With only a sheer path carved into the rock, accessing Genoa Boccadasse - an old mariners' neighbourhood of the town - was a struggle for centuries. But now this fishing hamlet just east of the port of Genoa is the natural place to go after a leisurely stroll along the Corso Italia promenade, where there is less hustle and bustle and the pastel-painted houses invite you to gaze down to the tiny coastal bay at your feet. With its art galleries and alfresco eateries, you’ll be welcomed by a homely, genuine atmosphere. Venture into Boccadasse from the top of the cliff, following the creuze, cobbled paths descending vertiginously towards the sea, and be inspired by the patience of the fishermen as they mend their nets or of the local cats as they wait hopefully for a tasty tidbit.
Portofino nestles in a deep natural cove at the tip of the fabulous Bay of Tigullio, one of the most famous and beautiful in all Liguria. The charm of this tiny town lies in the way the breathtaking landscape blends seamlessly with a very elegant, society atmosphere: by night the square in the harbour transforms into the rendezvous of choice for the international jet set. Another aspect that makes Portofino utterly unforgettable is the awe-inspiring sea around the promontory of Portofino, which is a nature reserve: they say the name Portofino comes from Latin Portus Delphini (Port of the Dolphin) because of the large number of these marvellous mammals that once lived in Bay of Tigullio. Whether you visit Portofino by day in search of rest and relaxation, or by night to indulge in some society nightlife, don’t miss the chance to try Portofino’s numero uno speciality, the exceptional Ligurian focaccia.
RECIPE LIGURIAN FOCACCIA
Portofino is one of the symbols of Liguria, so too is focaccia. So incredibly simple – nothing more than flour, water and extra-virgin olive oil – and yet so inimitable.
There are two secrets to making real Ligurian focaccia: fingers and extra-virgin olive oil. Prepare the dough using 500 g (5 cups) flour, 250 g (1 cup) water, 20 g (1 tbsp) yeast, two spoonfuls of extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, and then leave to rest for 2 hours. Next grease a baking sheet. Roll out the focaccia dough using your hands, and create hollows with your fingertips. Bake in the oven at 250° C (475°F) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and give it a generous sprinkling of extra-virgin olive oil - Ligurian oil made with Taggiasca olives is the best - and salt flakes and pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
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