Italy, Part II: On the Road & Liguria

En route from Tuscany to its northwest neighbouring region Liguria, destined for Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino, I saw that every route is a scenic one. The motorways cut through beautifully brutish mountains, colossal peaks peppered with the chartreuse complexion of pines, oaks and Cypress trees. On overcast days, these scenes are swamped by a thick blanket of mist, a mystifying sight which snakes across the dunes and cloaks the small villages and lonesome homes which nest on the hilltops.

What Santa Marghertia Ligure and Portofino lack in size, they make up for in opulence. Comunes in the Metropolitan City of Genoa, these striking villages and their harbours have garnered international attention as popular holiday resorts for celebrities seeking tranquility and a sedate sense of luxury on the panoramic shore.


Santa Margherita Ligure
Church Santa Margherita d'Antiochia (Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary) is a Catholic basilica and site of worship to the comune's patron saint, built on the ruins of a church dating back to the 13th century in the central piazza.
Italy is full of stunning churches, but Santa Margherita is a truly breathtaking spectacle. Were it to have been in any of the country's major cities, the exterior of Santa Margherita would most likely go unnoticed - undoubtedly a stunning example of baroque architecture, only without the mixture of coloured marble seen in Pisa or Florence, for example. Stepping inside, however, is like walking into a fairytale. The intricate central nave, adorned with priceless works of art and frescoes, is complimented by crystal chandeliers bathed in the iridescence of the duomo's stained glass windows.


Portofino

Portofino has a population of roughly 416 people, whose pastel coloured residencies are crammed into an area no bigger than a square mile and their main mode of transport to nearby towns and villages are the boats parked casually at the harbour. Crags lined with olive trees join the halcyon waves of the azure waters that hem the former fishing village, a scene which charmed the European aristocrats in the 19th century who would evolve the area into the fashionable resort it is today.

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