Savona, Champion of flavor and clean sea

 

One of the busiest ports in Northern Italy, at first sight it may not convince the most demanding tourist, but beyond what’s its great and important port you may be fascinated by a city rich of history and natural beauty which is part of the Western Ligurian Riviera. Savona is also a city to live more than just a few weeks a year: Mediterranean climate and a very good quality of life.

The city's name seems to be linked to the invention of soap, which took place here starting from the oil of olive tree, symbol of Western Liguria. Many are the points of interest in the town both in the port  area and in the center. To signal the entrance into the heart of the historical center, from Old Docks side, there’s the Brandale Tower, a hundred meters ahead instead stands the Cathedral of Nostra Signora Assunta (Our Assumed Lady), a sixteenth century building from whose right aisle leads to a cloister which faces to the Sistine Chapel built by the request of Pope Sixtus IV.

Savona has a culinary tradition mainly based on local products, including an excellent extra virgin olive oil that comes from different varieties of olives, olive Arnasca, Pignola and Taggiasca, particularly valuable vegetables and fruits, many aromatic plants, including the garlic of Vessalico, mushrooms, truffles, meats and cheeses. Typical of the town is the “white farinata”, which differs from the classic Ligurian one not being prepared with chickpea flour but with wheat flour. If you’re searching for the temple of traditional cuisine, “Vino e Farinata located in via Pia is the place for you, an ancient and characteristic place that expresses history and tradition.

Famous are also the “Panissa”, prepared with the same ingredients of the  farinata but without olive oil, savory pies, like turtelìn de côi, prepared with winter cabbage, and focacce (buns), stronghold of Ligurian cuisine.

To eat them we recommend the excellent restaurant Barbarossa, that welcomes guests in a medieval style room with ceilings with large vaults and wooden and iron chandeliers, which combine with a sober and refined decor. Here, in the city ofchinotto” (orange bitter pop) which has become garrison of “Slow Food”, the dishes of land coexist with those of sea; if you want to indulge your senses with the specialties of the sea, make a reservation for the restaurant A Spurcacciuna, a charming romantic location where the fish (always fresh and valuable) is the protagonist of refined dishes prepared with care and creativity, or even at Osteria Bacco, for 31 years historical reference point of the Savona cuisine, where specialties like fried cod and fish ravioli are accompanied by the best Ligurian wines and a contagious sympathy and kindness.

After a walk in the dock and on the terrace of Crescent (complex of buildings), treat yourself with the freshness and goodness of an ice cream at Gelig, an ice cream shop that serves a homemade ice cream (and not only) made of high quality raw materials, with traceability of ingredients. Among the specialties, chinotto ice cream, ricotta cream with acacia honey and pine nuts, muscat zabaglione made ​​with chopped amaretto of Sassello and pure Sicilian pistachio.

For a stay in the historic heart of Savona, where the sea enters the city, Italian Traditions suggests the NH Savona Darsena, a resort offering accommodation with local tones and modern furniture, or also Mare Hotel, located on the seafront with a private beach, a large terrace overlooking the sea with an outdoor pool and modern rooms with sea or hill view.