Liguria, Italy

Liguria is an Italian region with ordinary statute in north-western Italy of 1 502 943 inhabitants, with the capital Genoa. It is bordered to the south by the Ligurian Sea, to the west it borders with France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region), to the north with Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna and to the south-east with Tuscany. The region is part of the Alps-Mediterranean Euroregion. The borders of the current administrative region largely coincide with the area governed by the Republic of Genoa, and were reached when the provinces of Genoa and Porto Maurizio reached an extension similar to that of the current region.

The term "Liguria" to indicate this area became established only in the course of the contemporary age: until the end of the eighteenth century and for most of the nineteenth, "Genoese" was the name used to indicate the territory of the maritime republic, and its inhabitants they called themselves "Genoese". Liguria on the other hand, until that time was a word of scholarly language, and was used to indicate a region of the Roman era, larger than the current Liguria, of which today's region with the capital Genoa constituted only a part.

Up until 1860 the administrative district of Liguria, which had been part of the Kingdom of Sardinia since 1815, also included the County of Nice, then ceded to France following the Treaty of Turin of 24 March 1860 with the exception of the district of Sanremo and that of Porto Maurizio, which became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

According to a commonplace, Liguria is sandwiched between the sea and the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Apennines: consequently the region could be reduced to two coastal strips, east and west of Genoa: the Riviera di Ponente and the Riviera di Levant. In reality, Liguria also includes large portions of territory tributary of the Po basin north of the Alpine-Apennine ridge (about 28% of the regional area belongs to the Po basin) and almost all of the maritime hinterland, the long stretch of coast between the historic borders with France (Rio San Luigi near Grimaldi di Ventimiglia) and the lower Magra valley around Sarzana and Aulla (MS): however, this eastern border appears less defined, as it only partially coincides with the lower course of the river Lean and includes part of the coastal plain of Luni.

To an administrative criterion (according to which at least everything located south of the Alpine-Apennine ridge in the Grimaldi-Mortola/Passo del Bracco section should be considered Ligurian) some marginal areas of the territory of "physical" Liguria are subtracted, historical-political reasons belong to other regional or state administrations; this is the case of the middle and upper Val Roia (long disputed between the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Provence and the Duchy of Savoy and now administratively French, after having been Ligurian and Piedmontese) and the upper valleys of the Pennavaira and Neva streams (with the villages di Alto, Caprauna and Cerisola which, while remaining in the economic-commercial sphere of influence of the city of Albenga, were controlled for a long time by the Duchy of Savoy and then included in the Province of Cuneo).

The Oltregiogo in the province of Alessandria with Novi Ligure, Ovada, Arquata Scrivia which includes part of the Orba, Lemme, Scrivia, Borbera and Spinti valleys is historically and linguistically linked to Liguria. Oltregiogo was part of the Republic of Genoa until 1797, then of the Ligurian Republic until 1805 and after the restoration of the Province of Novi, part of the Division of Genoa. It was annexed to Piedmont after the Rattazzi decree of 1859. The island of Capraia was part of Liguria until 1925 and of the Archdiocese of Genoa until 1977.

Liguria is a region of great tourist attraction for its anthropic and natural beauties, among which - to the west - the Riviera dei Fiori and - to the east - Portofino, the Cinque Terre and Porto Venere.


Territories and tourist destinations

Liguria is divided into two regions:
Riviera di Ponente — Sanremo and Riviera dei Fiori. Palm Riviera.
Riviera di Levante — Portofino and the Gulf of Tigullio, the Cinque Terre and the Gulf of Poets are part of it.''


Urban centers

Finale Ligure

La Spezia
San Remo
Santa Margherita Ligure

Sestri Levante



Getting here

By plane
Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport: about 6 km from the centre, it is connected to the Genoa Brignole railway station with the Volabus, a coach service calibrated at national and international arrivals.

Direct flights: Milan Malpensa, Turin, Cagliari, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Alghero, Olbia, Trapani, Trieste, Rome Fiumicino.
International Flights: London Stansted, Paris CDG, Cologne, Munich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Istanbul.
To reach the Riviera di Levante, La Spezia or the Cinque Terre, Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport is more convenient as it is directly connected by train.

Clemente Panero Airport in Villanova d'Albenga.

