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From Pisa to Genoa

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Genoa Mansion

We had spent a wonderful week touring Tuscany while happily based at Bocadarno near Pisa. At the risk of repeating what we have already published, the gems for us were Lucca, Sienna, and Volterra rather than Florence or San Gimignano, with the three buildings in Pisa itself top of the list for sheer wow factor! The gallery below gives an idea but bear in mind that all three are within the same visual space. The impact is astounding.

Generally this part of the coast is devoid of sailing (or other) interest. Continuous featureless sand with artificial erosion protection.

We had been told to avoid Viareggio, and access to the marina is certainly not for the fainthearted with an onshore breeze. The latest comments suggest that the marina has been extensively refurbished and offers good technical services as well.

There is a marina at Carrara but devoid of interest unless you want to visit the nearby white marble quarries. It is not even listed at NFL.

The gulf of La Spezia is however full of wonderful towns and villages the most attractive of which is definitely Porto Venere. The marina is not only tiny and expensive, but it is not well protected from the all too frequent easterlies. The town is a typically Ligurian delight with innumerable small restaurants and smart shops. The anchorage to the north is equally exposed to easterlies. In La Spezia town there are several marinas offering better protection but in a much less attractive location.

Leaving Porto Venere, you are heading inevitably to the legendary Cinque Terre. Beware of violent gusts off the cliffs - we were knocked flat in otherwise benign conditions! The Cinque Terre are five hilltop villages perched on cliffs overlooking the sea. There is train that links them and a hiking trail. You cannot anchor overnight - no wise anyway - and you need a permit. In practice we stopped for lunch without anchoring and drifted. Our photos do not this time do justice to the raw beauty of the land. Beware tripper boats!

We skipped Rapallo but there is mention of a cable car up to the Santuario di Montallegro from where there are fine views. Instead we anchored in Santa Margherita di Ligure that we much enjoyed. The town is fine and so is the anchorage, although take care not to obstruct the innumerable tripper boats rushing to and from nearby Portofino - one of the real jetset spots of Italy and therefore the world. The lefthand image is ours; the righthand one is the picture postcard varsion. This is Gucci/Louis Vuitton land par excellence, but is undeniably beautiful - glad to have seen it, but did ojt miss going ashore!

Genoa is a short hop away and that was our next major destination. We expected little of our time there. How wrong we were! The marina Porto Antico is bang in the middle of the the old town with a supermarket at the gate. The old town is beautiful and the mansions that line the main street as magnificent as anything we have seen anywhere. Yes we were very lucky, being there on an "open house" day when you could visit even private houses and enjoy free concerts everywhere in private courtyards and in the street.

The restaurants were good too as was the street market in the main square. Overall a memorable stay. Yes it is scruffy in places, but we are going back this year.

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