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Genova Genova Imperia Imperia La Spezia La Spezia 4 Savona

Miles of coastline, Liguria is a narrow area over the northern part of the Mediterranean. The mountains form a shelter against the cold northern winds, keeping the weather mild for most of the year.

Ligurians live in a tiny valley between the sea and the mountains a few miles inland. Liguria's environment produces tasty, healthy vegetables and a wealth of wild salad greens and aromatic herbs, including basil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. Olives are plentifull. They are used to produce a light, sweet oil that is only fat that is used in local cooking.

The beauty of Ligurian cuisine lies in its simplicity and balance. Pesto is the perfect example of the delicate regions touch. It was this crushed basil sauce that put this region's name on the culinary map, and Ligurian pesto is the best in the world. Another shining example of Liguria's classic simplicity is its focaccia.

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Genova

 

Genova

Genova Liguria ItalyThe population of Genoa (as of 2008) is aprox. 700,000 . Named after a mythical two-headed Greek God, Janus, protector of ships, obviously due to the fact of its important role as a maritime center. The name derives from a Ligurian tribal word, for "knee" (genu), or the Latin name for gate, "janua".

The city is set at the foot of mountains in the Gulf of Genoa at the most northerly end of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where at one time it ruled the maritime world.

The Old Quarter of Genoa, is especially breathtaking for those who like to explore. It is best to travel slowly, on foot through the narrow streets which are meticulously kept, as are the expansiv mansions of medieval merchants which line them. Around the Palazzo Reale, many shops sell Turkish carpets and the best of silk - an eloquent testimony of Genoa's past links with Asia.

Genoa has fine examples of Roman and Baroque Church architecture. The Palazzo Ducale is another regal structure, now used for exhibitions, and if you are lucky to arrive at the right time, the occasional outside concert as well.

What to taste What to taste:

• The symbol os Liguian cuisine is Pesto and this is the main ingredient: basil, cheese, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and salt, carefully ground and mixed with a wooden pestle in a marble mortar. It is perfect with the handmade 'trofie' or the 'trenette', especially those from Recco, whose texture is ideal to soak up the flavour.
• Genoa is also exemplified by the 'pansotti', a kind of ravioli filled with chard in a walnut sauce; then there's the 'minestrone alla genovese' made with pesto; the 'cima', a richly stuffed veal; the stockfish 'accomodato', served with Taggiasche; the 'cappon magro', a salad made with vegetables, shell-fish and fish that has evolved from a frugal meal to a delicacy; the 'ciuppin', an invention claimed by Riva Trigoso, an old fish-based soup recipe; the 'fugassa', a focaccia served with local olive oil; the 'torta pasqualina', made with the local vegetables.
• For dessert, there are 'canestrelli', friable almond-based pastries, and the 'pandolce', served on a laurel branch.
•Local wines include red and white that will be listed soon.

