Showing posts with label Liguria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Liguria. Show all posts

22 November 2022

Giuseppe Olmo - cycling champion and businessman

Olympic gold medallist set up prestige cycle brand

Giuseppe Olmo showed great talent from an early age
Giuseppe Olmo showed great
talent from an early age
The road cyclist Giuseppe Olmo, who won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles and later launched his own cycle-manufacturing business, was born on this day in 1911 in Celle Ligure, a fishing village about 40km (25 miles) southwest of Genoa on the Italian Riviera.

Olmo missed out on an individual medal in Los Angeles, finishing fourth behind compatriot Attilio Pavesi in the road race, but won gold as part of the winning Italy trio in the team event, alongside Pavesi and Guglielmo Segato.

He turned professional after the Olympics and, though his career was truncated somewhat by the cessation of the sport during World War Two, enjoyed some success.

Racing for the Fréjus team, he won the Milan-Turin race at the age of just 21 in 1932. After moving to the colours of Bianchi, Olmo won the prestigious Milan-San Remo race three years later and in 1938, the Giro dell’Emilia in 1936 and the Giro di Campania in 1938.

Olmo was somewhat unlucky in the Giro d’Italia. He finished third behind Vasco Bergamaschi in 1935 after winning four stages and wearing the leader’s pink jersey for seven days, and runner-up the following year despite winning 10 stages - the same number Learco Guerra took as champion two years previously - as the overall classification went to Gino Bartali.

Olmo Biciclette was launched in 1939 and has supplied bikes for many professionals, as well producing them for the commercial market.

A youthful Olmo pictured with his mentor, the Ligurian cyclist Giusppe Olivieri
A youthful Olmo pictured with his mentor,
the Ligurian cyclist Giusppe Olivieri
Known often by his nickname Gepin, Olmo was the second of six brothers in his family. He first caught the eye in 1924 as a 13-year-old, when he impressed the Ligurian champion Giuseppe Olivieri, who asked Olmo’s father if he could become his coach.

Under Olivieri’s guidance, his talent came to the surface. He preceded his excellent performance at the 1932 Olympics by winning the Italian road championship in 1931 and finishing runner-up in the amateurs’ road race at the World championships in Copenhagen the same year.

As well as his race success, Olmo entered the record books in 1935 for  the longest distance covered in one hour on the track.

Riding an 8.5kg Bianchi bike at an almost deserted Vigorelli Velodrome on 31 October in Milan, having decided on his record attempt only 24 hours before it took place, Olmo became the first in history to break the 45km mark, recording a distance of 45.090km.

He held the record for less than a year, however. On 16 October in 1936, the Frenchman Maurice Richard, whose record Olmo took, reclaimed it, bettering his mark with 45.32km.

Olmo was planning for his life after retirement while he was still competing, opening the first Olmo Biciclette factory in partnership with his brothers, Franco, Giovanni and Michele, in Celle Ligure, in 1939.

The Olmo brand became synonymous with quality
The Olmo brand became
synonymous with quality
The company built its reputation on quality, value and cutting-edge technology, using the most advanced materials available to produce responsive bikes that proved to be both competitive and easy to handle.

Pierino Gavazzi, whose career wins included Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Brussels, the Vuelta a España winner Marino Lejarreta and three-times World champion Óscar Freire were among the professionals who enjoyed great success riding Olmo bikes.

Olmo, who was married with three daughters, died in Milan in 1992 but the company survived him, moving into the production of polyurethane flexible foams from a factory at Comun Nuovo, a municipality about 9km (six miles) south of Bergamo in Lombardy.

Bicycles carrying the Olmo brand, including the latest incarnation of the flagship Gepin model, are now produced and distributed by Montana Srl from their factory at Magliano Alpi in Piemonte, about 80km (50 miles) northwest of Celle Ligure.

