The region occupies a long, narrow coastline on the border with France, around the Genoa Gulf, and, thanks to its position, enjoys a wonderfully mild climate and a picturesque landscape, with a mountainous hinterland, constellated of medieval boroughs among a rich Mediterranean vegetation.
Occupied by the Romans in the 3rd century BC, Liguria belonged with Piemonte to the Decima Regio of the Roman Empire, then in the early 4th century AD was united to Emilia.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire it was conquered by the Byzantines who named it Provincia Maritima Italorum and then in the early 7th century by the Lombards, followed one century later by the Franks, who divided it into 3 feudal territories called Arduinica (in the west), Aleramica (in the center) and Obertenga (in the east), then was subsequently further divided into a number of fiefdoms such as Cavi, Lavagna, Savona, Ventimiglia, Nice, Genoa.
With the rise in power of the Communes against the feudal lords, very soon Genoa acquired the supremacy in the region, and became a powerful maritime republic, often at wars with other sea-trading centers like Savona and Venice. In the following century there were periods of independence followed by darker periods of foreign occupation, as under the Visconti of Milan.
The Republic of Genoa was an important ally of Napoleon, and suffered a blockade by the English fleet in 1805. For this reason it lost its independence in 1825, when the Congress of Vienna annexed the whole of Liguria to the Kingdom of Sardinia, under the Savoy family. The history of the region, always dependent on the sea, saw since mid-1800 a never-ending exodus of hundreds of thousands of Italian emigrants from the port of Genoa to destinations overseas.
The coast is divided into two very different sectors: the eastern side, called Riviera di Levante, is full of cliffs over the sea, with very beautiful landscapes like Portofino and the Cinque Terre, while the western part, the Riviera di Ponente, is all bays and beaches.
Among the highlights of the Ligurian landscape is th Cinque Terre, a favorite destination for travellers who appreciated walking,an area of villages with no car traffic, connected only by trekking itineraries or public transportation.
The hinterland is interspersed with medieval villages, where agritourist farms offer organic products and traditional healthy dishes, while a few miles down along the riviera glamorous sea resorts as Rapallo and Sanremo welcome tourists and shoppers.
Liguria is covered with forests of chestnut trees, oaks, beech trees, and a wealth of flowers, for which the region is the main center in Italy. There is some agricultural activity, mostly olive trees and vineyards, though the main resource of the region is undoubtedly tourism and trade through the ports, especially Genoa.