The region of Liguria, with Genoa as capital, lies on the southern slopes of the arc of mountains which extends around the Gulf of Genoa (Ligurian Sea) from the Ligurian Alps in the west to the Ligurian Apennines in the east.
The region, originally occupied by Ligurians, was Romanised in the second century B.C. Fragmented during the early medieval period into numerous Lombard and Frankish principalities, it fell from the 12th century onwards under the control of Genoa, then growing in strength as a sea power. In 1805 Liguria was annexd by Napoleon, and in 1814 it was assigned by the Congress of Vienna to Piedmont, becoming part of the new united Italy.
The mountains which here fall steeply down to the sea provide almost complete protection against unfavorable weather from the north, and the region's southern exposure gives it a mild and sunny climate, particularly along the coastal strip known as the Riviera, with its palm-trees and magnolias, which has long been a favorite winter resort.
The population of the region is mainly concentrated in the industrial areas around the ports of Genoa, La Spezia and Savona. In the country regions, with only moderately productive soil, vegetables and fruit are grown, as well as the flowers (also used in the manufacture of perfume) for which the region is renowned.
Tourism is of great economic importance along the whole of the Riviera.