(Above: A beach club in Finale Ligure. I’m drinking a rare Italian iced coffee. The waiter asked if I wanted it shakerizzato. That means what it sounds like, shaken with ice, but I was amused that the concept was so foreign they had to appropriate an American word to describe it.)
Since I mentioned going to the sea with my friend Stella in my last post, I thought I would do a short post on the town we visited, Finale Ligure, as well.
Finale Ligure is near Savona, which is to say it’s roughly halfway between Genova and Nice. It’s one of the shore cities closest to Torino. This area of the coast is called the Italian Riviera, and it’s easy to see why: The water is blue, the towns are elegant, the the beach is lined with palms and beautiful rock outcroppings edged by narrow sand beaches.
The beaches are almost entirely taken up by permanent beach chairs with umbrellas, which you rent by the month. There are clubs all along the shore that rent them out. And the clubs have restaurants and bars open to the beach where people spend the afternoon in various states of dress ranging from elegant shifts with jewelry to not much at all. Life is more casual than in the interior cities, but it’s still a far cry from the Jimmy Buffet culture of northern Florida.
Stella and I went down just for the day, but many people rent a place for a week, own a place, or even go to Sardegna for a month.
One day at the shore by no means makes me an expert on Italian beach culture, but I know the sea is a big deal here. Italy is a peninsula, after all, and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
But I still prefer the mountains. And Italy has a lot of those too.
(Below: the façade of one church and the ceiling of another, plus the main shoreline piazza in Finale Ligure)