ITALIAN RIVIERA GUIDED TOUR
THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: AN OPEN AIR TOUR IN LIGURIA, WITHIN SEA AND ROLLING LANDSCAPES, AUTHENTIC VILLAGES, GARDENS AND HISTORICAL PARKS, TRAILS AND CYCLE PATHS.
DAY 1: BETWEEN GARDENS AND CHARMING VILLAGES: THE HANBURY BOTANICAL GARDENS AND DOLCEACQUA
After breakfast, transfer by private coach to Genoa. Before arriving, you will stop in Pegli and enjoy the visit of the Hanbury Botanical Gardens, which cover an area of about 18 hectares, situated a few kilometers from the French border.
The Gardens were created in 1867, when Thomas Hanbury purchased the ancient Orengo Palace and the land owned to transform it into an acclimatization garden of exotic plants.
The headland enjoys an exceptionally mild climate, with winter lows rarely reaching 0 degrees Celsius; the existence of different microclimates has facilitated the planting and acclimatization of essences from different latitudes.
The tour is also made irresistible by the architectural elements scattered inside the property including statues, fountains, stairs and small arches.
You will continue the tour with the visit of the hillside Medieval village Dolceacqua. The Castle of the Doria overlooks the old part of the village. The modern part, called Borgo, develops on the opposite bank of the river Nervia, which is crossed by the Ponte Vecchio, formed by a single round arch 32 meters long, built in 1400. The French painter Claude Monet found Dolceacqua, with its half-ruined castle and high-arched bridge, particularly evocative and painted several scenes of this village and the Italian Riviera.
In the evening, transfer to a hotel or farmhouse near Sanremo, dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 2: BIKE-TOUR FROM OSPEDALETTI TO BUSSANA (12 KM) & VISIT OF SANREMO AND BUSSANA VECCHIA
The “Ponente ligure” is both a cycling and pedestrian path. This 24 Km long route is comfortably flat and fun for everyone. It was created after the old railway line from Ospedaletti to San Lorenzo al Mare was relocated and it runs along the Ligurian Coast.
After a hearty breakfast, transfer by private bus to Ospedaletti. You will enjoy your bike-tour (or e-bike-tour, if required) that will let you discover and enjoy impressive scenery and let you breathe the sea air.
After 6 Km, first stop in Sanremo: this town is well known because it hosts the most famous Italian song contest “Festival di Sanremo”. It is also very important because of the valuable flower crops and the beautiful Art Nouveau villas.
You will enjoy a guided visit of the Gardens of Villa Ormond with their rich exotic vegetation and the unmissable Japanese Garden.
You will continue to make your ride towards Bussana Vecchia, 6 Km away from Sanremo. This village is set on a hill, 2 Km from the cycle-path: you can decide to reach it by your bicycle, on foot or you could take advantage of your private coach.
Bussana Vecchia is a small charming village with a magical atmosphere: perched on a hill between Arma di Taggia and Sanremo, the town was half destroyed by a violent earthquake in 1887. In the 1960s the village slowly began to repopulate with artists, painters, sculptors, artisans, poets; several houses were rearranged as workshops and Bussana Vecchia soon became an “International Village of Artists”.
You will have free time for lunch and for visiting the village. In the afternoon, transfer by coach to Taggia, a small medieval village that is home of the Taggiasche olives. You will visit an ancient typical oil mill and taste this esteemed olive oil.
Return to the hotel, dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 3: PARK OF VILLA DURAZZO PALLAVICINI AND THE MONUMENTAL CEMETERY OF STAGLIENO
After Breakfast, transfer by private coach to Genoa. Before arriving you will stop in Pegli and visit the wonderful Historical Park of Villa Durazzo Pallavicini. Home to the Museum of Ligurian Archaeology and to the Botanical Garden, the romantic Park is one of Europe’s most important historical gardens.
It was carried out between 1840 and 1846 according to the project of the architect Michele Canzio. The project led to the creation of a work that is now considered one of the highest expressions of the 19th century romantic garden style; thanks to Canzio’s interpretation, he created a pathway inspired by the theatre, arranged over a series of acts and scenes. Visitors find themselves winding down paths surrounded by Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic and rustic architecture, fringed with palm trees, exotic plants, holm-oaks and laurels.
After the guided tour, you will continue the journey with the visit of The Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno. It is considered one of the most beautiful, fascinating cemeteries in Europe and a veritable open-air museum. The Cemetery became a must-see for many famous people of the time (i.e., Nietzsche, Guy de Maupassant, Mark Twain, Hemingway …), who were enraptured by the beauty of the monuments and the charm of a timeless place.
You will then be transferred to the hotel in Genoa, dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 4: THE TIGULLIO PARK: RAPALLO, THE ABBEY OF SAN FRUTTUOSO AND PORTOFINO
This journey is suitable both for trained and less trained people: after your boat transfer to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, you could then decide to reach Portofino whether on foot on a charming hiking trail in the Tigullio Park or continue by boat.
After breakfast, you will leave for Rapallo and enjoy your special trip in the Tigullio Gulf.
Boat transfer from Rapallo to San Fruttuoso, a small fishing village located in a splendid bay at the foot of Mount Portofino which can only be reached by sea or by hiking trails, there is no road access.
The extraordinary spot is dominated by the Abbey of “San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte”. This splendid monument has extremely old origins, dating back to the 8th century. The church and the annexed monastery which were damaged by the Saracens gained importance when they were rebuilt by the Benedictines in the 10th century. Subsequently, in the 13th century the Abbey fell under the patronage of the powerful Genoese Doria family, who built the current structure.
After the visit of The Abbey, you will continue your way to Portofino: you could continue by boat or decide to hike to Portofino (2h ½) guided by an expert environmental guide. This itinerary is very scenic and does not present significant difficulties, but it should be noted that the final section consists of a staircase of large stone and concrete steps that goes down through the vegetation.
Once in Portofino you will gather with the rest of the group and enjoy free time.
Portofino was a traditional, small, secluded fishing village. The tranquil harbor is filled with gleaming sailboats and larger luxury vessels. The shore is lined with rows of quaint fisherman houses that vary in cheerful pastel colors and stylish bars and cafes.
After the visit, boat transfer to Rapallo and then coach transfer to your hotel. Dinner and overnight stay.
DAY 5: HOME JOURNEY
Breakfast in hotel and departure for your home-journey.
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