The Italian Riviera is a narrow coastal strip that extends from France to Capo Corvo at the eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia, close to the border with Tuscany. It is centered on the port of Genoa, which divides it into two main sections: the Riviera di Ponente, extending westward to Monaco, and the Riviera di Levante. Its scenic beauty has made it a popular destination for travelers since the 18th century, when it was frequented by the English poets Byron and Shelley. Picturesque towns include Portofino, Bordighera and Lerici. The Cinque Terre is a particularly rugged section of the coast dotted by the five villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The Mediterranean has many exquisite harbors, but Portofino is perhaps the loveliest of them all. The town of Portofino, with its pastel-colored houses clustered around an absurdly picturesque yacht harbor, is arguably the prettiest port in the entire Mediterranean. Alas, in high season, the traffic and the crowds are insufferable.

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