Reviews & Notes about Genoa, Liguria, Italy

"In Genoa (originally published as The Traders of Genoa), players take the part of Renaissance traders, moving about the city acquiring goods and filling orders for goods. Messages need to be delivered and privileges obtained. Of course, none of this can be accomplished on one's own. Much negotiation and deal-making is the order of the day in an effort to become the richest deal-maker in Genoa. Flexible rules allow for negotiating almost everything in the game."

"I don't usually pick a destination just to eat there. Ok, that's a lie. Truth: I don't usually pick a restaurant based on its outside appearance. But this little place, tucked back in a Genova alley, had traditional and family-run written all over it. (The jackpot when dining in Italy!) Genoa is the birthplace of pesto -- there is even a specific basil grown in the soil here that makes the pesto you eat here truly authentic and unlike any other in the world. Best served on a bowl of steaming hot fresh pasta. Trattoria Da Maria is a perfect place to have the experience. Truly unforgettable!"

"I almost overlooked Genoa — as most do. Not a lot of travelers talk about it — the gritty port city is all too often overshadowed by its sisters Venice, Florence, Rome, even Milan. And when travelers do get to this region, they’re almost always bound for Cinque Terre (because how could they not?) Genoa is a destination in its own right! The birthplace of pesto and focaccia, its buildings tower over the piazzas and small alleyways. Though at first it may seem a little rough around the edges, Genoa has the beauty and history of any great Italian city, and I might argue...a bit more character and heart."

"Maybe it's not the easiest place to reach, but if by any chance you'll be in Sestri Levante one day, take a good book and walk to Punta Manara. We've been here for the first time last October (even though I've been spending my summer holidays in Sestri Levante since I was a child) and we stayed all day long on this very rock, reading a book with a feeling of peace that I have hardly experienced before."

"There's plenty of peaceful, beautiful, quiet villages in Italy. Here's one. On driving trips in Europe we like to sort of meander, using nothing more than a paper map. It means we stumble upon places we otherwise wouldn't."

"Train is THE best way to travel in Cinque Terre. Inexpensive, fast, and takes you right to the nice parts of town. Park at Levanto station for easiest access."

"The No 2 path was closed so we had taken the No 8 from Vernazza to Monterosso Al Mare. We had hiked for a long, long time up a steep, steep hill. Needless to say sugar levels were running a touch low once we reached this beautiful hill top monastery. So we were very, very hungry. Luckily we had taken supplies with us - focaccia fresh from the Vernazza bakery that morning, smeared with lashings of pesto, and topped with prosciutto and tomato. It tasted so so good."

"The Monterosso-Vernazza stretch of the Cinque Terre hike is, allegedly, the most difficult stretch–though the most difficult part was passing slower hikers. Often, you would literally hold each others’ shoulders in order to pass on a narrow ridge. In reality, it’s not a tough trail by any measure. But: hiking in Italy in June? I think I’ll go for a swim."

"We pretty much cook our own food when we travel. Partly because it allows us to explore the markets and appreciate local produce, and partly because the money we save enables us to travel more! But it is tradition that the last night in any spot we stay is a dinner out. We spend our time investigating all the local restaurants, translating menus, comparing ambience and finally choosing the place for our last supper. In Vernazza we were spoilt for choice but just had to spend our final evening in the square on the harbour (to the left of this photo). We indulged in stuffed anchovies, spaghetti a la mare and tiramisu. Afterwards we strolled along the breakwater taking in the view back towards this beautiful beautiful town."

"I chose Vernazza out of all the Cinque Terre towns because it had a beach. Afterall the kids were on holiday too and being mad Aussie beach goers if there was the chance to include a swim in our Italian adventures it couldn't be missed. The water was a touch cool but it didn't stop them having a swim after this first try at the water. My daughter is part dolphin and spent hours in the water - my son (who doesn't quite have the same inbuilt insulation) also enjoyed it but exited the water with his legs quite blue and very bumpy (also a great photo but not worthy of Findery)."

"Being a travel freak I am not necessarily a travel show freak - I find them frustrating because they often focus on the mainstream and the expensive. But one time when channel surfing I did stop to watch - they were on a little boat zipping along the Italian coast talking about the Cinque Terre. Knowing that an Italian trip was in the pipeline I took note and instantly came to the conclusion that this had to be on our list of places to visit. We stayed in a little apartment high up above the main street. It was basic and clean - its crowning glory was an outdoor patio where we had uninterrupted views of the whole township and down the coast. Needless to say we spent most of our time in the apartment out here, watching the farmers on the terraced hillsides, listening to the church bells, chatting to the huge seagulls as they played in the air next to us, and (most importantly) peering down into the main street to see when the focaccia shop opened. I had my 41st birthday here - definitely memorable. Of all the places we visited in Italy this was number one for all of us."

"I turned 50 in September. Normally that would be a cringer, but let's face it: it beats the alternative. My husband decided it would be a birthday I would not forget. He planned a trip to Italy and we went hiking in the Cinque Terre region. It was my dream to see the view of Vernazza with my own eyes. September 20, 2013 was a hot day and the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza was a hard (but empowering) hike. We deliberately planned to do this segment on my birthday. And we did. I have had many lovely birthdays, but there is no topping this one. I've got five years to plan his 50th . . . any suggestions?"

