Liguria (lĭgŏrˈēə, Ital. lēgōˈryä) [key], region (1991 pop. 1,676,282), 2,098 sq mi (5,434 sq km), NW Italy, extending along the Ligurian Sea and bordering France on the west. The generally mountainous region has a steep, narrow coastal strip that includes the beautiful Italian Riviera. In the interior, the Ligurian Alps rise in the west and the Ligurian Apennines in the east. Genoa is the capital of Liguria, which is divided into Genoa, Imperia, La Spezia, and Savona provs. (named for their capitals, all of which are seaports). Flowers (mostly for use in making perfume), olives, wine grapes, citrus fruit, mushrooms, and cereals are grown. Chestnuts are gathered in the mountains, where there are extensive pastures, timberland, and marble, slate, quartz, and limestone quarries. Fishing is pursued along the coast. Manufactures of the region include iron and steel, ships, machinery, textiles, chemicals, processed food, and forest products. Liguria derives its name from the ancient Ligurii, who occupied the Mediterranean coast from the Rhône River to the Arno River. In the 4th cent. B.C. the Ligurii were driven from the Alpine regions by Celtic immigrants, while Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians colonized the coast. In the 2d cent. B.C. the entire region was subdued by the Romans. Throughout the Middle Ages, Genoa struggled with local feudal lords (and at times with Venice) for control of the area. By the 16th cent. it controlled virtually all of present-day Liguria, and from that time until its annexation (1815) by the kingdom of Sardinia, Liguria shared the history of Genoa. There is a university at Genoa.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on Liguria from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian Political Geography