Most people think the Italian Riviera is the section of Ligurian coastline between Genova and La Spezia encompassing Portofino, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, and the famous Cinque Terre villages. In fact, this is just one part of it, the Riviera di Levante (“the coast of the rising sun”). It’s one of the most beautiful areas of Italy but it gets very crowded. Italians know that further up the coast, stretching from Genova all the way to the French border, is a beautiful but less touristy coast, the Riviera di Ponente (“the coast of the setting sun”).
I am so so excited! We’ve just booked flights to South Africa for the beginning of January and have an epic trip planned. This is a big trip for us—it’s our first time in Africa and we’ll be taking at least a month off work, much of it offline and sometimes even without electricity.
The Langhe is an area of rolling hills in the Piemonte region of northern Italy. The hills are covered in vineyards with medieval hill towns and ancient castles perched atop their peaks. The scenery is gorgeous, but what really attracts visitors is the outstanding wine and food—Barolo reds, white truffles, handmade pasta, and many more delicacies. Along with Monferrato and Roero, the Langhe was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 for its cultural landscapes and winemaking traditions that go back hundreds of years.
Varenna is one of the prettiest towns on Lake Como in Italy. Its colourful houses tumble down the mountainside and the streets are narrow cobbled staircases that lead to the lake. We had heard that Varenna was a quieter alternative to popular Bellagio across the lake, but on the first weekend in September, tiny Varenna was crowded with visitors during the day (the mornings and evenings are quieter).