Liguria is first and foremost a traveler’s paradise for hiking, beach-going, and eating. Now, some might say this is the point of traveling to Italy, but the “Italian Riveria” hosts particularly beautiful and walkable segments of Big-Sur like coastline, top-of-the-line white wines and is THE origin of everyone’s favorite pasta sauce—pesto—as well as famed Italian foccacia bread. Christopher Columbus was a native, and Marco Polo was once imprisoned for many years in the city of Genoa. It is at the region’s center and is historically a strategic and desired port city—now a strategic and important traveler’s hub with a major train station. These days Genoa houses a large university—founded in the 15th century—and the culture that comes with it. You can find excellent nightlife, art, music—even Europe’s 2nd largest aquarium within the city. All around the region you will find opportunities to purchase pickled and otherwise preserved goods such as mushrooms, olive oils, pestos and spreads, vegetables, wines, and truffle products, which are available widely in Liguria mostly due to the close geographic proximity to Piedmonte, a major hub for both white and black truffles. The most noted area of Liguria is Cinque Terre, or “Five Lands.” This is the region most frequented by travelers—five fishing towns connected by hiking trails and train lines along incredible beaches; each of which seems to be pastel and falling off its beautiful cliff into the deep blue sea below. The area is an easy day trip from cities in nearby regions such as Turin and Florence, and has enough to offer to keep one busy for a week or more.