Genoa is the capital of Liguria, a crescent-shaped region that stretches from the French border to the west to Tuscany in the east. Its entire length is defined by a range of mountains, the Ligurian Apennines, that slope down to the Ligurian Sea, which adjoins the Mediterranean Sea. Along the coast where the ancient Roman road Via Aurelia runs there are villas and small towns that were once fishing villages or resorts; now most have been developed for touristic use. Towns such as Camogli, Portofino and the Cinque Terre lie to the east of Genoa, with beach towns such as Arenzano and Albisola to the west.
Liguria has a variety of landscapes, from the coast with its beaches, to the gardens and parks of villas, to the row of mountains that define Liguria, with villages, forts, and trails along the ridges with open vistas to the sea.
Liguria's coast is part of the Italian Riviera, with a long series of beach towns, each different in character. Generally, to the east (Levante) where the landscape is steeper, the beaches tend to be smaller with small, smooth stones. To the west (Ponente) they tend to be wider with sand. In both cases the towns are close to the sea, offering many places to eat, get a drink or stroll.