By car
Liguria is connected along the entire coast by the Ventimiglia - La Spezia motorway axis or alternatively by the state road n. 1 – Aurelia. Check traffic on major highways

A6 Turin - Savona
A7 Milan - Genoa
A10 Genoa - Ventimiglia
A12 Genoa - Livorno
A15 Parma - La Spezia
A26 Genoa - Alexandria

On boat
Ports of Imperia, Genoa, Savona and La Spezia served to and from Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica by the following ferry lines:

Corsica ferries.
Maritime stations in Savona and Genoa.

On the train
Ventimiglia/Genoa Genoa/Pisa lines
National lines: from Turin to Savona and Genoa, Milan to Genoa, Parma to La Spezia, and joins the Tyrrhenian route to Rome, Naples and the south.
International lines: Liguria borders the French province of the Côte d'Azur to the west, however today there is Thello, a company that operates a service from Italy to France from almost all the stations on the Riviera, with no change in Ventimiglia.

By bus
Urban and suburban lines of the provincial public services:

AMT Genoa;
LPT Savona;
ATC La Spezia;
ATP (Provincial Transport Company) Province of Genoa.


What see

Portofino and the Gulf of Tigullio
Conquer the reserved beauty of Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Sestri Levante, Chiavari immersed in the embrace between land and sea that has attracted the greatest personalities, from illustrious writers and poets to Hollywood stars. A small paradise that has become synonymous with elegance over the years, which encloses and sometimes hides from most even less renowned places, but equally pleasant for the serenity and quiet of their enchanting beaches, and the calm rhythms of the towns: Cavi Borgo, Zoagli, Moneglia, and others .

Cinque Terre and Gulf of Poets
Unveil the charm of the Cinque Terre with panoramas hanging between sky and sea, paths, vineyards and bands of olive trees, which reach to lap the waves of the sea in a corner of Liguria that encloses a landscape that is unique in the world. The unmistakable liberty style of the gardens and museums of La Spezia, or the charm of the villages of Lerici, Portovenere, Tellaro, famous for the illustrious poets and writers such as Byron and Shelley who found inspiration for their works in the local beauty.

Genoa and Golfo Paradiso
Genoa, European Capital of Culture 2004, treasure chest of ancient art hidden inside historic buildings, noble villas, its gigantic aquarium... Visit the city that has been able to renew itself starting from its commercial heart, the old port, enrich itself with museum spaces, prestigious theaters, and present itself in new guises through the largest aquarium in Europe and the Lanterna symbol of the city. And then Recco with the famous focaccia with cheese, Camogli, Sant'Olcese who fight as equals in food and wine.

The Ponente
It includes the provinces of Savona and Imperia even if from a tourist point of view it is mainly known as:

The Riviera of the Palms
Enjoy the breath of the sea in all seasons with splendid days spent on pleasant walks along the wide sandy coasts of Alassio, Spotorno, Finale Ligure, Loano, Pietra Ligure, Savona, Varigotti, Borghetto Santo Spirito, Andora, Varazze and Celle Ligure. The mild climate also favors the discovery of the nearby hinterland with its natural parks of Beigua, Antola, Piana Crixia, ideal for trekking, and with the mysterious caves of Toirano and Borgio Verezzi.

Sanremo and the Riviera dei Fiori
The embrace of the colors of the sea, of the flowers, of the Mediterranean maquis, is the testimony of how an always spring-like climate can make the landscapes constantly splendid. Choose from the enchanting beaches of human-sized locations such as Ospedaletti, Arma di Taggia, Diano Marina, San Bartolomeo a Mare or the taste of noble towns such as Bordighera and Sanremo, dotted with splendid exotic gardens and period villas; and further up, hidden in the valleys, discover the ancient medieval villages of Dolceacqua, Apricale, Ceriana, Triora, Pigna and Pieve di Teco (just to name a few) perched on mountains with unspoiled landscapes. The Ligurian Alps Park provides the possibility of excursions up to 2000 meters above sea level just 30 km from the sea.

Via dell'amore, paths of the Cinque Terre, Montemarcello.



