Romance and beauty are inseparable from the land and seascape of the Italian Riviera as tradition, culture, charm, and luxury emanate from castle ruins and villas. Café tables decorate cobblestone streets beneath the starlight as sailboat masts sway in the wake of the calm harbors. The scents of strawberry and orange trees accentuate the luscious, secluded countryside as vineyards overtake terraces that are spread along the steep cliffs and ceramic tiles shimmer on historical promenade walls in...
Albissola – Arrive in Genoa and Venture to the Coastal Village of Albissola
The Alps and the Apennines slope down into the Mediterranean and shape the daily life and landscape of the Italian province of Liguria. Gardens and farms overtake the steep terraces and fishing villages that are set along the secluded promontories. The Italian Riviera stretches from the French Border to the edge of the Ligurian border and has towns with medieval charms, brightly painted homes, and romantic hints of the former wealth and prestige of the Genoese Republic. Your flight will land at Cristoforo Colombo Airport in Genoa where your private transfer will collect you both. You will first venture west towards the French border and arrive in the town of Albisola.
Albisola rises out of the steep slopes of the mountains with red-tiled roofs and bleached-white facades. The 12th-century ruins of Il Castellaro add a storybook atmosphere to the stunning setting as the ruins of Roman villas speckle the banks of the Sansobbia Stream. The castle’s outer walls resemble a ship set atop an artificial cave where sentries once stored powder kegs. A narrow, underground passage connects the castle to the old Roman villa, and the town has an enchanting and artistic atmosphere that welcomes you immediately into the hinterlands. You will arrive at the comforts of your luxurious 18th-century villa set between the turquoise Mediterranean Sea and an elegant country garden that is blossoming with bright flowers.
Albissola – Discover the Charms of Medieval Villages on the Coast and Hills
In the morning, the ceramic artwork that decorates the city shines beneath the drifting sunlight. Palm trees shade the Artist’s Promenade beside images of sky and waves set across the tile walls. The soothing scent of the sea blends with the rich aroma of espresso that emanates from the cafes that overlook the water. The historical ceramic works of the city are also on display in a small museum located in your villa-style hotel. After breakfast, you will meet your guide and set out together to discover the endless romantic charm of the medieval villages found along the western edges of the Italian Riviera.
You will begin in the village of Finalborgo, located inland from the seaside resort of Finale Ligure. Renaissance palaces with Spanish accents decorate the preserved historical center as medieval walls continue to defend the locals and mark the edges of town. Semi-circular towers rise above the walls and allow visitors to enter and exit along the streets. A café at the heart of town has set out chairs and tables for visitors and locals alike to enjoy a semi-sweet cappuccino amidst the beauty of the pastel-painted homes and narrow lanes.
The two of you will find the maze-like streets to be filled with passion and you will fall deeper into a fairytale landscape with every step. Castel San Giovanni overlooks the village, and the Spanish erected the fortress in the 17th century with angled walls and open windows to offer spectacular views of the emerald trees that encircle the town. Continue to the unspoiled village of Castelvecchio di Rocca Barbena to wander along the narrow cobblestone streets and ancient stone arches that are set beneath the unforgettable outline of the castle ruins and hidden by an impressive boulder.
Albissola – Continue your Exploration of the Romantic Towns of the Riviera
At breakfast, you will bask in the image of the turquoise Mediterranean Sea as it sweeps across the horizon. The sweet aroma of blossoming hydrangeas in the garden will overtake the scent of the sea breeze. When your espresso reaches the table, the rich aroma of roasted coffee beans will surpass the floral and maritime scents. After breakfast, you and your partner will delightedly return to an excursion along the western Italian Riviera, known affectionately as the Riviera della Palme. Locals refer to the town of Albenga as the “City of One Hundred Spires,” due to the preserved medieval towers that rise out of the historical heart of town. The medieval structures stand on the foundation of a former Roman crossroads.
The 13th-century Cathedral of Saint Michele has a remarkable baptistery built in the 5th century. The structure frames the eponymous piazza with a collection of imposing towers, and the baptistery stands virtually unchanged since its inception with a 10-sided exterior that leads to an octagonal interior. The 6th-century mosaic features a rich array of early Christian symbols with12 doves and a background painted to resemble a starry sky that accentuates the central apse. Flowerpots decorate the corrugated balconies of the antique homes set beside slim shutter windows. The ruins of a Roman amphitheater stand outside of the town walls. Artichokes, tomatoes, and carrots grow beside apricots and peaches in the plains outside of town as basil thrives in the cool Mediterranean climate set above the seaside.
