Liguria Region Italy: Map, Culture, and Cities to Visit

Liguria is a coastal region in northwest Italy located along the Ligurian Sea. It is bordered by France to the west, Piedmont to the north, and Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany to the east. Liguria is located at approximately 44°30’0.00″ N 8°49’59.88″ E and the current President of Liguria is Giovanni Toti, who took office in 2015. The region Liguria is known for its dramatic rocky coastline dotted with fishing villages and hillside towns, and its cuisine features seafood, olives, and pesto. The region’s major port city is Genoa.

Liguria has also been called the Italian Riviera for its stretch of coastline that resembles the more famous French Riviera. It occupies a thin coastal strip of around 300 miles along the Ligurian Sea between Cannes, France, and Livorno, Italy. 

The geography of Liguria consists of mountains that descend steeply into the sea, creating a rugged and dramatic coastline. The steep elevation means there are very few wide plains for agriculture. The main geographical attractions include the Italian Riviera with its beaches and seaside resort towns, the Maritime Alps along the French border with hiking trails, and the hilly interior dotted with medieval towns and villages.

Liguria has a long maritime history and culture. It was colonized by the ancient Ligures people and was later contested between rival city-states like Genoa and Pisa. Liguria is known for its seafood cuisine, pesto sauce, focaccia bread, and white wines from Bosco, Albarola, and Vermentino grapes.

The most important city in Liguria is Genoa, the region’s capital and largest city. Other popular tourist destinations include Portofino, the Cinque Terre, San Remo, and Portovenere. The mild climate, scenic coastline, and charming seaside villages make Liguria a popular vacation spot.

Where is Liguria region located in Italy? 

Liguria is located in the northwest part of Italy, situated along the Ligurian Sea. It is considered part of Northern Italy and borders France to the west and the Italian regions of Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, and Tuscany. 

Liguria’s location on the coast and its close proximity to France make it easily accessible for international travelers. The region contains one of the Italy’s largest seaport in Genoa, which serves as a major commercial hub. Nice Côte d’Azur Airport in France is only an hour’s drive from the Italian border.

Liguria’s extensive coastline and scenic landscapes of the Italian Riviera make tourism one of the most important industries. Popular seaside resort towns like San Remo, Portofino, and the Cinque Terre attract visitors from around the world.

What is the population of Liguria? 

As of 2023, the population of Liguria is estimated to be around 1,502,624 million people. The population density is around 277.4 inhabitants per square kilometer, higher than the national average. 

The birth rate has been declining in recent years. Liguria has one of Italy’s oldest populations, with over 28% of residents aged 65 years or older.

Tourism is a major industry for Liguria. According to the Italian Government Tourist Board, Liguria welcomed over 5 million tourists in 2021. The region’s extensive coastline and scenic landscapes draw visitors from around the world.

Map of Italy Liguria 

Map of Liguaria region of Italy


What are the Geographical features of Liguria?

Liguria covers a total land area of around 5,400 square kilometers. It stretches approximately 225 kilometers along the Ligurian Sea and is only 35 kilometers wide at its widest point.

The main geographical feature of Liguria is its rugged coastline dotted with beaches, fishing villages, and seaside resort towns. The steep mountains of the Ligurian Alps plunge dramatically into the sea, creating a scenic backdrop for the coast.

Some of the main geographical attractions include:

  • The Italian Riviera – This stunning coastline contains seaside resort towns like San Remo, Imperia, Alassio, and the Cinque Terre.
  • Maritime Alps – Part of the Ligurian Alps range along the French border with hiking trails and mountain villages. 
  • Portofino Promontory – A small peninsula jutting out into the sea with the charming fishing village of Portofino.
  • Gulf of La Spezia – A large protected gulf containing the naval port of La Spezia and the Cinque Terre. 
  • Appenine Mountains – The mountain chain that forms Liguria’s northern border with Emilia-Romagna. Includes hiking areas like the Aveto Natural Park.

