Wandering Liguria goes to the Swiss Alps? Think again: that’s a view of the Apennines near Genoa
The Italian Riviera is not known for its ski resorts and subzero temperatures. This year is the exception: the coldest, snowiest, iciest weather in more than a generation. As I write it is about 6 degrees below zero. Luckily the sun has come out for several hours each afternoon, bringing temperatures to around zero or a few degrees above. That means the region’s countless olive trees will probably survive. Olive trees can usually stand temps of -10C as long as they don’t last for more than a few days at a time. The cold weather might actually be beneficial to the olive crop this year, and will certainly stimulate Ligurian vineyards. We’ll see later this year.
In the meantime, the cold is certainly stimulating residents and visitors. This is actually a perfect time for trekking along the coast and, if you’re properly equipped, in the Apennines. Start at dawn for a brisk hike behind Genoa, for instance, on the panoramic trail linking the forts that Herman Melville described as “Satan’s fortified encampment.”
Or choose one of the many hiking trails behind Rapallo or on the Monte di Portofino. Here are a few images to whet your appetite for a walk. Liguria is a land for all seasons, including winter. In fact that’s when savvy northern Europeans and the Russians of old (in pre-Mafia days) came to escape severe winters in their own countries. While -5C is pretty chilly and unusual here, it is currently around -25C in Russia and the Ukraine, not to mention the Nordic Countries.
The really good news is that, after an initial halt due to weather conditions, trains and buses are running again normally on the Italian Riviera.
Perhaps the best news of all is the Cinque Terre: repair work on villages and trails continues apace. The snow and cold have not added substantially to the problematic situation caused last October by flash floods. In fact today the sun is out, blazing benignly on the Via dell’Amore and the other seaside trails of the Cinque Terre.
For more information on hiking, the weather, the culture, food, wine, restaurants, food shops, best coffee, best focaccia, best Italian Riviera discoveries and more, check out our articles archive and weather page, and pick up our books, Food Wine Italian Riviera & Genoa and Enchanted Liguria: A Celebration of the Culture, Lifestyle and Food of the Italian Riviera