Monterosso – Wander Genoa and Historic Towns en route to Cinque Terre
Before breakfast, the two of you can take a lovely stroll through the villa gardens, traversing the terraces and wandering along the manicured hedges adorned with blossoming begonias. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you south towards the villages of Cinque Terre, stopping first in Genoa to tour the former capital of the imperial maritime Genoese Republic. Stroll the old harbor and discover the magnificent adornments of the 16th and 17th-century noble villas along Via Garibaldi before you stop in the village of Camgoli. The seaside promenade provides a view to the huge cliffs and wooded promontory in the distance with a domed church crowning the halfway point.
A pebbled beach leads to the ruins of historical fortifications that curve towards Genoa. Vaulted passageways cluster around the small churches and pastel-painted homes as children cast lines into the water along the docks near moored fishing boats. Fishers linger in the cafes after a morning out at sea to fill their nets with the catch of the day. You and your partner will indulge in the enchanting atmosphere of the untouched fishing town as the aroma of prawns in herbaceous pesto grilled over an open flame drifts out of a restaurant on the promenade. You will continue south to reach the town of Monterosso, which crowns the northern edge of the five towns of Cinque Terre.
Monterosso – Delight in a Tour Guided by a Local to Traverse Famous Trails
The beauty of Monterosso and the Italian Riviera emanates from the terraced vineyards and gardens set alongside the steep mountain slopes. The emerald foliage contrasts with the layers of blue that glow on the surface of the sea. Your villa-style accommodation will provide a view to the water as it splashes against the boulders below, accompanied by the herbaceous aroma from basil plants in the garden that grows as tall as trees. Your guide will meet you after breakfast eager to show you the serene landscape, vibrant culture, and unique treasures of Cinque Terre often overlooked by visitors, and you can take your time on the trail that connects Monterosso and Vernazza.
The series of ancient herding trails connected the medieval fishing villages to one another before the government built the train that leads from Genoa to Rome in the mid 19th-century. The trails meander beneath the verdant oak, chestnut, and fern trees and cast shade from the drifting Mediterranean sun. Your guide will explain the history of the private gardens and the vineyards in the province, along with the tradition of fishing for each of the five villages. The trees will open around a small plateau to offer a perfect panorama of Vernazza below. The pastel buildings rise beside a natural harbor set in front of the ruins of a 16th-century castle.
Monterosso – Enjoy a Wine and Food Tasting Followed by a Cooking Class
Romance abounds across the lush hills and cherished views across Cinque Terre. In the morning, the sea breeze will rustle through the forested leaves and olive orchards set across the terraces. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and lead you both onto the elaborate sections of gardens and vineyards that overtake the slopes in view of the crystalline water. A local producer will meet you in the gardens and pull fruits from the trees for your sampling. Olives, figs, lemons, and strawberries thrive in the Mediterranean climate, and the two of you will nibble on the freshly pulled strawberries to find the sweet juices pouring from the fruit with hints of delicate tartness. In the vineyards, your guide will explain the importance of the soil, and how the vines absorb the minerals and characters of its surroundings, from the slopes to the sea breeze.
The locals tend to the land with fondness, and produce goods in gardens and estates passed down through the generations. The vineyard, olive, and citrus trees fill acres of land, allowing the owners to produce grappa, olive oil, honey, and a stunning regional wine known as Sciacchetra. Sample the red wine produced on the property and share the aroma of woodland berries and cracked pepper with your partner. In the afternoon, you will meet a private chef delighted to share the flavors of provincial cuisine during a cooking course tailored to your preferred tastes, whether enjoying hardy vegetable stews or lighter seafood pasta.
Monterosso – Travel by Boat to Visit the Villages and Towns of the Riviera
The bountiful beauty of the Italian Riviera becomes palpable when shared together. The wealth of history in Monterosso is shown from the 7th-century Sanctuary of Our Savior in Monterosso, located on the hilltop that overlooks an abundance of stairs. The Romanesque and Gothic details accentuate the 15th-century Baroque wooden statue of a Pieta. After breakfast, you will set out from Monterosso on a private boat to visit the neighboring towns and villages of the Italian Riviera. The boat will take you to the edges of Portofino National Park, where the woodlands create a shaded space of emerald leaves as they stand out against the granite crags and turquoise water.
