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The scent of herbs and pines, the startling blue of the sea. The brilliant white of cliffs tumbling into the depths. The sound of pounding surf, the chiming of church bells. The sight of mountain peaks that break the clouds, the chill of an alpine breeze. All this, and more, is the Italian Riviera. Pinned between the mountains and the sea, on a steeply-sloped crescent of land stretching from the French border to Tuscany, the people of the Italian region of Liguria - commonly known as the Italian Riviera - developed a character and unique way of life. The area is only 170 miles long, and 23 miles wide at its widest point. Some have theorized that the geography of Liguria had a profound psychological impact on the people who lived there. They reason that the limited landmass - with the sea on one side and daunting mountains on the other - had an "island effect", compelling the Ligurians to take to the sea as fishermen, traders, explorers, and sailors. Among their number is perhaps the most famous explorer of all time, Christopher Colombus. East of Genoa lies the Portofino Promontory, an outcrop of land separating the Golfo Paradiso and the Golfo del Tigéllio. On the otherwise smooth arc of eastern Liguria it juts out into the blue sea, capped by the heights of Mt. Portofino.

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