Liguria is the perfect region for a weekend trip by electric car. You’ll be struck by the superb cuisine, you’ll discover towns and cities perched upon the sea, and you’ll hear many stories and legends. Yes, Liguria has much to tell you: mysteries, curiosities, and stories of bygone times. For example, did you know that Portovenere is constructed largely of local Portoro marble? This is only a taste of what a long weekend in Liguria can give.
Day 1: from Genoa to Lavagna
Our tour could only begin in beautiful Genoa and so, after charging the car at the Plenitude + Be Charge charging point in Piazza Giuseppe Verdi, we set off to discover the city. Immediately, we enter Genoa’s alleyways, a labyrinth of narrow streets (and a peculiarity of the city of Genoa) to lose ourselves in, where we can be enveloped in an authentic and cultured atmosphere.
Some of the streets are winding, others are very narrow indeed, dark with historic votive chapels. It seems that there’s a world in every alleyway and this conveys the life of the people of Genoa, among old boutiques, ancient bakeries and new stores.
After being in the heart of the city, we want to have a look at it all from up high. So, we continue our Genoese tour by visiting two places that the Genoese themselves say are perfect observation points: Spianata Castelletto and Palazzo Rosso.
You can stop at Spianata Castelletto for as long as you want. It’s the ideal place to relax and admire the city. However, you can only stop for a limited time at Palazzo Rosso’s viewpoint, the highest point from which you can observe the city, and it also has limited capacity. In any case both observation points give you a marvellous view over the city and deserve your time.
At this point, it’s time to have a traditional Genoese aperitif, the asinello. This is a very sweet wine, infused with 16 herbs, accompanied by pieces of Ligurian focaccia bread. The best place to try it is ‘il bar degli asinelli’, amid the alleyways, immersed in an atmosphere that catapults you into the past.
We can’t leave Genoa without seeing Boccadasse, a picturesque quarter, brightly coloured and with a flavour of the sea – for me, this is place to leave your heart. It’s an oasis of peace because despite being a short distance from the city centre, it almost seems to be a place out of time, with its collection of multi-coloured houses just a few metres from the beach, its docked boats, and the bathers who come out as soon as the temperature rises even slightly.
We make the most of our brilliant day with a walk that is so pleasurable that we are struck with the desire to stop and taste some fresh fish specialities. After this deluxe taste of the beauty and traditions of Genoa, it’s time to get back in the electric car and set off for Lavagna. You can reach Lavagna in around 40 minutes (40km). Lavagna is the ideal base from which to explore part of the Ligurian coast.
Day 2: from Lavagna to Recco, with a stop at Moneglia
After waking up naturally and a light breakfast (no mean feat given all the great food we’re presented with), we set off for a day’s exploration. The main stop is Recco, around half an hour away by car, to taste its celebrated focaccia bread. But first, we stop along the road to discover some of the little beaches that are hidden along the coastal road between Sestri and Portofino.
The allure of Recco focaccia is very strong, so as soon as the clock strikes midday we head to O Vittorio, a restaurant that’s a Recco institution. This is where Recco’s focaccia story begins and, before trying it, we’ll find out a bit more about its secrets.
We find out that focaccia is actually a really old historic dish that Recco has then enhanced by adding cheese, making it known throughout the world. Today, Recco focaccia is a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) product – as shown by the stamp you see in restaurants that offer original focaccia.
All that’s left for us to do is to taste this delicacy and, yes, we can confirm that it’s absolutely delicious. We have to ask for seconds.
In the afternoon we move on to Moneglia to see a section of the celebrated red carpet and to go for a walk along the sea before sunset, then heading to the very pretty town centre. We’ll stop for dinner, in one of the excellent fish restaurants. Then we’ll return to Lavagna.
Day 3: a boat trip to Portofino, San Fruttuoso and Camogli
The third day is entirely dedicated to the sea. We arrive in Sestri and then set off on an excursion along the coast on board a boat piloted by a professional guide who has a great deal of knowledge of the area.
Liguria is beautiful by car, but it also has to be seen by boat, to enjoy the splendour of its coastline. We were lucky enough to see some dolphins along the way before reaching our first stop: the world-famous town of Portofino.
Despite it being low season, it’s impossible not to be captivated by what’s in front of you, and its collection of multi-coloured houses surrounded by luxuriant greenery. We stop to take a few photos, then set off again for San Fruttuoso, with its incredible crystal-clear waters of an unbelievable shade of blue. You’ll find the Christ of the Abyss – a submerged statue – in these waters, and the more courageous visitors will dive even in low season to see it, swimming between schools of fish.
The beach at San Fruttuoso also deserves a visit; the beach is dominated by an abbey whose origins are still unknown. According to legend, the abbey was constructed by Giustino, a priest, after he saw an apparition of San Fruttuoso (St. Fructuosus) who told him that he should build an abbey close to a water source.
As I’ve already written, Liguria is rich in legends and what makes this trip even better is to have them told to us by people from the area. The final boat stop before returning is the alluring and multi-coloured Camogli, where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon we return to Sestri and from there we drive to La Spezia, where we charge our car at the charging point in Via Dalmazia and stop for the evening.
Day 4: from La Spezia to Portovenere
We’ll spend the last day of our trip exploring the picturesque Portovenere, a jewel in the Gulf of Poets. From La Spezia we head for nearby Portovenere and immediately make a beeline for a snack of Ligurian focaccia before losing ourselves in the town’s multi-coloured alleyways.
And if Portovenere is characterised by its rainbow-coloured houses, on entering the town you’re struck by the noticeable presence of a material of a completely different colour: Portoro, the local marble (which I mentioned at the beginning of this article).
Portovenere deserves to be discovered slowly, exploring its alleyways, Doria Castle, the Church of San Lorenzo, and stopping for a relaxing break by the sea. In the afternoon we say goodbye to Liguria, but we’re sure that we’ll be back soon. Because Liguria is a unique spectacle, in every season.
Article by Manuela Vitulli