The familiar aroma of olive trees compliments the ferns as the oak and holm trees shade the trails and open to a pristine view of the promontories, along with the outline of the French island of Corsica in the distance. The trail connects the villages as far north as Camogli down to the San Fruttuoso Abbey. Enter into the luxury of the Riviera in the town of Portofino. Gardens grow on the outskirts of the brightly painted homes as fishing boats moored in the harbor reflect in the water. Wander hand-in-hand along the promenade, passing restaurants with tables set out alongside the sea, highlighting the sailboats and yachts wading in the water.
Monterosso – Depart for Home
The captivating natural splendor of the Italian Riviera will have taken hold of you both, and you will savor this one last morning to take it all in. The Giant, a statue crafted in 1910 along Monterosso’s northern bordering promontory, continues to hover above the sea. His upper-body once supported a villa, and the figure represents Neptune. You and your partner can wander along the pebbled shoreline and relish the diverse view of the sand, sea, and statuary before your private transfer will escort you north to Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport for your flight home.
- Discover the preserved medieval villages along the Italian Riviera to immerse yourself in romantic storybook ambiance
- Explore the treasured coastline of the Cinque Terre on a private boat that will connect you to hidden coves on route to Portofino, and Portofino National Park
- Indulge in the thriving landscape with a private tour, led by a local guide, to taste the tender wild and harvested produce, including locally made wines
- Learn about traditional provincial cuisine after an intimate couple’s cooking class taught by a private chef
- Wander the trails of Cinque Terre for unparalleled panoramas of the Mediterranean Sea and the secluded medieval villages
- Traverse the cobblestone lanes and ancient piazza of Finalborgo, a gorgeous town known for its fortified walls and castle ruins
- Bask in the beauty of the colorful houses and pebbled beach of Camogli as an introduction to the charms of Cinque Terre
- Relish uninterrupted time lounging on the beaches, lingering in cafes and delighting in enchanting ambiance with your partner on the Italian Riviera
Refined beaches with rich forests combined with captivating villas with charming fishing villages assure the perfect recipe for romance. Your 8-day custom-tailored vacation to the Italian Riviera will immerse you as a couple into luxury set inside the rich history of the Ligurian coastline. Whether strolling across unique medieval bridges or enjoying an incredible view from the top of a plateau, you will share unforgettable pleasures together that you will never forget. The journey will begin with your arrival in Genoa, the capital of Liguria and home of the former grand Genoese Republic. Your private transfer will meet you at the airport and escort you west to the town of Albissola, which stands between the hills and the sea. After you settle in, you will enjoy a marvelous introduction to your Italian vacation with a romantic dinner with a view of the water.
The next day, you will venture out with a private guide to discover the beautiful historical villages of the Italian Riviera. See the famous arching bridge at Dolceacqua and wander the narrow streets of Finalborgo. The next day will give you the same marvelous freedom of discovery along the Riviera delle Palme. Visit the artistic town of Albenga and wander along the narrow lanes of Apricale. Your private transfer will then meet you the next day to escort you to Genoa for a private tour of the city’s elaborate past.
Outside of Genoa, you will stop in the town of Camogli to enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the fishing village before you reach Monterosso. The next day, your local guide will meet you at your hotel eager to introduce you both to the magnificent trails of Cinque Terre, which connect the five villages both along the coastline and over the hilltops. Continue as your guide will lead you along the terraces that contain the gardens, farms, and vineyards of the province to learn about the history of production and taste the flavors enriched by the seaside soil.
Sample a list of wines made in a local vineyard before you meet a private chef ready to lead you and your partner through a couple’s cooking class to make dishes unique to the towns of Cinque Terre. The next day, you will step aboard a private boat to visit the secluded coves and remarkable towns south of Cinque Terre. Wander the trails of Portofino National Park before you stroll through the luxurious streets of Portofino Town. Visit hidden coves along the Riviera coastline before you return to Monterosso. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Cristoforo Colombo Airport in Genoa for your flight home.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.88 stars based on 4574 reviews
Reviewed By christine G.
Reviewed By Kathleen G.
Reviewed By Michael B.
Reviewed By stephen v.
Reviewed By Veronica C.
Reviewed By Steven B.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era