Focaccia from Recco
Monterosso anchovies
Genoese pesto pasta
Muscles (mussels farmed in the Gulf of La Spezia)
Spinach and ricotta pie, sardenaira

Although none of the wines are included among the Italian DOCGs, there are a fair number of DOC wines produced in Liguria: Cinque Terre, Colli di Luni, Colline di Levanto, Golfo del Tigullio - Portofino, Pornassio, Riviera Ligure di Ponente, and Rossese di Dolceacqua.



Liguria is a generally safe region, crime is very low; in Genoa, being a large port city, you need to pay attention to pickpockets in some areas (via del Campo and the port).



Historical route
The ancient Ligurians settled on the Mediterranean coast from the Rhone to the Arno, but later the Celtic migrations, as well as the colonizations of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians, replaced the Ligurians in some areas starting from the 4th century BC.

Coastal Liguria was officially subdued by the Romans only during the 2nd century BC, with various autonomous pockets which, given the characteristics of the territory, would resist direct central control for a few more decades. Liguria corresponded to the IX regio Italiae as reported by Pliny (III, 5, 49): patet ora Liguriae inter amnes Varum et Macram XXXI Milia passuum. Haec regio ex descriptione Augusti nona est.

The word Ligure / Liguria was assigned to this people first by the Greeks, then by the Romans and has the meaning of marshy or marshy place. In the classical age, important centers were Genua, Savo, Vada Sabatia, Albium Intemelium, Albium Ingaunum and Lunae; the latter, located in the extreme east of Liguria and known today with the name of Luni, gradually lost its importance until it was definitively abandoned in the XIII century.

With the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476), after the 5th century there was devastation along the Ligurian territory by the Barbarians (Eruli and Goths), and only under Byzantine domination Liguria (Λιγύρια in Byzantine Greek) it experienced a kind of geopolitical stabilization. After the Gothic wars there was a brief recovery that lasted until the Lombard conquest of King Rotari in 641. After the Franks, Liguria was divided around the 10th century into three zones (called marches): the arduinica, the aleramica and the obertenga.

Subsequently it will be Genoa and its Municipality that establishes itself and gradually forms the future Republic of Genoa from the 11th century.

The most important historical period for the region is the Low Middle Ages, with a peak from the mid-13th century to the mid-14th century (it is possible to identify the beginning of a long decline in 1340, framing it in the international ambit, with the Anatolian events and the crisis of the Asian trade routes due to the end of the pax mongolica and also the arrival of the Ming in Cathay).

However, Ligurian history in the Middle Ages must also be sought outside the so-called "mainland", rather marginal for an overall understanding and study. In summary, the medieval history of the Ligurians should also be sought outside the current administrative borders of Liguria.

Starting from the first crusade, it developed around the activities - first exploratory and then commercial - of mostly Genoese families and hotels, however affecting the lives of people throughout the region.

Republic of Genoa which almost corresponds to Liguria. The western part of Liguria administered for the Duchy of Savoy
The economic strength of the Maritime Republic manifests itself with an ante litteram colonial empire in a strongly and strictly economic sense, with political foundations made up of a dense network of political-commercial agreements throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea; there is a dense Ligurian merchant presence from Gibraltar to central Asia, with documented evidence in a myriad of ports and commercial crossroads.

Not to mention the most important:
the ports of Flanders;
Gibraltar, the area of Seville, Cadiz and Sanlúcar de Barrameda;
Corsica, as a direct possession of the Republic of Genoa for over six centuries, and Sardinia;
the North African coast, with Bugia, Bizerta, Bona and Tabarca, and Egypt at Damietta and Alexandria;
Cyprus, with a long occupation of the port of Famagusta and the economic failure of the crown, and Malta;
the entire Middle Eastern coast from Gibelletto, formerly the personal fiefdom of a Ligurian family (the Embriaci), up to Armenia, passing through Caesarea, Tyre, Sidon, Jaffa, Beirut, San Giovanni d'Acri;
Anatolia, with the long life of the colony of Chios, and Focea (Fogliavecchia), Metelino, Pera of Constantinople, Bursa, Trebizond, Sinope, Erzurum, Erzincan, Iconio (Konya), Enos, Cesarea d'Anatolia, Savasto (Sivas ), Alexandretta;
the Romanian coast with Vicina, Moncastro, Chilia, Enisala, Isaccea and the Crimea with Caffa, Soldaia, Cembalo;
the mouths of the Don with Tana;
the Asian crossroads of Astrachan', Saraj, Samarkand, up to Culgia (Almaligh, or Armalicco) and south-western China, with a warehouse documented as far back as Taiwan;
Mesopotamia, with merchants and shipbuilders in Baghdad.

