‘Riviera’, deriving from the Latin word for ‘shore’, in Italian indicates a casual, although elegant, stretch of coast particularly appreciated by tourists. The Ligurian Riviera is the one of the crescent-shaped region of Liguria straddling between the south of France and Tuscany, where impressive mountains drop down into the Mediterranean. A tiara rich in colors and flavors merging here from the sea and the mountain, in which towns and villages are set as precious stones. However, the preciousness of many of these towns and villages is to be found in their unvarnished beauty, in their unpretentious, down to earth, almost idle way of life that allows, almost forces, you to slow down and appreciate all the beauty, the scents, the aromas that surround you, between a dip in the crystal-clear sea and one in the delicious flavors of amazing dishes. Yes, there are plenty of famous and touristy locations in this area, like San Remo or Cinque Terre, but what is even more fascinating is the abundance of less known, but nonetheless breathtaking, ones. One of them, where, among other things, you will be able to savor local seafood, as well as meats, fruits, and vegetables produced from the nearby mountains, skillfully mixed to create some of the best Italian food, is Ventimiglia, a Roman-era town just four miles from the French border.
The small town’s cobblestone streets have witnessed an incredible amount of history, but today the picturesque main street is lived mostly by the locals running errands between the stores, while children ride their bikes, laundry hangs from the clotheslines above, and the bells from the San Michele church keep the time. Here there is a lovely farmers market along the seafront, with a display of fresh produce, locally made cheeses and pasta, meats and fish that offers a hint of just why the food is so tremendous here. Everything is so ripe and perfect.
Ilona Catani Scarlett