Celle Ligure's sandy beach has helped make it a popular destination for visitors to Liguria
Celle Ligure's sandy beach has helped make it a
popular destination for visitors to Liguria
Travel tip:

A lesser known gem of the Italian Riviera, Celle Ligure has grown around a picturesque former fishing village with a small sandy beach lined with pastel-coloured houses, behind which is a small, historic old town of narrow lanes. Founded in the 11th century near the Saint Beningo monastery, Celle Ligure came under the control of Genoa in the 13th century and enjoyed prosperity in the 17th and 18th centuries through trade with France, Spain and America. That ended, however, with the French occupation of Genoa in 1805. The arrival of a railway line in 1868 was the beginning of Celle Ligure’s evolution as a tourist destination, which underpins its economy today. As well as the attractions of the beach, Celle Ligure has a 17th century church, the Oratorio of San Michele, which features a polyptych by Perino del Vaga, a late Renaissance painter from Florence. As well as Giuseppe Olmo, the village is the birthplace of Francesco della Rovere, who as Pope Sixtus IV commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. 

Sanremo is known for its fine Stile Liberty buildings, such as its striking 1905 Casino
Sanremo is known for its fine Stile Liberty
buildings, such as its striking 1905 Casino
Travel tip: 

The Milan-Sanremo cycle race, won twice by Giuseppe Olmo, is one of the  sport’s oldest and most prestigious single-day contests, one of the five so-called Monuments in the European cycling calendar, the toughest and most demanding of the one-day events. First contested in 1907 and covering a distance of 286km (177 miles), the race followed a course said to have begun at the Conca Fallata Inn, next to a navigation basin on the Naviglio Pavese canal in Milan and ended on Corso Cavallotti on the outskirts of Sanremo, the seaside town on the coast of Liguria famed for its temperate Mediterranean climate.  Sanremo - 110km (68 miles) further west along the Ligurian coast from Celle Ligure, expanded rapidly in the mid-18th century, when the phenomenon of tourism began to take hold. It is characterised by many fine examples of Stile Liberty, the Italian variant of the Art Nouveau design and architectural style.

Also on this day:

1533: The birth of Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara

1710: The death of Baroque composer Bernardo Pasquini

1902: The birth of Mafia boss Joe Adonis

1947: The birth of football coach Nevio Scala

1949: The birth of entrepreneur Rocco Commisso

1954: The birth of politician Paolo Gentiloni


22 September 2022

Mario Berrino - painter

Artist who was also a popular entrepreneur 

Berrino captured many scenes from life on the coast of Liguria in and near his home in Alassio
Berrino captured many scenes from life on the
coast of Liguria in and near his home in Alassio
The painter and entrepreneur Mario Berrino was born on this day in 1920 in Alassio, the coastal town in Liguria where he spent almost all his life.

Berrino took up painting full time in his 50s and his simple yet atmospheric and evocative works became sought after by collectors, often selling for hundreds of euros at auction.

Alassio has a gallery dedicated entirely to his work, as does the jet set playground of Monte Carlo, about 100km (62 miles) along the riviera coastline to the west, not far from Italy’s border with France.

Before that, Berrino had lived a colourful life in and around his home town, his entrepreneurial spirit shining through in many projects that left a lasting impression on Alassio.

As a young man, he helped his father and brothers run a bar and restaurant in Alassio, the Caffè Roma, which earned fame in the years between the First and Second World Wars as a hang-out for writers, artists, and musicians, among them the American novelist Ernest Hemingway, who was a frequent visitor to Italy and became a close friend of Berrino.

It was when Hemingway was in Alassio in 1953 that Berrino hatched the idea of attaching brightly coloured tiles to the low wall of a public garden opposite the Caffè Roma bearing the signatures of artists who had visited the restaurant.

Il Muretto di Alassio, which Berrino created on a wall outside the Caffè Roma, still attracts visitors
Il Muretto di Alassio, which Berrino created on a
wall outside the Caffè Roma, still attracts visitors
He asked a ceramicist to create some tiles and he and Hemingway crossed the road between the Caffè Roma and the garden one evening, using cement to attach the first three - one bearing Hemingway’s own signature and a second with the signature of a guitarist Cosimo de Ceciglie. The third carried all four signatures of a singing group, Il Quartetto Cetra.

The wall became known as Il Muretto di Alassio and remains a tourist attraction today, with close to 1,000 tiles, the criteria for inclusion expanded to include personalities from cinema, television, fashion, entertainment and sport.

In the same year as the wall came into being, Berrino launched a beauty contest, Miss Muretto, which was held every year until 2013. The winners include several women who have gone on to achieve a degree of fame, including the TV presenters Simona Ventura, Maria Teresa Ruta, Elisa Isoardi and Melissa Satta.

