Discover the hidden Italian gem of Liguria
We all have our own favorite images of Italy…
Pasta, pizza, focaccia and olive oil? Stunning scenery, sun, blue sea and sandy beaches? Ancient buildings and the Romans? Beautiful people and the fashion boutiques of Milan? The truth is Italy is all of this and so much more. It is a country of diverse regions, landscapes and architecture with each having its own distinct character. Many of these are immediately familiar to us; Tuscany, Piedmont, Puglia and Lombardy, but of Liguria few seem to be aware.
The region of Liguria is the Italian Riviera, a narrow strip of mountainous coastline running between Tuscany in the east and France to the west. It offers sandy beaches with the crystal blue Mediterranean in chic resorts then hilltop villages and castles in the mountain hinterland so is the perfect holiday destination for families, sun worshipers or those with more active pursuits in mind. Travel is easy with both budget carriers and scheduled airlines serving Genoa and Nice from a number of UK airports and the A10 motorway runs the length of the region making driving here quick and simple. It is therefore no surprise that we are seeing an increasing number of discerning holiday makers and second home owners choosing Liguria in preference to the busy French Riviera and the developments of the Spanish Costas.
Property here covers the full spectrum from multi million euro villas by the sea to rambling rustic properties in need of renovation, in the mountains, for only a few thousand. Many of the most charming are these ancient properties, often dating back to medieval times, found in stunning settings and full of romantic period features. The property boom of the last 20 years has meant that many of these jewels have been snapped up by northern Europeans looking for a second home in this beautiful region but there are some still waiting for the right person’s imagination to bring them back to life.
If you’re daunted by the thought of renovating a property which is hundreds of years old don’t worry there are some lovely complete examples now coming up for re-sale.
A spectacular example is the village of Colletta di Castelbianco nestled on a mountain spur, 20 minutes from the beaches of Alassio. This 800 year old hamlet was abandoned nearly a century ago and left empty until it was rediscovered by the famous Italian architect Giancarlo di Carlo a couple of decades ago. His vision was to meticulously restore the village maintaining all the original features but bring the internal infrastructure to 21st century levels and to create a community able to holiday, live and work in this beautiful environment. Colletta is now a truly international place where half the owners are Italian and the rest from all over the world; British, Irish, Dutch, Scandinavians, Americans and even Australians. Some were attracted by the fibre optic communication technology others by the pool and gardens but all agree it is a special place of peace in the mountains above the sea.