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• When in Genoa, one cannot miss a visit to the Aquarium, the largest in Europe, fun and educational destination for the whole family. The careful and accurate recreation of the habitats and boats of the Galata Museo del Mare, with its three travel-related floors, is simply stunning. Soon the museum will give visitors the possibility of boarding a real submarine, the S518 Nazario Sauro. After the Aquarium and the Museum, it is highly recommended to book a trip in the Marine Sanctuary for Cetaceans, following the routes of the marine mammals that live and thrive in this protected area.
• Along the coast there are beautiful coves nestled among cliffs or neighbouring picturesque houses, a perfect opportunity to relax in the sun with gentle sea breeze mitigating the heat. Among the most popular, Baia del Silenzio and Baia delle Favole, small gems facing the 'two seas' of Sestri Levante, with the old village sitting on the Punta Manara promontory. Crystal-clear waters reflecting the green of the maquis and the colours of the lush gardens, lap the Baia di Paraggi and Baia di San Fruttuoso near Portofino. But the beauty of of the Tigullio is also hidden found underwater. The sea-beds surrounding the Portofino promontory are extremely suggestive. Of variable depth, rocky reefs alternate with sandy bottoms. Sea fans, sponges, madrepore and red coral are among the many species that live in this underwater world, where many scuba divers pay a visit to the famous Cristo degli Abissi, the Christ of the Depths, dedicated to those who lost their life at sea.
• On dry land there are many trails for horse-riding, mountain biking or hiking to experience the remotest corners of the area.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• Considering that its history comes from the sea, let's start learning about Genoa from its main entrance: the harbour. Easily seen from the distance and from any direction, with its height of 76 meters stands the Lighthouse Tower, also known as the Lanterna. Originally built for military purposes, it is now the symbol of the city. 720 steps lead to the top of the tower, but the view is worth the effort. For those who do not feel like taking the challenge, there is a small elevator that will take them to the top. Genoa is one of the most important international ports. For this reason, the whole area has recently been renovated by the great architect Renzo Piano, who had already designed the Bolla (bubble) near the famous Acquarium. Once crossed the 'portal' of the city, the visitor enters the heart of the Superba, which holds many of its masterpieces inside elegant buildings.
• The 'Rolli' buildings are famous for the elegance of their architecture and the valuable materials employed. Among them, are Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Doria Tursi, together forming a very museum complex. In fact, Caravaggio, Veronese, Guercino, Van Dyck and Canova are only some of the artists whose work is exhibited here, where the elegance and architectural value of the buildings meet the beauty of the masterpieces in a unique itinerary. Nearby there is the Palazzo Reale, whose magnificence strikes visitors immediately upon entering through the portal. Frescos, sculptures, paintings and stuccoes decorate the sophisticated halls, which are outfitted with elegant furniture. The building houses the National Gallery, which displays a highly regarded collection of paintings by Luca Giordano, Veronese, Tintoretto, Piola, Vassallo, Jan Roos, Borgognone, Grechetto, Strozzi, Carlo Bonomi, Guercino and Van Dyck through a tour of the 23 rooms.
• The S. Lorenzo Cathedral, located in the homonymous square, was originally built in the 9th century and significantly modified through time. The façade, decorated with black and white horizontal lines, presents double-lancet and multiple-lancet windows on the upper section and three portals with a large rose window above the central one. The interior, divided into three naves, exhibits precious paintings, sculptures and is home of the Museo del Tesoro, interesting both because of its setting and for its show of artistic and cultural heritage. The same black-and-white motif can be found on the façade of S.Agostino, a de-consecrated church now home of the homonymous Museum with a rich collection that tells the story of the relationship of Genoa with art from the 10th to the 18th centuries.
• Once left the historical district eastbound, the visitor arrives at Nervi, a wealthy residential suburb favoured by the aristocracy since the 19th century. A gem of art and history set on a delightful stretch of coast, along which unfolds a gorgeous seafront with views to the Gulf of Tigullio. Gardens and blossoming fields harmoniously intertwine with the elegant villas that serve as museums: the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Villa Saluzzo Serra, the Raccolte Frugone in Villa Grimaldi Fassio, and the Museo Luxoro in the homonymous villa.
• Westward, more precisely in Pegli, one can visit the Naval Museum housed in Villa Doria, an aristocratic residence surrounded by a vast park. The exposition shows the maritime history of the town, from its foundation until the early Middle Ages. Villa Durazzo Pallavicini has two great attractions: the Botanical Garden, set in the park of the villa and filled with rarities, and the Museo Civico di Archeologia Ligure; in addition to finds from the Greco-Roman time, the museum displays a collection from the whole region dating back to pre-history.
• Stunning is the romantic park surrounding the villa, known for the water effects created by ponds, caves, streams and falls, wittingly placed among the lush vegetation. The architecture of the Eastern Riviera is famous for the characteristic buildings almost clinging onto the rock, and by the pastel walls. The same style can be found along the Tigullio coast, with Portofino, Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure and Sestri Levante placed along the coast and surrounded by the green of the maquis and the sea reflecting this aura of beauty. Wonderful from the land, they are magnificent from the sea. Trails, bays, coves, cliffs, the sea and its depths; here nature has drawn one of its masterpieces.
• The hinterland of Genoa also offers interesting itineraries, as there are many nature reserves: the Beigua Park, the largest protected area of the region, the Aveto Park, one of the most beautiful areas of the Ligurian Apennines, Antola Park, a mosaic of wonderful natural environments overlooking the Ligurian Sea near Portofino, a town whose beauty is renown worldwide.  