Berrino launched himself with enthusiasm into several other entrepreneurial ideas, cashing in on Alassion’s reputation for invigorating sea air by selling l’Aria Pura di Alassio in 500 litre jars, for which he received orders from all over Europe.

Berrino on the occasion of a 90th birthday celebration in Alassio
Berrino on the occasion of a 90th
birthday celebration in Alassio
He also successfully organised the Sciaccagiara, in which Formula One racing drivers including world champion James Hunt and the popular Swiss-Italian Clay Regazzoni, raced each other on steamrollers.

He was a popular figure in Alassio, usually seen driving his red Fiat Ghia 500 Jolly, a specially adapted Fiat 500 with a removable canopy top and wicker seats that was favoured by celebrities and VIPs ranging from the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis to Italian Communist leader Enrico Berlinguer.

Berrino set aside a wall of the Caffè Roma, called La buca del Muretto, to allow artists to exhibit, which was his inspiration to take up painting himself. Using watercolour, tempera, encaustic and oil techniques, he had become an established painter in the 1960s and from 1976 onwards devoted himself to painting full time.

Two years earlier, he had survived the ordeal of being kidnapped by a gang who demanded 300 million lire be paid for his release. Berrino managed to escape from captivity to the safety of a Carabinieri station.

Berrino remains a personality held in deep affection by the town of Alassio, who staged a celebration of his life on the 100th anniversary of his birth in 2020, nine years after his death in Alassio in August 2011.

A painting by Berrino that captures the beauty of Alassio's location on the coast of Liguria
A painting by Berrino that captures the beauty
of Alassio's location on the coast of Liguria
Travel tip:

Alassio is an attractive town on the Riviera di Ponente, the stretch of coastline that stretches southwest of the Ligurian capital of Genoa to the town of Ventimiglia, close to the French border. Renowned for its sandy beaches and blue seas, Alassio is popular for bathing in the summer and as a health resort in the winter.  It is a tourist-friendly town not least for having a narrow, pedestrianised street known as Il Budello which runs the length of the town just a few steps away from the beach. The English composer Edward Elgar is said to have written an overture while staying in Alassio during the winter of 1903-04, having been drawn to the area by its reputation for mild winters.  Read more...

The Caffè Roma remains a thriving business in Alassio today
The Caffè Roma remains a thriving
business in Alassio today
Travel tip:

The Caffè Roma, in Via Dante Alighieri, remains a thriving part of the life of Alassio, a symbolic monument to the town and its history as one of the resorts most favoured by writers, artists and musicians. The Muretto di Alassio remains a draw for visitors, who often spend many minutes trying to decipher the signatures on the ceramic tiles. The restaurant and cafe itself is housed in an attractive building in the Italian variant of Art Nouveau known as Stile Liberty.

Also on this day:

1929: The birth of motorcycle world champion Carlo Ubbiali

1955: The birth of Mafia ‘pentito’ Leonardo Messina

1958: The birth of tenor Andrea Bocelli

1979: The birth of writer Roberto Saviano


24 October 2017

Luciano Berio – composer

War casualty who became significant figure in Italian music

Luciano Berio was an experimental composer with a prolific output
Luciano Berio was an experimental
composer with a prolific output
The avant-garde composer Luciano Berio, whose substantial catalogue of diverse work made him one of the most significant figures in music in Italy in the modern era, was born on this day in 1925 in Oneglia, on the Ligurian coast.

Noted for his innovative combining of voices and instruments and his pioneering of electronic music, Berio composed more than 170 pieces between 1937 and his death in 2003.

His most famous works are Sinfonia, a composition for orchestra and eight voices in five movements commissioned by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1968, and dedicated to the conductor Leonard Bernstein, and his Sequenza series of 18 virtuoso solo works that each featured a different instrument, or in one case a female voice alone.

Berio's musical fascinations included Italian opera, particularly Monteverdi and Verdi, the 20th-century modernism of Stravinsky, the Romantic symphonies of Schubert, Brahms and Mahler, folk songs, jazz and the music of the Beatles.

All these forms influenced him in one way or another and even his most experimental work paid homage to the past. In writing operas, concerti, string quartets or pieces for solo instruments, Berio could be said to have contributed to tradition, even if composing pieces that followed traditional forms was far from his thinking.

