we enjoy fried zucchini flowers on the terrace before heading to Sanremo to enjoy plates of linguine with seafood by the sea. Later we visit the city’s famous casino, which always makes us feel so glamorous.
These evenings end with ice cream, sticky hands, and a stroll along the palm-lined marina to treat the permanently tanned yacht guests to champagne while ordering from tired-looking staff.
Our coming days will look similar. Perfetto.