The numerous natural harbors along the coast allowed the development of major Ligurian ports like Genoa, La Spezia, and Savona. These ports served as vital maritime trade hubs connecting with Spain, France, and Northern Italy. Today, they continue to play an important commercial role and also serve cruise ships and ferry traffic.

Sea and Coast of Liguria Region

Liguria is bordered by the Ligurian Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea located between Corsica and the Italian peninsula. The sea extends approximately 300 miles from the French island of Corsica to the Tuscan coast.

The Ligurian coast stretches approximately 225 miles (300 km) from Ventimiglia near the French border to La Spezia by the Tuscan border. It is known as the Italian Riviera and contains popular seaside destinations.

Some of the most famous stretches of the Ligurian coast include:

  • Cinque Terre – Five scenic fishing villages along steep cliffs overlooking the sea, connected by hiking trails. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Portofino – A small peninsula with the colorful fishing village of Portofino, luxurious villas, and scenic walking trails. 
  • San Remo – Liguria’s largest seaside resort with long sandy beaches, Belle Epoque architecture, and an annual music festival.
  • Alassio – A bustling holiday resort known as the “Pearl of the Riviera” with a beachfront promenade and historic center.
  • Imperia – Has a long seafront promenade lined with palm trees and a well-preserved medieval district. Home to the famous olive oil production.

The Ligurian Sea has historically been an important maritime trade route between Italy, France, and Spain. Today, it draws visitors with its picturesque fishing villages, beaches, seaside walking trails, and water activities like sailing, surfing, and scuba diving.

What are The most important port of Liguria?

The most important ports in Liguria are Genoa, La Spezia, and Savona

  • The Port of Genoa is the region’s largest seaport and one of the busiest in the Mediterranean. It serves as a major commercial shipping hub with around 2.7 million container  units handled each year, according to and has passenger terminals for cruise ships. The cruise port has connections to destinations across the Mediterranean and welcomes over 1 million cruise passengers annually. The Porto Antico, or old port, was renovated in the 1990s and now contains an aquarium, museums, shops, and restaurants.
  • La Spezia port is one of Italy’s largest naval ports and the closest port to the Cinque Terre. The cruise port terminal of La Spezia handles a growing number of cruise ship calls each year from lines like Celebrity, Holland America, and Costa. La Spezia is also a stopping point for cruise itineraries headed to Florence and Pisa.
  • The Port of Savona is located in northwest Italy, approximately halfway between Genoa and the French border. Savona Port  is another important commercial and passenger port located midway between Genoa and France. Costa Cruises has a homeport located here that provides regular cruise service to destinations in Italy, France, and Spain. The cruise terminal area features shops, restaurants, and services for cruise guests.

What are the most Famous Cities to Visit in Liguria? 

Liguria contains several famous cities that are popular tourist destinations thanks to their seaside resorts, medieval castles and villages, exciting nightlife, shopping, and cultural attractions. 

Based on visitor numbers, some of the most popular cities and towns to visit in Liguria include:

  • Genoa – The capital and largest city of the region. It is home to the largest medieval city center in Europe, museums, and Italy’s largest aquarium.
  • San Remo is Liguria’s biggest seaside resort with long sandy beaches, regal villas, casinos, and the annual San Remo Music Festival.
  • Portofino – The beautiful harbor town with pastel houses nestled on a peninsula is one of the Mediterranean’s top resort destinations.
  • Cinque Terre – Five picturesque villages clinging dramatically to cliffs overlooking the sea, connected by hiking trails.
  • Portovenere is a scenic fishing village set on a rugged peninsula with Byron’s Cave and medieval churches.
  • Rapallo is a historic seaside resort with a long promenade lined by palatial early 20th-century villas.
  • La Spezia is Liguria’s second-largest city and home to a naval port and cruise ship terminal near Cinque Terre.
  • Alassio – Lively holiday resort is known as the “Pearl of the Riviera” with a beach promenade and historic center.
  • Levanto is a charming medieval town with beaches, seafood restaurants, and a pathway to Cinque Terre.
  • Santa Margherita Ligure – Upscale resort town with a castle, marina, palm tree-lined waterfront, and ferry access.


