Imagine the Wines, Imagine the Delicacies
By: Claudio DeMarchi
I can see myself here, again. Some twenty years ago I slipped past the beautiful city of Genoa on my way to Monaco. Don’t ask me why as we just did. Having just spent a few weeks doing the Italian thing, and with vacation time running out, done with visiting family in Torino, Monaco was not far, on our mind and there was no stopping us.
Since that time, I have returned to Italy, clubs in tow, and played in Milan, played the two courses just outside Torino that have hosted many Italian Opens, and even ventured up to George Clooney’s ‘hood of Lake Como for a few rounds there. I would say it might just be time to go back! Italy has some awesome golf and plenty of it!
The region of Liguria is a narrow strip bordered by the Ligurian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between the Italian Riviera and the Island of Corsica. To the north the Italian Alps loom large (up to 3,000m) and are a major influence in keeping the moderate year-round climate.
- 105 Miles from the Coast of Portofino to the French Border
- 3 Charming Golf Clubs, 3 Luxury Hotels
A trifecta of charming golf clubs and three luxury hotels have joined forces to promote the Liguria Golf Destination, offering up Stay & Play that is exclusive to the Italian Riviera. This small region in the north-west of Italy, close to the border with France, is easily accessible via international flights landing in either Genova, Italy or Nice, France.
The coastal Town of Rapallo is home to one of the Stay & Play options. You would not expect anything but 5-star luxury, would you? It awaits you – after all it is the Italian Riviera! Plan to spend at least a few days at The Excelsior Palace Hotel site of the first ever Italian casino sits cliffside overlooking the warm Gulf of Tigullio and the Portofino Coastline. An elegant ambiance with 119 rooms and plenty of options to taste Italian cuisine and wine and a private beach, two panoramic pools, the Health Club and Spa. Among the distinguished guests enjoying the Excelsior luxury over the years, the Duke of Windsor, “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen and George Clooney. Excelsior Palace Hotel
The Excelsior provides access to the historic Rapallo Golf & Tennis Club who’s original 9 was built in 1931 with the additional 9 holes added in the 1960’s. A course renovation was completed in the 1990’s by architect Cabell Robinson with some influence on holes 5 & 6 from Italian PGA Tour star Costantino Rocca. Not a long course by todays standards at just over 6,000 yards and plays to a par 70. Accuracy over distance prevails here with more than your fair share of dog legs. Enjoy the views that the elevation changes provide. Circolo Golf e Tennis Rapallo, il Golf a Genova e in Liguria
At a mid point between Monaco and Portofino sits a delightful and charming property that you would be remiss if you did not make it a part of your golf vacation to the Italian Riviera. La Meridiana Hotel & Golf Resort is a magical place with only 26 customized units, exquisite dinning and one of the most select wine lists you will find. All within a stone throw from the resorts, Garlenda Golf Club. The olive tree lined fairways guide you through the course established in 1964. Elevation changes engage you with panoramic views, flanked by the Alps and the Riviera’s coastline. Golf Club Garlenda Liguria | La Meridiana Hotel & Golf Resort.
Moving ever closer to the French border (60 minutes from Nice), your next consideration should be the luxurious seaside resort, Royal Hotel San Remo established in 1872; a 5 star resort and rich in tradition, its mandate is to offer you the splendor of the past with the comforts of the present. Its individually decorated rooms have hosted countless members of royalties and celebrities. Nothing compares to a candlelit dinner served on the terrace overlooking the sea at Il Giardino.
Another of the regions historic golf clubs is affiliated with the Royal Hotel and the name “The Golf Club of Olives” should give you insight into what you might expect. Playing to a par of 69, from the tips is only 5,700 yards so handling the course with finesse will subdue length. Don’t underestimate this course as it hosted the Italian PGA Championship 2005 thru 2007 and the European Senior Tour in 2004. Royal Hotel Sanremo
Stay and play in Liguria is so much more than golf. Exploring the small region in the north-western part of Italy should be a slow trip along the Mediterranean coastline. You will not get tired of the views, sunsets and sunrises are beyond compare. Beaches, small fishing villages and medieval hamlets line this coastal route. Discover the exquisite taste and the fine wines of The Italian Riviera. Mix in the refreshing breeze from the Mediterranean, allowing for some beach time of course. Savour the scent of wild flowers, olive and lemon trees. The olive oil industry is a strong tradition here, a matter of pride.
Tradition, charm, challenging holes and warm hospitality describe golf in Liguria. Within steps of each finishing hole are 19th holes full of local flavours and dishes like no others and served on a terrace overlooking the sea. Imagine homemade pasta (trofie, trenette, pansotti) with pesto, basil leaves and olive oil for the king of sauces.
The Liguria Golf Destination encompasses some the best of hospitality with three luxurious 5-star hotels. Members of some of the finest hotel groups including: Leading Hotels of the World, Legend Preferred Hotels or Relais & Châteaux. Each one is a memorable experience.
This is a golf vacation like no other, to rush this would not do it justice. Embrace the laid-back Italian pace and atmosphere the Italian Riviera provide. Things you might want to consider on a trip through the region could include:
- A cooking class.
- Getting lost as you explore the tight alleys of the old town of Genova.
- Wandering one of the many medieval villages.
- Shop in the brand new Sanremo Mall. Shop the villages.
- See how olives are transformed in top quality extra vergine oil.
- Bike along the Via Julia Augusta or the high paths overlooking the coastline.
- Try your luck at the famous Casinò di Sanremo.
- Lay on a beach
It is so much more than just another golf trip. So, whether you come to Liguria for a golf vacation or bring your clubs on a vacation to Liguria, you will be treated like kings and queens on an adventure of a lifetime.
Should you care to do a little more research on Italy and the Italian Riviera you might find the links below helpful.
The Liguria region: www.lamialiguria.it/en
The City of Genova: visitgenoa.it/en/homepage
And Italy in general: www.enit.it/wwwenit/en/WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?