"Beautiful shot sister. I look forward to doing some travelling with you guys again, hopefully in the near future. Mean while we will continue to enjoy our Canadian scenery."

"The day before we had completed a huge walk from Vernazza over the hills to Monterosso Al Mare. We had to take the high road along the No 8 path because the low road was closed due to land slippage. We thought - OK we're good walkers, the kids can handle it... - maybe we should have been worried when the guy in the National Park office remarked as we left ... 'You do have a phone with you, right?' But we survived (with the help of many, many focaccias) and decided this day to venture in the other direction - to Corniglia. Feeling rather infallible after our previous hike we pushed our way along an increasingly rough path. Dad in front, kids in the middle, me following up the rear. My husband was being his usual encouraging, cheerful self but as we progressed his voice took on what I fondly call his 'Captain Kev' tone - there was some risk to our safety here but he didn't want to say anything. Only in retrospect did we appreciate exactly how precipitous the path had been - this is one of the few photos taken along that stretch."

"I had heard there was a hidden beach between Vernazza and Corniglia, but the Sentiero Azzurro ("Blue Trail") is high above the water at that point. I could see that the shoreline down below was beautiful and empty, though, so when I spotted a cardboard sign reading simply “mare” on the trailside I had to follow. The descent down the unmarked sidetrail was steep and overgrown. There were moments when the next turn was simply my best guess and points where I had to crawl under bushes on my hands and knees for meters at a time. The beach at the end was worth it. But going back up was trickier. At either end of the beach were rock walls open only by abandoned railway tunnels. I found several trails that seemed to go nowhere, but not the trail I had come down on. I made my best guess and started bushwhacking. The thing about climbing over a two-meter stone wall is that you think, “OK, one isn’t too bad but if there’s any more of these I’ll turn back.” But by the next one it’s simply: “I’ve come this far already.” And that’s how I came to burst back onto the trail covered in leaves, sweat, and bloody scratches, surprising several German grandmothers. My shoes fell completely apart within days. Later that afternoon I met some Dutch hikers who had been to the same beach. After a beat, I said, “How did you get out?” “Wasn’t that crazy?” they asked. “When the locals told us to go through the railway tunnel we thought they were messing with us. They said, ‘It’s only a kilometer–stick out your hand and follow the wall.'” So that’s the better way access Guvano Beach."

"I actually WAS reaching for my iPhone when I saw this sign. We had just gotten off the train and climbed the stairs to the town (many MANY stairs). We were looking for a place to have a refreshing drink and saw this sign. So many of us truly are losing this ability - the ability to stop, disconnect from the Internet and see what (and who) is around us. We need to get back to that. We stopped into this wifi-free zone and enjoyed a cool drink in the shade. The view was stunning. And no one died because we didn't "check in"."

"Coming from the north, this is the fourth of the five Cinque Terre villages. I actually arrived well before sunset, but–exhausted from the long hike (landslides had closed the coastal trail, so I had to go up and over the ridge)–I took a nap when I arrived here. Had some focaccia and gelato and, when the sun was just getting right, posted up with my camera."

"Stumbled upon the most beautiful of mosaics in Manarola's town square. A quiet spot on the way down from the train station, it is decorated with lovely mosaic coloured fish that represents fish in that can be seen and caught locally."

"Manarola is one of the five towns in Cinque Terre in the province of La Spezia in Italy. All five towns are equally beautiful, but Manarola is smaller and has a cooperative winery called La Cantina Sociale. If you go, you can try the four dry white local wines and the local authentic schiaccetra, the local sweet wine for around 10 euro. It's a cute little place with a lovely owner who is fun to chat with, and you get little snacks with your wine as well. When you get into Manarola, walk down the tunnel & up the main street (it's a pretty steep hill), and get on the shuttle (costs 1.50 euro). Tell the bus driver that you're going to La Cantina Sociale. It's open from Monday to Saturday from 07:00-19:00 and Sunday from 19:00-12:30 and 14:30-19:00. After, take the shuttle back down and take a walk up to one of the points where you can see a view of the entire ocean, the cliff side, and the neighboring town of Riomaggiore. (photo of: Vernazza, La Spezia, Italy)"

"Luogo incantevole sia fuori dal locale che dentro, gli ambienti sono tre: le stanze del ristorante, il cortile, la "stalla" dove si mangia e si ascolta la musica jazz dal vivo (il giovedi). I tavoli sono ben separati, il servizio efficente ed i luoghi sono puliti. La cucina riprende per certi versi la tradizione locale, per certi altri rielabora famosi piatti della tradizione italiana, si aggiungono al menu notevoli carni alla griglia, da sottolineare la qualita' di salumi e formaggi e la possibilita' in stagione di cene con tartufo. Carta dei vini discreta. Luogo di grande fascino si presta al week end romantico per la possibilita' di dormire presso l'affittacamere davanti al ristorante. Meglio in inverno per chi cerca la pace, meglio in estate per chi ama le escursioni in collina."

"An entry point to Cinque Terre - take the ferry from Portovenere, for about 25EUR, which includes unlimited trips between the 5 villages. Get there early to get decent parking."

Hotels at the centre of Genoa, Liguria, Italy