Genoa is the capital of Liguria and the region’s largest city, with around 674,391 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. It is a major economic and commercial hub located on the Ligurian Sea.

As a popular tourist destination, Genoa draws over 925,000 Visitors annually. The city has an extensive medieval and Renaissance architectural heritage, including medieval walls, palaces, and a historic center storico (city center) designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Top attractions include the Aquarium of Genoa, one of Europe’s largest aquariums located in the Old Port, the Ducal Palace, the Accademia Gallery with works by Old Masters, and the House of Christopher Columbus. The Galata Maritime Museum offers exhibits on Genoa’s naval history.

Genoa has close connections with the sea and is home to the region’s largest seaport. Ferries provide transportation to destinations around the Mediterranean. The port also serves cruise ships, with passengers able to conveniently access the city’s museums, shops, and restaurants.

La Spezia 

La Spezia is the second largest city in Liguria, with a population of around 92,260 inhabitants. It is located on the Gulf of La Spezia and is home to one of Italy’s most important naval ports.

La Spezia has grown into a popular tourism destination thanks to its proximity to Ligurian resort towns and attractions like Cinque Terre, Portovenere, Lerici, and Portofino. The city contains a well-preserved medieval old town with pedestrian streets lined by shops and cafes. 

Top attractions include the Castello di San Giorgio, a 13th-century castle overlooking the harbor, and the Naval Technical Museum with exhibits on the history of the Italian Navy. As an embarkation cruise port, La Spezia offers easy access to Pisa, Florence, and northern Italy.

According to around 789,000 tourists visit La Spezia each year. New hotels, restaurants, and services have opened to accommodate increasing tourism numbers. La Spezia provides a convenient and affordable base to explore the Ligurian coast and Tuscan countryside.


Savona is an important seaport city located in western Liguria, approximately halfway between Genoa and the French border. It has a population of around 276.064 residents.

Savona has an attractive medieval center with cobbled streets, towers, galleries, and churches showcasing Ligurian art and architecture. The Fortezza del Priamar is a 16th-century fortress overlooking the old town and harbor.

As a popular beach destination, Savona draws visitors to its long sandy beaches dotted with bars and restaurants. The promenade stretches over 10 kilometers from the center to the neighborhoods of Albissola Marina and Bergeggi. 

Savona is also an important cruise port in the Mediterranean. Costa Cruises and other lines operate regular cruise departures from Savona to destinations in Italy, France, and Spain. This brings significant tourism to the city.

Between its historic ambiance, seaside appeal, and cruise ship traffic, Savona welcomes over 800,000 visitors each year who appreciate its Favorable climate 


Sanremo is a city on the Italian Riviera located in the western part of Liguria near the French border. With around 52,787 residents, it is among the region’s most populous city.

Sanremo is one of Italy’s leading seaside resorts thanks to its sunny climate, beautiful beaches, gardens, upscale neighborhoods, and famous casinos. An elegant promenade lined with lavish hotels and restaurants overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.

The city is famous for annually hosting the Sanremo Music Festival, one of Italy’s most prestigious song contests. Past performers at the event include Andrea Bocelli and Elton John.

Top attractions include the 12th-century San Siro Cathedral, the exotic gardens of Villa Ormond, and the medieval La Pigna district. Sanremo also has a well-known flower market selling locally grown flowers and plants.

Tourism is the leading industry in Sanremo, which draws around 300,000 visitors annually. The city provides panoramic sea views, vibrant nightlife, casinos, shopping, and easy access to nearby resort towns along the Riviera di Ponente.


