The region of Liguria is a slender strip of land at the top of Italy’s boot, curving north-westwards around the Mediterranean, stretching from Tuscany to the French border. This area is often known as the ‘Italian Riviera’ and its seaside resorts and elegant promenades have attracted sun-hungry northern Europeans for more than a century. The generally rocky coastline rises up to inland mountains which are increasingly steep and high towards the north-west where the Maritime Alps (reaching up to over 2,600m in height) meet the sea. This geography has created a famously mild climate benefiting both tourism and the region’s renowned gardens. The only major city in Liguria, located right in the middle of its coastline, is the historic port of Genoa, once one of the Mediterranean’s great powers. The coast to the west of Genoa, dotted with resorts like Sanremo, is known as the western riviera, the Riviera di Ponente. In the other direction, heading southwards to Tuscany, the coast is called the Riviera di Levante, and encompasses the cliffside villages of the Cinque Terre, and the posh harbour Portofino. The Ligura region is divided into four provinces: Genova (Genoa), Imperia, La Spezia and Savona. Ligurian food is filling and delicious. The flower-growing region is also famous for its edible produce: olives, peaches, asparagus, artichokes and tomatoes; speciality dishes include pesto – with pasta or even on pizza – and products based on potatoes and chickpeas. Specially recommended is farinata, a tasty snack which is made from chickpeas and which is delicious eaten hot in a takeaway.