As written by Roberto Sabatino Lopez, the beginnings of the English, Spanish and above all French royal navies have roots in the Ligurian school, with the call of workers from the Rivieras capable of training shipwrights and independent arsenals. Liguria also historically distinguished itself in the mercantile era and in the late Middle Ages for its explorers (among the most famous are the Vivaldi brothers, Leon Pancaldo, Lanzerotto Malocello, Antoniotto Usodimare, in addition to the better known Christopher Columbus) and admirals (primarily Benedetto Zaccaria, then Ansaldo De Mari, Oberto Doria, Oberto Spinola, up to Andrea Doria).

On the mainland, Genoa and its Republic gradually take control of most of Liguria, from east to west and even encroaching on those territories of Lower Piedmont closest to the Genoese capital, and until the fall of the last formally free city, Savona, which after the destruction of the Citadel and the silting up of the local port definitively capitulated in 1528. With the end of the colonial world concomitant to the Ottoman advance (fall of Byzantium in 1453 and of Caffa in 1475), a new era began for Liguria. The period that saw protagonists the figures of Charles V and the Onegliese admiral Andrea Doria - the latter promoter of the establishment of a new republic (the so-called Fifth Republic) more independent than the two major dominant European powers (France and Spain) - and which involved the Ligurian territory until the early seventeenth century was called as El siglo de los Genoveses (the century of the Genoese), characterized by the financial power of the Genoese bankers and by loans to the Crown of Spain. In the late seventeenth century, a new and different long decline began which will continue throughout the eighteenth century, up to the Napoleonic period and the industrial revolution, the moment of rebirth.

With the start of the Napoleonic campaigns in Italy at the end of the 18th century, and the consequent encroachment of the troops from beyond the Alps into the Ligurian lands, the Republic of Genoa fell within the French orbit in 1797 with the establishment of the Ligurian Republic, until the subsequent annexation of the entire region into the First French Empire (1805). The fall of Napoleon Bonaparte coincided with the end of the independence of the region: after the ephemeral and brief reconstitution of the Genoese republic, in 1814, the Congress of Vienna decreed, despite the desperate diplomatic attempts of the reconstituted Genoese Senate to save the independence and despite firm popular opposition, the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia, always in battle with the dogal power.

Before leaving the Doge's Palace, the Genoese rulers issued the following Proclamation:
«Inform yourself that the Congress of Vienna disposed of our homeland by reuniting it with the States of His Majesty. the King of Sardinia, resolved on the one hand not to infringe upon his essential rights, on the other not to use useless and harmful means, We depose an Authority which the confidence of the Nation and the acquiescence of the principal Powers had proven. What a Government endowed with nothing but justice and reason can do for the rights and the restoration of its peoples, everything, and our conscience attests it and the most remote Courts know it, everything was attempted by us without reserve and without hesitation. Therefore, nothing more remains to us than to recommend to the Municipal, Administrative and Judicial Authorities the entire exercise of their functions, to the subsequent Government the care of the troops that we had begun to train, and of the employees who have loyally served: to all the Peoples of the Genovesato tranquility, of which no good is more necessary to the Nations. We bring back in our retreat a sweet feeling of gratitude towards the Illustrious General who knew the boundaries of victory, and an intact trust in Divine Providence which will never abandon the Genoese.

From the Government Palace, 26 December 1814

Signatories: Gerolamo Serra, President of the Government and Senators Francesco Antonio Dagnino, Ippolito Durazzo, Carlo Pico, Paolo Girolamo Pallavicini, Agostino Fieschi, Giuseppe Negrotto, Giovanni Quartara, Domenico Demarini, Luca Solari, Andrea Deferrari, Agostino Pareto, Grimaldo Oldoini.