Imperia is a coastal city located in western Liguria, near the French border. It was created in 1923 by merging the towns of Porto Maurizio and Oneglia together. Imperia has a current population of around 42,060 residents.

Imperia makes a great base to explore the western Riviera thanks to its seaside promenade, pleasant climate, oriental gardens, and proximity to coastal towns like San Remo. The port reflects the city’s maritime heritage.

Top attractions include the Parasio medieval district, the Basilica di San Maurizio church, and several museums. The town is known for its local olive oil production, with groves of olive trees covering the hillsides.

Imperia’s western neighborhoods stretch along the sunny Riviera dei Fiori, or Flower Riviera, backed by hills covered in olive groves. The coast has scenic walking trails passing through fishing villages and harbors. 


Rapallo is a historic resort town located on the Italian Riviera coast in eastern Liguria. It sits on the Gulf of Tigullio between the Portofino promontory and Chiavari.

With around 29,778 inhabitants, Rapallo is a quieter and more affordable alternative to other Riviera destinations. The scenic coast has beaches, marinas, and walking trails outside of town.

Rapallo’s charming medieval center remains mostly pedestrianized. Top attractions include the 16th-century castle housing the municipal museum, the late 19th-century cable car up to Montallegro sanctuary, and the historic seafront promenade lined by palatial Belle Epoque villas. 

The mild climate, scenic surroundings, and access to Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino make Rapallo a popular seaside retreat. It attracts approximately 160,000 visitors each year. The town has hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops, and services for an enjoyable beach town escape.


Chiavari is a municipality on the Italian Riviera located halfway between Genoa and La Spezia. It has a population of around 27,797 residents.

The historic town centers around Piazza Gagliardo, the main square surrounded by medieval arcades and colorful buildings. Top sites include the Baroque Cattedrale dell’Orto, with an original altarpiece by Veronese, and the 16th-century castle, now home to the city museum.

As a local seaside retreat, Chiavari has public beaches along the Riviera di Levante coast, waterfront promenades, and pedestrian streets lined with shops and gelato parlors. The town serves as a base for accessing Portofino and the Cinque Terre.

Chiavari hosts an annual literary festival in August called “Liguria delle Arti” that brings authors, artists, and musicians to town. There is also a festival dedicated to the antro del Cima, a unique local pasta dish, in September.

The mild climate, village charm, and access to the coast draw approximately 120,000 visitors annually to enjoy Chiavari and its surroundings.


Alassio is a popular seaside resort on the western Ligurian coast along the Riviera di Ponente. It earned the nickname “The Pearl of the Riviera” in the 19th century when wealthy tourists began vacationing there.

The town has sandy beaches dotted with beach clubs, bars, and restaurants along a scenic promenade overlooking the blue Mediterranean waters. The historic center still retains traditional Ligurian townhouses and churches.

Top attractions include the Muretto di Alassio, a painted wall along the pier depicting nearly 1000 celebrities who have vacationed in Alassio over the years. The town also has a small port, a bustling nightlife district, and shops selling jewelry and ceramics.

Alassio hosts summer events like the “Night of the Churches” music festival and an annual sand sculpture contest in July. Fireworks displays over the sea also entertain visitors during the peak summer months.

Tourism is crucial for Alassio, which sees around 750,000 visitors annually. Its luxurious hotels, lavish villas, beaches, and small-town charm continue to beckon travelers to this seaside resort.


Ventimiglia is a city located in western Liguria near the French border. It sits at the mouth of the Roia River with a population of around 25,400 residents.

As a border town, Ventimiglia has influences from both Italy and France. The city has cobblestone streets, piazzas, and medieval gates reflecting its Ligurian history. There is also a weekly street market with French vendors selling Provençal products.

Ventimiglia has over 20km of sandy beaches dotting its Mediterranean coastline. The Giardini Botanici Hanbury is an exotic seaside garden estate built by an English merchant in the 19th century.