The apparent chaos of Sinfonia, for example, may seem as far away from a traditional symphony as is possible and yet conforms to the principle of what constitutes a symphony, a combination of different moods, keys and emotions. 

Berio at a formal appearance in The Hague in 1972, pictured with Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of The Netherlands
Berio at a formal appearance in The Hague in 1972, pictured
with Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of The Netherlands
The eight voices often speak or shout rather than sing, yet in superimposing texts by authors ranging from James Joyce to Samuel Beckett and snatches from many classical and romantic works of music on to a framework of the scherzo of Mahler's Second Symphony, Berio creates, by definition, a symphony.

Berio came from a musical background. Both his grandfather Adolfo and father Ernesto were organists and he might have become a concert pianist but for the misfortune that befell him in the Second World War.

It was late in the conflict – 1944 – when he was called up. He considered joining the resistance movement, but feared what the consequences might be for his family and so accepted conscription.  Given a loaded gun on his first day, he was trying to learn how it worked when it went off, badly injuring his right hand.

He spent three months in a military hospital before fleeing to Como, joining the partisans after all. When, after the war, he entered the Milan Conservatory, it was clear his hand injury would prevent him achieving proficiency as a pianist, at which point he decided to concentrate on composition.

A suite for piano he had written in 1947 was his first work to be publicly performed. He earned his keep by accompanying singing classes and accepting conducting engagements in small opera houses.

The Studio Fonologia in Milan that Berio helped establish
The Studio Fonologia in Milan that Berio helped establish
One of the singers he accompanied was Cathy Berberian, an American soprano with whom he fell in love and married within a few months. He visited the United States for the first time on honeymoon and thereafter became a frequent visitor, where he won a scholarship to study at Tanglewood in Massachusetts, the summer home of the Boston Philharmonic.

At the same time, Berio was beginning to experiment with electronic music.  He and Bruno Maderna, another Italian he had met at an annual summer school on Germany where avant-garde composers would congregate, became co-directors of an electronic studio within the Milan studios of the state broadcaster, RAI.

He and Berberian divorced in 1964 but Berio continued to spend much of his time in New York with his second wife, Susan Oyama, a Japanese psychology student. He had founded the Juilliard Ensemble while teaching at the Juilliard School of Music. He resigned from the Juilliard in 1971, divorcing Oyama in the same year.

He returned to Italy and bought a house to renovate in the hill town of Radicondoli, near Siena, where he planted vineyards and fruit trees. He moved into the house in 1975 and was soon married for a third time, to the Israeli musicologist, Talia Pecker.  

Berio, whose other acclaimed works include Opera and Coro, both composed in the 1970s, La Vera Storia (1981) and Outis (1996), remained an active composer until his death.  He was Distinguished Composer in Residence at Harvard University until 2000, when he became president of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he was living at the time of his death.

The waterfront at Imperia, looking towards Porto Maurizio
The waterfront at Imperia, looking towards Porto Maurizio
Travel tip:

Oneglia, where Luciano Berio was born, ceased to exist as a town in its own right in 1923, when it and its neighbour, Porto Maurizio, were subsumed into a new city of Imperia, created by Benito Mussolini as part of his drive to create ideal Fascist cities. Today, Imperia is part industrial port and part tourist resort.  What used to be Oneglia is at the eastern end of Imperia, around Piazza Dante, which is at the centre of a long shopping street, Via Aurelia.

The church of Santi Simone e Guida in the ancient town of Radicondoli
The church of Santi Simone e Guida
in the ancient town of Radicondoli
Travel tip:

Radicondoli, situated about 50km (31 miles) west of Siena, is a beautiful walled medieval town of Etruscan origins, perched on a hilltop and offering outstanding views of the surrounding countryside, looking out over typical rolling Tuscan hills.  The town itself, with quaint cobbled streets, is home to little more than 1,000 inhabitants, with an economy and lifestyle based on farming, and a diet rich in local produce.

1 August 2017

Francesca Scanagatta - soldier

Woman pretended to be a man to join Austrian army

Francesca Scanagatta convinced the Austrian authorities she was a man
Francesca Scanagatta convinced the
Austrian authorities she was a man
Francesca Scanagatta, an Italian woman who served in the Imperial Austrian army for seven years while pretending to be a man, was born on this day in 1776 in Milan.