With the Sardinian kingdom, Liguria was administratively framed under the VII Division of Genoa including the provinces of Genoa, Albenga, Bobbio, Chiavari, Levante, Novi and Savona. During the Risorgimento, various Genoese and Ligurian personalities were fundamental and decisive for the cause of the unification of Italy: among the most famous were Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini and Goffredo Mameli. The annexation of the Ligurian region to the Kingdom of Italy led to a new administrative organization of its territory; the historic provinces of Genoa and Porto Maurizio (the latter will assume, in 1923, the current name "di Imperia" after the creation of the homonymous capital of Imperia) was followed by the establishment of the Province of La Spezia (1923) in the more Levantine area of the region and during 1927 of the provincial body of Savona.



On the origin of the term "Liguria" there are two main hypotheses:
The Greeks called the Ligurians lígyes ("Λίγυες"), from which the Latin Ligures, derived from lígys ("Λίγυς") with the meaning of "stridolo", "resonant", probably referring to the cries that the Ligurians used to emit before to fight or to the loud noise of the waves slapping on the rocks during storms.
According to another hypothesis, the name "Liguri" derives from the Mediterranean root *liga- meaning "slime", "mud", "swamp". According to this hypothesis, originally the Ligurians, settled near the current city of Marseilles, due to the invasions of the Celts had to migrate further east, in the territories protected by the Alps. It was here that they would have founded a city, which during the Middle Ages will be called Prata Liguriae and then Liviera, in close contact with the Greek culture, from which the name permeated.


 Physical geography

General aspects
With its 5,416.21 km², Liguria is one of the smallest regions of Italy, after Valle d'Aosta and Molise, but it is one of the most densely populated as it hosts 1,552,545 inhabitants for a density of 287 inhab/km² , well above the national average, ranking fourth, after Campania, Lombardy and Lazio, in the ratio between the number of inhabitants and the territorial area. However, considering the orography of the territory and the fact that forests cover 62.6% of it, it is evident that there are considerable differences between the density of inhabitants of the hinterland (where, moreover, there have been phenomena of depopulation and migration towards coastal cities) and that of the coast, which is close to 1,000 inhabitants/km².

The region is between the Ligurian Alps and the Ligurian Apennines to the north and the Ligurian Sea to the south, with an uninterrupted chain that forms a real backbone that is continuous in its development (oriented according to two axes: SW/NE and NW/SE which meet a few kilometers west of the center of Genoa), but discontinuous in its morphology, with stretches in which the Alpine/Apennine ridge is extremely compact and elevated, aligning very high mountain groups (behind Ventimiglia, a series of massifs, which administratively became French after the Second World War, rises up to altitudes of 2,700–3,000 m) while in other stretches (for example in the hinterland of Savona and Genoa) the mountain barrier is not very high and deeply engraved by short transversal valleys and passes that do not reach an altitude of 500 m above sea level (Colle di Cadibona, Passo dei Giovi, Crocetta d'Orero).

The Ligurian Sea, facing Liguria, is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea and the gulf of Genoa forms an important part of it, while the second largest gulf is that of La Spezia. In the eastern part of the Genoese gulf is the gulf of Tigullio, from Portofino to Sestri Levante.

The coasts are generally high, rocky, jagged, especially in the Eastern Riviera, while to the West there is an almost perfect alternation between rocks overlooking the sea and sandy beaches. The coasts are sometimes interrupted by estuaries of small rivers, often torrential in nature, which furrow the territory perpendicular to the coast at the bottom of deep valleys.



Liguria enjoys a Mediterranean climate, but not uniformly: it is in fact affected by the rugged morphology of its largely mountainous territory, open onto a decidedly warm sea in relation to its relatively high latitude. There are in fact two main morphological factors: the open arch shape of the region towards the south and the mountain ridge that develops between the French and Tuscan borders and forms the watershed between the tributary side of the Ligurian Sea and the Po-Adriatic side.

When a low pressure area forms on the gulf of Genoa in winter, the area around the Genoese capital is hit by the north wind, bringing rain and snow at low altitudes, which can sometimes go down to sea level, especially in some areas included between the western Genoese coast and the eastern Savona area.

Summer is moderately hot but rather muggy (in Genoa Sestri Ponente the averages for the month of July are between +20.8 °C of the minimum and +27.2 °C of the maximum). Normally daytime temperatures exceed 30 °C only 3-4 times in the entire month of July, but often the atmospheric relative humidity remains high even in the afternoon, amplifying the feeling of heat, which is mitigated only by the breezes maritime.

