We made it to the Italian Riviera after our mammoth road trip journey from the UK to Italy. Phew! That was a journey and a half! Maps are so deceiving when you plan out your journeys huh?
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Anyway, we arrived in the town of Cogoleto and settled in to our lovely Italian apartment. We found it on Airbnb and this link should take you direct to the listing if you want a nosy (but if you’re wanting to take your first trip on Airbnb be sure to click this link for about £20 off your first booking).
One of the things I wanted to do more of on this trip was longer stays in one spot which we have managed to do when housesitting, but of course that comes with its own ties (normally furry ones!). This was our first time paying for an apartment for a month and really settling in one spot.
Italy has some really cheap apartments if you’re looking out of season and for the whole month – this one cost us about £670 for the month, including all bills (no wifi though – doesn’t seem very common in italian holiday apartments). We saw some much cheaper ones than this, but this one fitted our needs better with two bedrooms and separate beds for the kids – essential for a long stay!
Oh and I wanted the view.
How about that for a view?
Staying on the Italian Riviera
Cogoleto is a small town on the Liguria coast which is in the North West of Italy. It’s also known as the Italian Riviera and is just along the coast from the French Riviera. It’s about 30 km west of the city of Genoa and has a railway line so is well connected.
It’s apparently a tourist town and can get very busy in high season, but in October it was extremely quiet. I think we were the only people who weren’t italian in the whole town!
Weather in October in Liguria
We took a bit of a risk heading to North Italy in October and expecting sunshine. Actually, we weren’t expecting it, we expected slightly cold days, but we didn’t get them. Perhaps one or two at the very end of the month but overall we had amazing weather – not too hot, but sunny almost every day. I don’t think it was typical italian riviera weather though and normally isn’t as sunny and warm.
We had some amazing storms as well. Growing up in the UK I have never experienced a thunder storm to last hours like we had in Cogoleto. One night we were woken by the storm, went out on the balcony for ages to watch, then went to sleep and woke later with it still going on!
Storm clouds – no filter!
What did we do all month?
As always we were on a budget and so didn’t fill our days with lots and lots of day trips. The Italian toll roads and the cost of fuel would have added up too much. We did try and do at least one trip each week – we went to Monaco for the day, Pisa and Lucca in Tuscany and also to Genoa. We also visited a couple of the other towns on the Liguria coast. We really wanted to visit Cinque Terre but the storms hit that part of Italy quite badly and apparently the paths weren’t in a good way.
One other reason why we didn’t travel too far was that parking was a bit of a nightmare around the apartment! We were really worried that we’d never get parked again every time we went out. I know, I know, I need to get over my parking worries!
Church just across from our apartment.
Alex collected loads of sea glass on our many beach trips.
So we’d spend our time just living in the town, exploring, walking, shopping, trying to speak italian (I was rubbish!), eating. Oh my, the food was awesome. I know it sounds so obvious – but we loved ITALIAN FOOD!!!!!
Making our own pizza with bakery bread and mozzarella – simple ingredients but tasted so good!
Testing the gelato in Cogoleto
We went to the beach every day. I would love to live near a beach and this one was perfect. Pebbles and sea glass to collect, paddling to do and James and Marcus often went for a proper swim too.
I loved walking round the town on an evening when we went out to catch the sunset – it really comes alive with families taking their kids out for a play on the beach and in the park. It was full of not just parents and kids but grandparents too. We could see that they really do love their kids and value family time here.
One of many trips to the beach for a paddle, swim or just to watch the world go by.
I have to say that I was slightly worried that we’d be bored here and that, again, our budget would be too small. I’d imagine that we’d always want more money though, so I try and just be happy with our lot. I’d rather be there and doing it on less than not at all!
We’d often watch Italian tv – we found music channels and some english speaking channels too. I actually really like having TV in other countries to get a bit of a feel for the culture by watching the adverts and picking up words etc. If we don’t have a TV I’m not as happy, even though we don’t watch it at home!
So, some days were probably ‘boring’ in the sense that we didn’t do much, but really, we so enjoyed each others company, making jokes, walking and creating memories. Even the songs we’d have on the music channels evoke so many memories now – it’s not always the days out that make the trip.
If we were to return to Cogoleto and the Ligurian coast (and we want to) I think I’d try and travel without our car. I liked that we had it, but I felt like we’d have gone more places if we’d been on the train and the apartment was very close to the station.
Overall our month here was lovely and we pine for it often now! Mediterranean living by the sea – perfect!