Events Events:

• Cinema, theatre, dance, music and poetry liven up the schedule of events. The Genovafilmfestival, the most important festival of the area, the Festival Internazionale della Poesia with national and international artists, and the Goa Boa Festival with up-and-coming and established singers, are among the main events held in Genoa.  
• The artistic soul of Genoa expresses itself through Artegenova, a fair dedicated to modern and contemporary art, but also photography and video art. A classic historical re-enactment is the Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare, which is held annually on rotation in the waters of Amalfi, Pisa, Venice and Genoa since 1955.
• The rest of the province is also rich in cultural rendezvous. In May, Sestri Levante becomes the "fable" capital with shows, meetings and conferences revolving around the "Hans Christian Andersen- Baia delle Favole" prize. It is the most important Italian award for children's stories.
• In spring, in the suggestive Tigullio, Cartoons on the Bay is held, one of the most prestigious international events for animation, one of the youngest and enticing forms of entertainment.
• In Lavagna, instead they hold a historical re-enactment of the marriage between Bianca de' Bianchi and Opizzo Fieschi. These celebrations culminate after a week on the 14th with the "Torta dei Fieschi": a gigantic wedding cake made for the occasion by local patisseries and distribuited to all participants.

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Imperia

 

Imperia

Genova Imperia ItalyImperia is a coastal city and in the region of Liguria, Italy. Imperia consists of the two historical districts of Porto Maurizio and Oneglia, which lie on either side of the River Impero that gives its name to the city.

Porto Maurizio is situated on a peninsula to the west of the river, stretching along the coastline. It is the more colourful and wealthy district of the city, threaded by narrow lanes known as carrugi, and its economy centres around the tourist industry. It was a possession of Genoa from the 13th century.

Oneglia lies on an alluvial plain to the east of the Impero, and with its working port is the more modern and industrial of the two districts. At its centre lies Dante Square, from which radiate some of the principal roads of the city.

What to taste What to taste:

• Olive oil gives the 'focaccia ligure' its unmistakable genuine flavor. Vessalico's garlic, with its pinkish color, is a rare and prized variety that can only be found in the Valle Arroscia area. In Vessalico, in fact, on July 2nd there is a celebration to present the garlic 'reste', braided by hand by the farmers. This product is essential for the preparation of two other traditional dishes, the pesto and the aje, an egg and olive oil sauce of medieval origin similar to the famous aioli, widespread in France.
• Other traditional products include the Triora bread, baked in large doughs with a mixture of soft wheat and buckwheat. It remains fresh for a long time and can be served with fermented sheep ricotta, the 'bruzzu', or with a local 'malga' goat cheese.
• The Val Roja honey is unique in its kind because of the climate, which is influenced by the Alps and the Mediterranean at the same time.
• The local wines include the Vermentino, the Pigato and the Rossese.

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• For nature lovers there seems to be a little of everything with sea, mountains and hills.
• The coast of Sanremo is very lively: besides the Casino, there are numerous opportunities for shopping, many restaurants and clubs open until late night. The area, however, is popular for the adventurous itineraries in the wilderness that, through the woods, lead from the medieval villages to the sea
• The mountains are known as the 'Alps of the sea' and are ideal for biking; for this reason, many mountain bike trails have been built to meet the demand of the more intrepid tourists. In addition, nature and photography enthusiasts can enjoy the different seasonal blossoms in the Ligurian Alps. Here the Trail of Gardens has recently been established to bring together the individual elements of nature, art and culture from areas that shared a similar history, although separated by national boundaries.
• In Imperia, the Cascine Hill hosts Villa Grock, which once received the acclaimed Swiss clown Adrien Wettach; from there, one can hike up to the small Church of S. Luca, where the view over the Mongioje Mountains is spectacular. Finally, the Museo dell'Olivo narrates its guests the centennial history of olive oil and its production.  