Inland, the climate is semi-continental and harsher, with decidedly low average winter values, especially in some basins on the Po valley side of the region (daily January average of 0 °C in Calizzano, +1.8 °C in Cairo Montenotte , +1.4 °C in Sassello, +1.5 in Masone, +2.2 °C in Busalla). The average lows of these locations are between -2 and -5 °C, while the expected seasonal lows are around -10 °C, even if night-time temperatures can drop well below this value during periods of frost more intense, especially in val Bormida and val d'Aveto: for example Calizzano reached -25 °C in the 1985 frost wave. Conversely, summer days are hot, but the daily averages during the summer quarter are conditioned by the strong daily temperature range and by rather cool night-time temperatures (in Cairo Montenotte, 338 m a.s.l., the minimum and maximum extremes in the month of July are between + 15.0 °C of the nocturnal minimum and +27.7 °C of the daytime maximum). Going up in altitude, in many valleys of the Genoese area, such as the Trebbia valley, the summers are instead cool, dry and windy, with decidedly cold and snowy winters, and frosts that can last until mid-April. On 1 June 2014, for example, 4 °C was recorded in the Genoese Val Trebbia. It is not uncommon to record lows of 5-6 °C in the inland valleys even in mid-July, especially in the plain of Rezzoaglio, where light frosts can also occur.

Limiting ourselves to the coastal area, the Cinque Terre, the Golfo Paradiso up to the easternmost districts of Genoa (Quarto dei Mille, Quinto al Mare and Nervi), Genoa Pegli, the Baia del Sole (Alassio and Laigueglia) and the entire province of Imperia, significantly sheltered by the high hills immediately behind, are the mildest areas in winter.

The mouth of the river Magra, the city of La Spezia, Genova Voltri, the two "Albissole" (Albissola Marina and Albisola Superiore), Savona and Vado Ligure, and the mouths of the Polcevera (Genova Sampierdarena and Genova Cornigliano - Cornigliano Ligure) and the Bisagno (Genoa Foce), on the other hand, are the territories with the least favorable winter climate because they are located at the mouth of large valleys that connect the sea side to the Po basin.

The rest of the localities on the coast have overall similar temperatures, however very mild for their latitude.

The phenomenon of the macaia is characteristic, which originates above all between late autumn, winter and the first part of spring in the presence of the African subtropical anticyclone and winds on the ground from southern quadrants which cause the humidity brought on the nearby hills to condense mountainous up to form a compact layer of medium-low cloudiness that can affect without solutions of continuity most of the coast and coastal slopes of the region.



Liguria is a land rich in natural beauty in which the combination of land and sea makes the variety of ecosystems present in its territory particularly heterogeneous. In fact there are a national park, nine regional parks, three nature reserves and a national one with which Liguria therefore protects 12% of its territory, for a total area of about sixty thousand hectares. In 2007, with regional law n. 34 of 15 November, dates back to the establishment of the most recent natural park in Liguria: the Regional Natural Park of the Ligurian Alps, covering an area of over 6,000 hectares and lying between the province of Imperia and the border with France. Inserted among the areas to be protected since 1995, but not yet officially established by the Liguria Region, the Finalese Regional Natural Park is located in the provincial territory of Savona.

To these institutions must be added the famous and ancient Alta Via dei Monti Liguri (AVML), a hiking itinerary about 440 km long which runs along the entire ridge line of the Ligurian Apennines starting from Ventimiglia, on the border with France, and arriving in Ceparana , in the plain of Sarzana on the border with Tuscany. The protection of the sea is entrusted to two protected marine areas and to the famous Sanctuary for marine mammals, the latter to safeguard a stretch of sea between the French-Monegasque territory (Côte d'Azur, Corsica and the Principality of Monaco) and the Italian (Liguria and Tuscany).


Natural reserves

In western Liguria, especially in the province of Savona, there are three regional nature reserves:
The Bergeggi Regional Nature Reserve, 8 hectares, consisting of a small island of limestone rock, the island of Bergeggi. It is covered in Mediterranean scrub and hosts a colony of herring gulls. In addition to the island, the protected area also includes the stretch of limestone coast between Bergeggi and Spotorno including a sea cave accessible only by sea;
The Gallinara Island Regional Nature Reserve, 11 hectares, hosts on the calcareous soil the typical vegetation of the Mediterranean maquis and floristic species such as the Gallinara rose and cornflower, present on the Gallinara island;
The Rio Torsero Regional Nature Reserve, made up of 4 hectares, is a fossil deposit dating back to the lower Pliocene. In its rocks there are remains of ancient molluscs. A collection of fossils from the Reserve is kept in the Silvio Lai paleontological museum in Peagna, a hamlet of Ceriale. The territory is typically rocky and calcareous covered at times by Mediterranean scrub.