Ventimiglia’s historic center contains remains of a Roman town and theater, the 11th-century San Michele Cathedral with Romanesque architecture, and pedestrian shopping lanes. Sidewalk cafes serve local dishes like brandacujun, a cod stew.

Ventimiglia sees around 160,000 visitors annually who enjoy its beaches, outdoor markets, historic ambiance, and easy access to France via the Ponte San Ludovico bridge over the Roia River.

Santa Margherita Ligure 

Santa Margherita Ligure is an upscale seaside resort located southeast of Genoa along the Italian Riviera in Liguria. It neighbors Portofino and is one of the area’s most popular vacation spots.

The attractive town has Belle Epoque architecture, tropical gardens, a castle, villas, and a marina nestled on a picturesque bay beneath green hills. It has a charming fishing village ambiance with an elegant and sophisticated flair.

Visitors stroll down the palm-lined oceanfront promenade, relax on the pebble beaches, or dine at the seaside cafes and restaurants serving fresh Ligurian cuisine. There are also scenic coastal trails leading to fishing villages and harbors.

Some of the main cultural attractions include the Abbey of Cervara, dating from the 1300s, Villa Durazzo with its Italianate gardens, and the 16th-century Castle of Santa Margherita.

Santa Margherita Ligure sees approximately 230,000 visitors annually. Tourism peaked during the 1950s when international celebrities like Aristotle Onassis maintained homes there. The town retains its prestige and sophistication as an Italian Riviera highlight.

What are the safest cities in Liguria to Visit?

According to crime and safety statistics, some of the safest cities to visit in Liguria include:

  • Sanremo – This upscale seaside resort on the Italian Riviera has very low crime rates and is considered quite safe for tourists. There is a visible police presence patrolling the beaches, parks, and tourist sites.
  • Rapallo – Located east of Genoa, Rapallo records few incidents of violent crime or theft. The pedestrian historic center and seaside parks are safe areas.
  • Sestri Levante – Situated on a peninsula between Genoa and La Spezia, this village is regarded as very safe. Violent crime is extremely rare.
  • Santa Margherita Ligure – This affluent resort destination has little violent crime and is heavily oriented toward tourism. There are lower risks for tourists.
  • Portofino – The luxury harbor town has a low crime rate thanks to its small population and reliance on tourism. Visitors can feel at ease strolling through town.
  • Cinque Terre – These five scenic villages report minimal crime activity. The biggest hazards are natural ones like landslides or slippery trails. Use caution when hiking between the towns.

Overall, Liguria has relatively low crime rates, especially in the coastal resort towns where tourism drives the local economy. Visitors who take normal precautions should feel safe. Follow basic safety tips like avoiding isolated areas at night.

What are the most dangerous cities in Liguria to Visit? 

According to recent crime statistics from, some of the most dangerous cities to visit in Liguria in terms of violent crime rates include:

  • Genoa – As a major metropolitan area, Genoa sees higher rates of violent crimes like mugging and assaults compared to other parts of Liguria. Exercise caution in areas like the Old Port and side streets off main avenues.
  • La Spezia – Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching occur regularly around the train station, markets, and tourist sites. Leave valuables in secure hotel rooms.
  • Ventimiglia – This border town has a rougher atmosphere and higher crime levels due to smuggling activity. The train station and pedestrian underpass have frequent theft.
  • Imperia – Old Town has some gang activity and youth delinquency. Muggings occasionally occur on remote pathways and beaches at night.
  • Savona – Violent crime has increased in recent years around the train station, parking areas, and poorly lit city parks.

While violent crime generally remains limited in Liguria, tourists should take extra care with valuables and be vigilant of petty theft risks in Genoa, La Spezia, and some coastal towns. Avoiding high-crime neighborhoods and dangerous areas at night can minimize risks.

What is the Best Time to Visit Liguria Region in Italy? 

Liguria enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, making it a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit depends on your preferences.

