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Monday, May 28, 2012

The Mediterranean’s Most Beautiful Walk?

Yeah, yeah I know this is a Blog about food and wine.  But, for those of us who like to eat and drink well and try to keep the pounds off, it only stands to reason that I include ways to do just that.  This 3 mile walk along a jaw-dropping part of Italy’s coastline is the perfect way to work off a plate of pasta or a gelato.

The route parallels the sea between Santa Margherita and Portofino.  You can start in either location, however, I prefer to begin in Santa Margherita for many reasons.  If you head out from Santa Margherita in the morning, the sun is behind you (start in Portofino, and you’ll be blinded by the sun the entire way).   Another bonus for beginning in Santa Margherita are the views of Portofino that you encounter as you approach this enchanting spot.  As the sea-hugging road snakes around inlets, at each bend there are picture-postcard-perfect vistas of the tony little village whose harbor is filled with mega-Euro yachts.  Starting in Santa Margherita, also allows you time to recupe from the walk at one of Portofino’s sidewalk cafes---a great place to people watch.

Along the way you’ll swoon over the drop-dead gorgeous villas.  This is some of the world’s most expensive real estate, but don’t expect flamboyant---it’s the old world money of quiet elegance.  Most villas are very secluded from the road, however, can be viewed along the twisting road at vantage points that show their multi-level backsides cascading down to the glorious sea.   Many have unobstructed bazillion Euro views of Portofino, including its castle, lighthouse, and the pastel array of homes that line the crescent shaped harbor.  Oh, yes, and front row seats for the sunset.

One of my fave spots on the walk is the captivating little cove of
Paraggi.  Just a half of mile from Portofino, it’s a world away.  This small hamlet is a truly Italian spot, without the hype of its world-famous nearby sister.  In some ways, I prefer it to Portofino.

Once you’ve replenished your fluids, do not leave Portofino without a 15 minute uphill walk to its castle (follow the signs for the lighthouse).  Most of the postcards of Portofino are taken from the back of the “castello.”

Coming on our Truffle Tour this fall?  You’ll have the opportunity to do this walk.  Don’t want to walk?  No problem as we’ll visit both Santa Margherita and Portofino.

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