Scanagatta – sometimes known as Franziska – was a small and apparently rather plain girl, who was brought up in Milan while the city was under Austrian rule. She admired the Austrian soldiers to the extent of wishing she could join the army, yet knew that as a girl she would not be allowed to.

Even so, it did not stop her dreaming and throughout her childhood and teenage years she worked on becoming physically stronger through exercise while reading as much literature as she could about the army.

By contrast, her brother Giacomo hated the idea of joining up. He was rather effeminate in nature and the very thought of becoming a soldier filled him with dread.  Yet his father wanted him to serve and arranged for him to attend a military school in Vienna.

Giacomo confided his fears in Francesca and she suddenly realised she had an opportunity to fulfil her dreams by signing up in his place.

So, in June 1794, dressed as a man, the 17-year-old travelled with Giacomo to Austria and joined the Theresianische Militärakademie – the Theresian Military Academy – in his place as an external student.

When he learned what had happened, Francesca's father made plans to go to Vienna to bring her home, but she was so passionate about fulfilling her ambition that eventually he backed down and allowed her to stay at the academy.

A battlefield scene from around the time Scanagatta  was recruited by the Austrian army fighting France
A battlefield scene from around the time Scanagatta
was recruited by the Austrian army fighting France
Maintaining the pretence of being a man, she gained excellent grades and graduated as an ensign in January 1797.

She narrowly missed being drawn into a combat role later the same year, leading a reinforcement troop from Hungary to join her battalion on the Rhine preparing to repel the advancing armies of Napoleon in the later stages of the French Revolutionary Wars.  Napoleon’s earlier victories worried the Austrian commanders, however, and a peace treaty was agreed before Francesca’s men saw any action.

In February 1799, as hostilities broke out again, she marched with her company to join the so-called War of the Second Coalition against the French, only to be denied the chance to fight again, this time after suffering a severe attack of rheumatism, which confined her to two months of recuperation before she could rejoin the battalion.

In the meantime, she was transferred to a regiment based at Pancsova in an area now part of northern Serbia, with whom she marched to Italy to reinforce the Austrian lines.  She showed herself to be tough and resilient in testing conditions.

Rumours that she was not who she said she was were sometimes openly discussed among her colleagues but when another soldier teased her for being small, scarcely disguising what he was thinking, she challenged him to a duel and won, although she contented herself with merely wounding her opponent.

A scene from the Battle of Marengo, a significant victory for the French in the War of the Second Coalition
A scene from the Battle of Marengo, a significant victory
for the French in the War of the Second Coalition
Fully recovered from her illness, in December 1799 she led an attack on the French trenches at Barbagelata, a strategic village above the Val d’Aveto in Liguria, in the province of Genoa.

This was the last straw as far as her worried family were concerned.  When she returned home to visit during the early weeks of 1800, they tried desperately to persuade her to leave the army.

Instead, promoted to lieutenant in March of that year, Francesca returned to the Siege of Genoa, at which her father took the decision, despite knowing the fury his actions would provoke, of informing the Austrian authorities that the ‘man’ they had just made a lieutenant was, in fact, his daughter.

She was obliged to resign on the very day Genoa fell, on June 4, 1800. Nonetheless, her commander, Friedrich Heinrich von Gottesheim, held a party in her honour, out of respect for her bravery and outstanding conduct.

Back in Milan, she maintained close contact with the army and began a courtship with Lieutenant Spini, of the Italian Presidential (later Royal) Guard, whom she married in January, 1804.

They had four children, two boys and two girls. When the boys were old enough, they were allowed to wear the medals their mother was not permitted to wear.

She died in 1865 aged 89. Her portrait hangs in the Theresian Academy in Wiener Neustadt, 60km (37 miles) south of Vienna.

Travel tip:

The hamlet of Barbagelata, 1,115 metres above sea level some 48km (30 miles) north-east of Genoa, is officially listed as having 35 buildings and a population of just 17 people, with only seven over the age of 15.

Three Mozart operas were staged for the first time at Milan's Teatro Regio Ducale
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Travel tip:

Milan was in the possession of Austria from 1707 to 1797, the period of the Hapsburgs, and again after the end of Napoleon’s rule from 1815 to 1859, when the Austrians were defeated at the Battle of Solferino and Milan became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.   During the first period of Austrian rule, Milan became a centre of lyric opera. In the 1770s, Mozart unveiled three operas at the Teatro Regio Ducale - Ascanio in AlbaMitridate, re di Ponto, and Lucio Silla. Later, after Teatro Regio Ducale burned down, Teatro alla Scala became the foremost opera theatre in the world, with its premières of Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi.


