LONDON March 19, 2009
Sample the best of the Italian Riviera – delicious wines, pasta al pesto, and world-renowned olives – at this gourmet event to launch the grand opening of the Italian Riviera’s first cycling path: Cycling Riviera, Liguria, Italy.
Hosted by Claudio Burlando, president of Regione Liguria and Tullio Russo, president of Area 24, developer of Cycling Riviera, the event promises to be a fantastic introduction to the delights of the Italian Riviera, including an overview of the new eco-friendly cycling path.
The spectacularly beautiful cycle-pedestrian path hugs the picturesque Ligurian coast between Tuscany and the south of France. The first 24km stretch, from Ospedaletti via Sanremo to San Lorenzo al Mare, which opens this year, offers a truly unique Italian Riviera holiday for cycling enthusiasts and families alike.
“With the Mediterranean on one side and the Alps on the other, this new cycle-pedestrian path is one of the most beautiful in Europe, the first on the Italian Sea” says Mr. Burlando, “Almost 2 centuries after the English first discovered this coast, the cycle path will introduce a new generation of UK holiday makers to the delights of Liguria.”
The route, which follows an old railway line, wends through eight historic fishing villages and the glamorous town of Sanremo. It provides access to five kilometres of previously unreachable beaches and an 444.000 sq metres ecological coastal sea park that protects a whale sanctuary.
When finished in 2010, the new Cycling Riviera will stretch for 74km. “This is the first time in Italy we are replacing an old railroad with a cycle/pedestrian path that will create a protected natural environment, car free, and tourist friendly,” said Tullio Russo of Area 24, the Euros30 million public-private partnership that developed the project.
Riviera Cycling offers something for everyone:
* For nature lovers there is the sea park sanctuary with a unique microclimate and flora.
* For those also seeking the glamour of the Riviera, Sanremo is the quintessential destination with its famous casino and designer shops.
* For sports enthusiasts, the path leads you to scuba diving and sailing schools and a new 18-hole golf course.
* For foodies, Liguria produces unique local wines and food, including the famous Taggiasche Olives, Albenga purple asparagus, and Ligurian red prawns.
The path is a cyclist’s dream. Flat and wide, it is perfect for families. For experienced cyclists it offers a gateway to the world-renowned Milano-Sanremo route, and mountain bikers can explore the nearby Maritime Alps.
The English first established this stretch of the Italian Riviera as one of the most fashionable holiday spot in the early 1800s. The extremely temperate climate made it the ideal destination for Europe’s wealthy aristocrats seeking a warm place for winter, a spa cure, or simply a beautiful location with luxuriant vegetation and subtropical gardens.
Queen Victoria and later Winston Churchill holidayed at the Villa Hanbury, 20km from Sanremo. Alfred Nobel spent the last years of his life here.
Today the Italian Riviera takes a new lease of life with the opening of the New Cycling path. It is easy to reach with low-cost airlines flying from the UK to Genoa at one end and Nice at the other. Cycles are available to hire for as little as Euros 5 an hour, and accommodation of all types is offered on the routes.
With universal worries about recession and climate change, the popularity of cycling holidays has increased by 30% (Mintel research on Tourism Trends). This is not only out of respect for the environment but also because it¹s a perfect activity holiday for all ages and especially families.
Western Liguria – the very accessible area between the French border and Genoa- is a relatively undiscovered region of Italy. It offers spectacular coasts and beaches, lots of Italian culture and history, and great local wine and food. It has a unique “eternal spring” micro-climate, which earns it the nickname of the “Costa dei Fiori”and now with the addition of the best cycle path in Italy, it’s a all year round, irresistible new destination.