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Sta Margherita Ligure

Four days


Another heavenly town along the rail line from La Spezia to Genova. That active little stazione is quite literally in the middle of things; up the hills behind lurk mansions of Italian noble families (whatever that designation really signifies these days: maybe huge wealth of obscure origin). And downhill are hotels and apartments and harbors with colorful semi-extravagant boats moored or at anchor.

All along the Ligurian coast ruins seem to hang on for yet more centuries: reminders of the days when pirates plied these waters, or Spaniards seeking to expand their territory ... or simply to pillage weaker churches to take valuable stuff back to adorn their own altars.


A little farther down the roadwayaway from the crass rail lines, calendar-illustration Portofino lounges along the water's edge. Tastefully funky (yes, I think there really is such a thing here), its self-consciously monied residents strut their well coifed and stylishly clad selves here and there, while ordinary tourists like us enjoy the spectacle. You can walk here or, more fun, take the periodic water taxi as the video here records.


And one more illustration of the essential harmony of the place. One cannot imagine getting MacDonald's or Burger King fast foods here, or making an A&W stop for a root beer float. No matter their contribution to an economy, some things are just too tacky.

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