  • Spring (March-May) in Liguria offers pleasant temperatures around 60-70F and flowers blooming across the hillsides. Attractions are less crowded before summer. Prime season is May and June when all sites are open.
  • The Summer (June-August) in Ligura is peak season with warm 75-85F temperatures. All the seaside resorts are lively, and the beaches are packed, so booking ahead is essential. July and August can be hot, crowded, and expensive.
  • Fall (September-November) in Liguria region provides a memorable atmosphere with comfortable temperatures and fewer tourists. September still feels like summer, while November brings autumn foliage and rainfall. Some hotels and restaurants close after October.
  • The Winter in Liguria (December-February) is the low season with chilly, wet weather and some attractions closed. However, you’ll find fewer crowds and lower prices on hotels and flights. Christmas lights and Carnevale festivals add some liveliness.

Overall, the best times to visit Liguria region of Italy for good weather and fewer crowds are May, June, September, and early October. July and August bring heat, crowds, and higher prices.

What is the traditional food of Liguria? 

Ligurian cuisine is dominated by the region’s proximity to the sea and simple ingredients from the mountains and olive groves. Some highlights of Ligurian cuisine include:

  • Pesto – The basil, pine nut, and olive oil sauce originated in Genoa and is used on pasta, meats, and vegetables. Pesto alla Genovese has protected status.
  • Seafood – Anchovies, sardines, cod, shrimp, mussels, and octopus are popularly used in dishes like ciuppin (seafood stew).
  • Vegetable Dishes – Artichokes, zucchini, and eggplant are common in main courses and sides like torte di verdure. 
  • Rabbit and Chicken – These are traditionally cooked cacciatora style (with garlic, wine, olives). Coniglio alla Ligure is a rabbit with onions, tomatoes, and white wine.
  • Focaccia – The flat oven-baked bread comes in plain or herb and cheese varieties, originating in Genoa. Focaccia di Recco includes cheese.
  • Farinata – A baked flatbread made from chickpea flour, typical as a snack.
  • Pansotti – Pasta stuffed with vegetable fillings and served with walnut sauce.
  • Tiramisù – The no-bake dessert was invented in Liguria, using ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese.
  • Pigato – A refreshing white wine made from the Pigato grape, produced in the Riviera di Ponente.  

Liguria’s cuisine showcases the fresh seafood, fruits, herbs, and vegetables cultivated in this fertile coastal region. Restaurants in Genoa and the coastal towns pride themselves on excellent traditional Ligurian fare.

What are the most famous Ligurian wine brands? 

Liguria produces excellent white wines along its coast using native grapes like Pigato, Vermentino, and Albarola. Some of the most famous Ligurian wine brands include:

  • Pigato – A crisp, dry white made from the Pigato grape. Top brands are Riviera Ligure di Ponente Pigato DOC and U Berdin Pigato di Albenga.
  • Cinque Terre – Wine produced in the Cinque Terre region using Bosco and Albarola grapes. Brands like Walter de Batté and Buranco are found internationally.
  • Vermentino – A bright, citrusy white made from Vermentino grapes. Colterenzio Lafoa Premio, Cantine Lunae Bosoni Vermentino, and Bonamico Lerici Vermentino are award-winning labels. 
  • Rossese di Dolceacqua – A light-bodied red wine produced around Dolceacqua using the Rossese grape. Vias and Mauro are two reliable Dolceacqua wineries.
  • Golfo Del Tigullio – Wine produced in the Gulf of Tigullio from native grapes. Valleggia and Bisson are two quality Tigullio producers.
  • Riviera Ligure di Ponente – Denomination for wines produced in Liguria’s western Riviera, including red Ormeasco. Recommended labels are Terre Bianche and Poggio dei Gorleri.

Ligurian wines pair beautifully with the region’s herbs, seafood, and light dishes. Seek out bottles from reputable local producers to bring a taste of Liguria home with you.