Surprising Day Trips from the Italian Riviera


One of the benefits of staying in one of Italy’s smallest regions means that in just a short time, you can explore some completely different regions (and countries!) as an easy day trip.

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Liguria is nestled between piedmont to the north, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany to the east and southeast, and France to the west, which provide some excellent opportunities to enrich your Riviera holiday.

Piedmont, or Piemonte in Italian, is one of Italy’s most fascinating regions. Home of some of the country’s most prestigious products (truffles and Barolo wine, anyone?) piedmont is a gastronomic dream. From Genova, you can be in the wine region of Gavi in about an hour. A half hour more, you are in the charming wine area of Asti and the truffle area of alba, piedmont is the birthplace of the slow food movement, and a must see for any travelers who make food a priority on their vacations. For more active visitors, Piedmont is also a great choice for a day tour by bicycle, riding through the sloping hills and picturesque vistas.

parmaOur food loving clients can’t miss the region Emilia Romagna as a day trip as well. Under 2 hours from the Cinque Terre and La Spezia area, you can arrive in elegant Parma and Piacenza quite easily, both of which famous worldwide for their food. Some of Italy’s most famous exports come from this region- prosciutto, parmigiano, lasagna, tortellini and balsamic vinegar. Coppa piacentina is less well known, but perhaps even more delicious, and gastronomes worldwide search out the prized culatello of Zibello. For visitors looking for a little more adrenaline, there are some other famous Italian names that have nothing to do with food- Lamborghini and Ferrari have museums and racetracks here as well!

marble cavesHeading to the south of Liguria, a very short ride from the La Spezia area, you can explore one of Italy’s most unique site- the marble caves of Carrara. Famous for some of the best marble in the world, visitors make the short trip to Tuscany where they can actually enter the caves (seasonally), and it’s a great trip for children and adults alike. It’s also fun to combine this with a bit of shopping in ritzy Viareggio or a stop to sample the famous lardo of colonnata. 

A little further in Tuscany, you can see one of Italy’s most identifiable sights by visiting the small city of Pisa. The leaning tower and it’s surrounding Miracles Square are on the “must see” list of many travelers, but this Tuscan city is also a nice stop on its own, with its wide and elegant shopping street and young, university vibe (thanks to one of the most famous Italian universities right in the city). 

monacoHeading west from the ponente part of Liguria, you are not just exploring another region, but you can make it into another country (or two) for the day. In just a few hours (2.5 from Genova) you will make it into France and then shortly after, Monaco. This part of the French Riviera has a strong Italian twist, thanks to its proximity to the border. Towns like charming Menton, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, the seaside city of Nice, mountaintop Eze and world famous, glittery Monte Carlo, are all feasible day trips from the western part of the Italian Riviera. Travelers searching for a beach day will be rewarded with some of the best beach clubs on the Riviera with a breathtaking view of the 3 countries (France, Monaco and Italy), and those searching for the picture perfect hilltop village will fall immediately in love with Eze.

Though Liguria offers visitors much to see, its small size and strategic location mean that it also offers many easy day trips for those looking to experience a different region of Italy, and in some cases, a different country altogether!

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