Liguria is almost as famous as Tuscany in the American traveler’s mind for the magnificent and almost over-heralded Cinque Terre, a stretch of five towns, unreachable by road, along a spectacular stretch of coast well traveled by the college degree-and-backpack-in-hand crowd, located about half an hour south of the famous Portofino and about an hour and a half southeast of the border of France. The food in Liguria is famous for its delicate and floral fragrance. Ligurian oil is among the most delicate in Italy and is also known for its late harvest and release, often in January or February.


Located halfway between Genoa and Pisa, the coastal Ligurian town of La Spezia is one of few significant military and commercial harbors on the peninsula. The region is also home to the wine appellation Colli di Luni. Lately I’ve tasted a number of nice whites (also based on vermentino) from the Colli di Luni, but also interesting are some light, spicy reds that incorporate the bright, cherry-scented ciliegiolo grape, which is also found in coastal Tuscany.