Taste of the Italian Riviera: Genoa and Portofino
Our top cooking vacations in Liguria feature the beautiful Italian Riviera, including the incomparable Genoa and Portofino.
Cooking Vacations in Liguria
The Italian Riviera, also known as the Ligurian Riviera, is a paradise on earth and one of the most beautiful destinations for our cooking vacations in Liguria. The region of Liguria is a thin strip of land that runs along the coast of the Ligurian Sea and borders the French Riviera. The result of this is a land defined by its incredible coastline, and, due to the mountains that lie just beyond, by its temperate climate and lush vegetation.
While many know of the Ligurian towns of the Cinque Terre, less known are the towns of the Western Riviera, which you will explore on your Taste of the Italian Riviera culinary vacation in Liguria. All the towns of the Liguria region are brightly colored, perched along the coastline, and characterized by picturesque centers, which you can explore on our Italian culinary tours.
The region is also known for its sunshine–some 300 days of it each year!–which is key to its production of fruits and vegetables, olive trees, and vineyards.
In fact, the cuisine of Liguria is dictated by the climate, making it one of the most distinctive of Italy. From the abundance of produce, to the fresh seafood harvested from the Ligurian sea, to the native products like Genovese basil and “chinotto”–the indigenous citrus fruit of the Western Riviera–Ligurian cuisine will delight and beguile.
The center of Liguria, and its capital city, is Genoa, a beautiful place full of old-world charm. Genoa divides the Italian Riviera into its eastern and western sections, and in addition to the famed town of Portofino you will explore the “Riviera di Ponente,” or the Riviera of the Setting Sun, on this amazing 4-night cooking vacation in Italy.
Genoa, called Genova in Italian, has for centuries been one of Italy’s most important ports. As such it has also been a key player in the commerce and culture of Italy’s storied history. Part of Genoa’s city center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it boasts the largest medieval city center in Europe. The old town center is comprised of a dizzying array of tiny, ancient cobblestoned alleys called “caruggi.” To travel from there to the old port is to understand Genoa in an instant.
Genoa is a perfectly wonderful destination to explore on its own, and it is also a great place to set off from when exploring the Italian Riviera on our cooking vacations in Liguria. During your Taste of the Italian Riviera culinary vacation you will head out from Genoa to visit such towns as the famed Portofino, Finalborgo, and Noli.
Whether it is your first time in Italy or whether you have visited it many times before, our Taste of the Italian Riviera culinary vacation will reveal a truly amazing corner of Italy, full of wonderful local dishes, native fruits and vegetables, beautiful scenery, and plenty of sunshine.
Liguria Cooking Vacation Details
Our top cooking vacations in Liguria include exactly what you would expect from a culinary tour with The International Kitchen! Hands-on cooking classes, beautiful accommodations, and unique, authentic tours. Our Italian Riviera cooking vacation in Genoa and Portofino includes:
- 4-star hotel accommodations
- private tours with a local expert of Genoa and the Western Riviera
- cooking classes in Genoa and Portofino
- meals as indicated
- and more!
Sample itinerary, subject to modification depending on season and weather.
- Arrive in gorgeous Genova and check in to your boutique hotel. (Transfers can be arranged on request, but your hotel will be an easy taxi ride from the airport or train station).
- Dinner tonight at a local restaurant recommended by the Slow Food guide.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Today your Liguria cooking vacation begins with an exploration of Genoa “from market to market” accompanied by your local guide, who will give you an insider’s perspective to this wonderful city.
- Start at the picturesque Mercato Orientale, one of the largest markets in town and a true food lover’s paradise.
- Then, head to the historical center of Genoa to discover its ancient food shops. Genoa has the largest medieval old town in Europe. Your guide will show you the authentic medieval alleys, the squares and Renaissance streets. You will explore the traditional food shops, such as the “friggitorie,” which serve friscieu (fried croquettes filled with herbs), farinata, and fried fresh seafood eaten at the counter like the locals. Discover the prestigious old pastry café beloved by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, and the “Pietro Romanengofu Stefano” confectionary shop, which dates back to the 1700s.
- Finish the tour at the gorgeous salons of a private Renaissance palace where our culinary expert will teach you to make the most typical pasta from Liguria: pansotti. This hand-made pasta is a type of raviolo stuffed with wild herbs and dressed with a walnut sauce prepared the traditional way, with mortar and pestle. After the lesson enjoy lunch based on your efforts along with other Ligurian specialties, all accompanied by local wines.
- In the afternoon, time to explore on your own or to shop.
