Days out on the Italian Riviera

There are plenty of places along the Italian Riviera for a long weekend or to just spend the day!

Ventimiglia market is probably the most well-known place to visit for residents on the French Riviera. Just over the border, the market takes place each Friday and is a great place to pick up a bargain from shoes and accessories to leather goods. It is however, pretty well-known for it’s pickpockets too so it’s advisable to keep a tight grab on bags and not carry anything in your back pockets. It can get crowded and traffic can be heavy, but there are regular trains from the main towns right through to Ventimiglia itself.

For a weekend, Le Cinque Terre is a must see. It is a series of five picturesque fishing villages – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso – linked by scenic mountainside paths and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves.  The area is ideal for walkers, as well as those interested in diving and fishing. To get there, a train service is available from Genoa.

Just east of Genoa, is the beautiful town of Portofino, with its pastel-coloured houses and its harbour accommodating sleek yachts. The coast surrounding Portofino is a protected area with rich biodiversity, including red coral and sponges. Many sporting facilities are available to visitors, including sailing, tennis, golf and hiking. Portofino can be reached by train from Genoa or by shuttle bus from the nearby resort of Santa Margherita.

If you’re looking for somewhere to take the kids, the Genoa Aquarium (Acquario di Genova), reproduces the natural habitats of the Mediterranean and world oceans with 50 different tanks and 1,000 different species. The most well-known attractions include the penguins, red sea tank, seals and sharks. Many workshops and special events are organised for school children. There is a children’s marine club to introduce youngsters to the sea and marine protection, and the aquarium also has its own research council.

For something historic, the Palazzo Ducale Centro Didattico was the seat of the first Genovese Doge, and is one of the main historic buildings in Genoa. It houses important art displays, as well as permanent jazz, photography and cinema exhibits. For the kids there are creative art workshops. Tourist groups may also request specific workshops at the educational centre to complement a visit to one of the exhibitions or the palace itself.