21 July 2016

Beppe Grillo - comedian turned activist

Grillo's Five Star Movement gaining popularity

Beppe Grillo addresses a crowd of  supporters in Sestri Levante in Liguria
Beppe Grillo addresses a crowd of
supporters in Sestri Levante in Liguria
The comedian turned political activist Beppe Grillo was born on this day in 1948 in Genoa.

Grillo is the founder and president of the Five Star Movement - Movimento Cinque Stelle - a growing force in Italian politics that enjoyed one of its first high-profile successes when Virginia Raggi was elected Mayor of Rome in 2016.

Luigi Di Maio, who succeeded Grillo as leader, became Italy’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister between 2018 and 2019.  The party's current president, Giuseppe Conte, was prime minister of Italy from 2018 to 2021. 

The Five Star Movement - M5S - polled more than 25 per cent of the votes for the Chamber of Deputies at the 2013 elections in Italy and almost 24 per cent of the votes for the Senate, although under existing electoral rules this translated to only 109 seats among 630 Deputies and 54 of the 315 Senators.

Nonetheless, the group is seen as the biggest threat to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left Democratic Party at the next national elections in 2018.

Raggi won 67 per cent of the vote in Rome. Another M5S candidate, Chiara Appendino, was elected Mayor of Turin, beating the Democratic Party candidate into second place.  Overall, Five Star won 19 of 20 mayoral elections which it contested.

Grillo launched M5S as a protest group in 2009 but his ability to inspire audiences led to a rapid growth in popularity.  It has positioned itself as anti-corruption, anti-globalisation and pro transparency in the political system.  It wants a system introduced to provide universal income support for the poor and campaigns for a referendum that would give Italians the chance to ditch the euro and revert to the lira as its currency.

Having originally trained as an accountant, Grillo took up comedy in the late 1970s after being spotted by the television presenter Pippo Baudo.

Virginia Raggi, the Movimento Cinque Stelle candidate recently elected as Mayor of Rome
Virginia Raggi, the Movimento Cinque Stelle candidate
recently elected as Mayor of Rome
Despite a conviction for manslaughter after a road accident in 1980 in which three people sadly died, his own television career blossomed to the point at which he was fronting his own shows.

However, his taste for satire proved to be his downfall as a TV presenter.  Complaints from politicians offended by his jokes were common yet his audience figures were huge, attracting as many as 15 million viewers for a single show. Given that he was employed by the state-owned broadcaster RAI, he was always treading a fine line between what was acceptable and what was not and a vitriolic attack on Bettino Craxi, Italy's first socialist prime minister in the modern era, eventually led to him effectively being banned.

Ironically, Craxi was eventually disgraced after being convicted of corruption.

Grillo continued to perform in the theatre and his touring act inevitably had a political theme.  In 2005 he launched his own blog, which attracted a considerable following, and it was after he organised "V-Day" - the V stands for a well-known Italian obscenity - and garnered 300,000 signatures on a petition demanding clean politics in Italy that he had the idea for launching M5S.

His opponents have denounced him as a populist who derives support from Italian resentment of the political establishment.

He lives with his Iranian-born second wife, Parvin Tadjk, in Nervi, a former fishing village a few miles along the Ligurian coast from central Genoa.

Genoa's Via Garibaldi is lined with elegant palaces
Travel tip:

The sixth largest city in Italy, Genoa derives its wealth from shipyards and steel works, which made possible the construction of numerous marble palaces and elegant squares that earned the city the nickname of La Superba. Look out for the beautiful Cathedral of San Lorenzo and the palaces along the Via Garibaldi.

Travel tip:

Just seven miles from the centre of Genoa, Nervi has become almost a suburb of the city, although it retains many characteristics of the fishing village it once was.  Its chief attraction is the elevated Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi, a two-kilometre walkway along the cliffs offering stunning views.

More reading:

How Italy's PM Matteo Renzi was inspired by the Scout Movement

(Photo of Virginia Raggi by Movimento Cinque Stelle CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Photo of Via Garibaldi by Andrzej Otrębski CC BY-SA 3.0)