In the Ligurian Riviera di Levante, in the metropolitan city of Genoa, there is:
The Agoraie di sopra and Moggetto Nature Reserve, within the territorial boundaries of the Aveto Regional Natural Park, at an altitude of 1,330 m and located in the Ligurian-Emilian Apennines. Extended for 16 hectares, it is characterized by four perennial lakes of the group of lakes of the Agoraie di Sopra. The vegetation of the reserve is characterized by beech and fir trees, thanks to the cool and humid climate. Here there are numerous species of amphibians such as the crested newt and the common frog.


Marine protected areas

There are two marine reserves that protect the seabed of Liguria, located in eastern Liguria in the province of La Spezia and in the metropolitan city of Genoa:
The Cinque Terre marine protected area, consisting of a total of 4,591 hectares of extension, is divided between Punta Mesco and Riomaggiore. The coast is divided into three zones (A, B, C) differing in degree of protection and guardianship. Characteristics of the area are the rock walls overlooking the sea and rocky bottoms alternating with sandy areas. The seabed is populated by various meadows of gorgonians, anemones and corals, while the sandier areas are home to oceanic posidonia;
The protected marine natural area and reserve of Portofino extends for 372 hectares and consists of three zones with different degrees of environmental protection. The stretch of protected sea is between Camogli and the bay of Paraggi, thus uniting the two geographic areas of the Golfo Paradiso and the Gulf of Tigullio. The submerged reefs host precious gorgonians, sponges and red coral, while in the sandier areas there is oceanic posidonia.

It should be emphasized that the Ligurian Sea is also part of the Sanctuary for marine mammals.



Liguria has a wooded area equal to 69% of its territory, the highest among all Italian regions in percentage terms and in thirteenth place in absolute terms, whose average is 35%.

However, the high percentage causes this region to suffer forest fires frequently, started intentionally in 71% of cases.

The largest forest assets are located in the Ligurian hinterland. The beech woods that cover the wetter Apennine slopes are impressive, starting from the Val di Vara, with the precious forests of Mount Gottero. The state-owned forests of Monte Penna and Agoraie, located in the Aveto Regional Natural Park, present the association between beech and silver fir, typical of the ancient forests of the Ligurian Apennines.

The beech forest of Colle del Melogno, near Savona, has been converted to tall trees for some years, as has the Gouta fir wood in Imperia. The alpine forests in the upper Val Tanarello, in the Imperia area, see the association of Scots pine with beech and larch in the lower altitudes on the slopes of Mount Saccarello.

The Ligurian flora is of the Mediterranean type, but especially in the west it has welcomed various Alpine associations at higher altitudes similar to the Provençal or Pyrenean territories. Many species have been introduced by man over the centuries such as the olive tree, the chestnut tree and the umbrella pine; in the hilly area overlooking the sea the crops include vines, olive trees and fruit trees; citrus fruits, especially lemons, are also sporadically cultivated along the coast. In the Riviera dei Fiori the cultivation of flowers outdoors or in greenhouses is famous and known, an activity that feeds the economy of the area.

Along the coast, the Mediterranean maquis includes species such as broom, buckthorn, mastic, myrtle, strawberry tree and holm oak, a tree which in the past formed extensive forests, in most of the region, at altitudes between sea and 600–700 m, rarer plant associations limited to the warmer and more arid areas of the two coasts are those formed by the wild olive tree, the carob tree, which is sometimes associated with arboreal euphorbia; among the aromatic shrubs present in the region are thyme, laurel and rosemary. In the windiest areas, on undeveloped soils there is garrigue made up of low, woody shrubs. Maritime pine forests and, more rarely, Aleppo pine forests prevail in the maritime area and in the hills.