- Dinner on your own and overnight.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- After breakfast, your Liguria culinary vacation continues with one of the most picturesque towns of the Italian Riviera–Portofino. You will travel there on your own with a short train ride followed by a panoramic trip by public boat (tickets and directions are included).
- Upon arrival in Portofino, meet your driver and travel to an old mill immersed in a natural setting surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, and other vegetation of the region. Here you will be welcomed at the Portofino Natural Park by a local culinary expert who will teach you the classic Ligurian pesto sauce.
- Lunch after the lesson based on your efforts, accompanied by local specialties and paired with a glass of wine from Portofino.
- Transfer back to Portofino’s center to have time to explore this beautiful village on your own.
- Return on your own by boat to Santa Margherita, and then by train to Genoa (tickets included).
- Dinner on your own and overnight.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Today your Liguria culinary tour will take you to a different part of the region. Meet your guide and depart for the western side of the Italian Riviera. Travel first to Finalborgo, an untouched village that is part of the “secret” riviera, a beautiful town completely surrounded by medieval walls. Visit a chinotto (citrus) grove and taste one of the rarest and most precious of citrus fruits: the chinotto. This bitter orange grows only in this area of the Italian Riviera and was used in past centuries by sailors for its rich vitamin content. The chinotto fruit is protected by the Slow Food Presidia, a project that works to save artisanal food products and native animal breeds and plant varieties. The producer you will visit is one of the few that transforms the fruit into delicious jams, candied fruit, and liqueurs. Visit the citrus grove, hear his family’s story, and taste the products made by the expert hands of his wife.
- Enjoy a traditional lunch in the historical center of Finalborgo, then continue on to the medieval hamlet of Noli, with its beautiful sandy beach. Here you will discover the “gozzi,” the typical boats of the local fishermen.
- Transfer back to Genoa, dinner on your own and overnight.
- Breakfast and depart on your own for the Genoa train station or airport.
- Or, are you interested in staying on another day and visiting the famed Cinque Terre? Please inquire for a special 1-night extension including guided tour!
Included in our 4-Night Cooking Vacations in Liguria
Four nights in a 4* hotel in the center of Genoa
Food & Beverages
- Daily breakfast
- 3 lunches
- 1 dinner
Classes & Instructors
Your two cooking classes will feature traditional Ligurian dishes, including the regional pasta dish “pansotti” and, of course, homemade Ligurian pesto.
- Half-day private guided tour of Genoa
- Full-day private guided visit of the Western Riviera including Finalborgo (with Chinotto plantation) and Noli
- Private cooking class in Genoa
- Private cooking class in Portofino
- Transfers are not included but can be arranged on request for an additional cost. However, your hotel will be within an easy taxi ride from the Genoa airport or train station.
- Train and public boat tickets between Genoa and Portofino
- City occupancy tax, paid locally at your accommodation
- Meals not indicated
Enjoy four nights in an elegant 4* hotel in the heart of Genoa, such as the Bristol Palace. The Bristol Palace is a historical luxury hotel dating back tot he Nineteenth Century and boasting a Liberty and Decò style, with plenty of old-world charm. The elegant and sound-proofed bedrooms feature high ceilings, mini-bars, flat-screen TVs, room safes, private en suite baths, and air conditioning. The hotel offers a restaurant with a seasonal terrace, as well as two bars. (If unavailable a comparable property will be proposed.)
Liguria Cooking Vacations on the Italian Riviera Pricing & Dates
Find pricing and dates for our cooking vacations in Liguria and the Italian Riviera below, and contact us for availability or to plan your trip.
Italian Riviera Cooking Vacations 2022 Pricing:
4-Night Italian Riviera Cooking Vacation Pricing
US$2785 per person based on double occupancy
- Add US$480 for single occupancy (use of a double room by 1 person)
30% deposit due to confirm booking.
Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!
Liguria Cooking Vacations on the Italian Riviera Dates
Our cooking vacations in Liguria and the Italian Riviera are available April through October for a minimum of 2 people. If you are interested in an off-season cooking vacation in Liguria, please inquire. Sample dates follow, but other start dates are also possible.
Available April through October. Please inquire for dates.
We can help plan the best cooking vacations in Liguria!
Whether you need help with flights, additional nights and tours in Liguria, a day in the Cinque Terre, or more, we are here to help you plan the perfect cooking vacation in Liguria and the Italian Riviera.We might not be able to pack for you, but there are many things we can help with to make your culinary vacation in Liguria that much better. Contact us for more information, or you can indicate your interest during check out and we will follow up directly! Contact Us
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