From the middle sub-coastal hills up to mountain altitudes there are vast coniferous woods, mostly of silvicultural origin; these are trees such as the black pine (Pinus nigra) and the spruce fir (Picea abies) which do not belong to the Ligurian flora but which were introduced by virtue of the good crop yield and the quality of the timber and which now, although naturalised, present problems of adaptation to the climate of the Ligurian hills (generally too humid and subject to rapid and sudden changes in temperature).

In other cases, as occurred for the pine tree (Pinus pinaster) in the hilly areas of the whole region and for the larch (Larix decidua) in the Alpine areas, these are certainly species belonging to the Ligurian floristic domain, but which, favored with selective cuts and forced well beyond their "vegetative climax", they also grow in areas which, due to pedological and microclimatic characteristics, appear very far from their original diffusion contexts, which would be the sub-Mediterranean hilly belt of the two coasts, on acidic substrates (rare in the region) for the foothills and the subalpine level of the high reliefs of the Ligurian Alps, generally with a northern exposure, in the case of the larch. Hence the marked fragility of many forest ecosystems typical of the mountainous interior of the region.

In the tourist resorts of the coast - starting from the 19th century - decorative trees were planted, mostly native to North Africa and the subtropical regions of North America, East Asia and Oceania, such as many species of palms, which later became the "symbol" of the Riviera especially in western Liguria (Riviera delle Palme). The magnolia plants, which are also present in the gardens of the coastal strip, come from the Asian region.

The Ligurian climate has favored the acclimatization of these species, sometimes replacing the native Mediterranean plants. One of the most exemplary places are the gardens of Villa Hanbury near Ventimiglia, created by a family originally from England in the 19th century. Almost 5,800 species were originally introduced, reduced over the years to about 2,000. Among the palms that decorate many seaside promenades, the most common species is the Phoenix canariensis (with a large and stocky stem), followed by the Phoenix dactylifera or date palm with a tall and thin stem.



The fauna of the region is particularly interesting due to the presence of rare endemics, species adapted to the territory or left isolated due to the fragmentation of their distribution area. Overall, the faunal species are typical of the Mediterranean area, greatly affected by the proximity to the French region of Provence or Tuscany; it also includes species of more distant origin, which demonstrate the ancient and historical links with distant areas separated by the sea, such as Morocco, Sardinia and Corsica.

In the extreme Riviera di Ponente there are some endemics such as the coluber lacertinus, the largest European snake, widespread in the Imperia area and in the Nice area, and the ocellated lizard, a lizard with a characteristic green livery speckled with black streaks and with round blue spots on the flanks called ocelli. In the hinterland there is the presence of the black grouse and there are populations of chamois. On Mount Saccarello - between Liguria and France - the marmot is present, following an intervention in the 1970s by hunters (although the species cannot be hunted).

Among the birds we note the solitary sparrow, the warbler, the wren, the great spotted woodpecker, the wryneck, the cuckoo and the redstart; the presence of blackbirds, finches, buntings and robins is massive.

There is a large presence of nocturnal and diurnal birds of prey such as the scops owl, the owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the long-eared owl and the eagle owl; of the family of diurnal birds of prey we note the short-toed eagle, the buzzard, the kestrel, the black kite, the honey buzzard. In the typically rocky areas some rare pairs of golden eagles and peregrine falcons nest (especially on the coasts of eastern Liguria), while in the dense woods goshawks and sparrowhawks hunt. Among the reptiles it is possible to admire the rat snake, the coronella girondica and the viper. Among the amphibians, the black salamander replaces the spotted salamander after an altitude of 1,800 m; some of these urodele amphibians inhabit several caves in the region.

In ancient times there was a massive presence of the Apennine wolf in the woods of the Ligurian Apennines, a subspecies which has almost disappeared over the last few centuries and has survived in some isolated areas of the Apennines, until a new expansion of its range, thanks to its protection, starting from the 90s onwards. On the other hand, there are numerous families of wild boars that sometimes go to the inhabited centers to search for food: in Genoa itself several times the television media or the local newspapers have testified with photos and videos of their presence along the banks of the main streams or in close to the houses. A situation of overpopulation that has also sparked controversy and protests in some areas of the region, with targeted requests for intervention from the main regional and provincial bodies, for the damage that these animals cause to fences and fruit and vegetable crops when they trespass from the woods onto private property.