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• Hard not to notice is the olive groves that spread out in Imperia.
• The central Via Bonfante with its arcades, Galleria Isnardi and Galleria degli Orti with the most exclusive boutiques.
• Ventimiglia is the closest town to the border with France, and it shows the visitor two sides: the archaeological town of the Roman period, an open-air museum with a theatre still in pristine conditions, the Provenza portal, the thermal baths and mosaics.
• Then there's the medieval town, on the right bank of the Roia River, characterized by the monumental walls, the Cathedral of the Assunta, the octagonal-plan Baptistery and the Convent of the Canonichesse Lateranensi. Worth visiting is also the Salvini di Pieve di Teco Theater, the world's smallest theatre. The Imperia province displays an extraordinary flora: from the world-famous palms in Bordighera to the terraces covered with vineyards and olive groves of the Nervia Valley, which confer the landscape incredible colours. Similarly, the trees on the Olivo Hills alternate with houses and villages.
• The valleys between Liguria and Piedmont such as Argentina, Armea and Arroscia have plenty of natural resources that balance the remains of ancient settlements.
• Church of the Annunziata with its neoclassic façade, and the 18th century Scolopi complex.
• The most popular beach of the Riviera is Spiaggia d'Oro, the golden beach, in the port area of Borgo Marina. However, each coastal town of the province, from Imperia to Bordighera, from Arma di Taggia to Diano Marina, to Ospedaletti, offers gorgeous and sunny beaches.

Events Events:

• On July 2nd in Vessalico there is a celebration to present the garlic 'reste', braided by hand by the farmers.
• Sanremo, the city of flowers, hosts the 1905 Casino, the most prominent building where every year the Festival della Canzone italiana (Italian song festival) is held.

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La Spezia

 

La Spezia

La Spezia Imperia ItalyThe Province of La Spezia has a surface area of 881 sq km, with a total population of over 222,000 inhabitants.

It is made up of 32 Municipalities. In its territory is one of the true jewels of Italy, the celebrated Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia (a frazione of Vernazza), Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, are completely free of car traffic, and can be reached only by a railway, hiking trails and a pedestrian ferry service

Today, La Spezia is the chief Italian naval station and arsenal and the seat of a navigation school. It is also a commercial port, with shipyards and industries producing machinery, metal products, and refined petroleum.

What to taste What to taste:

• Wine and olive oil in which the key element is the extra-virgin olive oil, obtained from the vast expanses of olive groves on the coast and inland are the foundation of the local cuisine. The vineyards that cover the sunny terraces and the Magra Valley hills are the evidence of the ancient wine-making tradition. A passion that is powerfully perceived, together with scents and essences of this land, when tasting a glass of one of the local wines. The Luni, Levanto and Cinque Terre wines mate perfectly with the local cuisine, simple and flavorful at the same time. Golden with shades of amber, intense and persistent aroma with hints of apricot, dried fruit and acacia honey, this is the Sciacchetrà, the famous DOC wine, excellent with sharp cheeses and, in its strong and sweet version, with pastry.
• The oil produced in this particular area between the Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea is protected by the Riviera Ligure DOP label, which is a Consortium that associates the producers of the four Ligurian provinces and guarantees the accordance with the rules of the Protected Origin Denomination. It is a unique oil that enhances the preparation of the local recipes, based mainly on the fish caught in the clean waters of the Ligurian Sea. Among such delicacies, the 'muscoli ripieni alla Vecchia Spezia', mussels stuffed with eggs, bread, mortadella, parmigiano, parsley and olive oil.
• .Excellent are also the Monterosso anchovies, either fresh with some lemon juice, fried, stuffed or pickled. The 'mesciùa' (mixed) is a delicious pulse and cereal soup with a few drops of the precious local oil and black pepper. Pizzas, focaccias and handmade pasta are other mouthwatering delicacies of the local cuisine, as well as the 'trofie al pesto' now widespread throughout the region.  

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• A marriage of mountains, valleys and beaches La Spezia is a region rich in beauty. It is so rich and beautiful that it is now a protected area, the Cinque Terre National Park. Scuba diving, sea-watching or snorkeling, such are three ways to discover the underwater treasures of this great marine heritage. Sea fans and Posidonia seagrassmeadows, rocks and walls, caves and sudden drops constitute one of the best destinations for those who live the sea to the fullest.
• Every year in the summer, whales, sperm whales and dolphins gather in the Cetacean Sanctuary where the Cinque Terre are situated. A whale-watching trip is an exhilarating experience both for children and adults, a way to know better these gentle giants and learn the rules of conduct to protect the area and its inhabitants.
• Canoeing, kayaking, rafting, canyoning and hydrospeed are fun ways to explore the waters of the Vara and Magra rivers through woods, rocks, meanders, caves and beaches. Scenic hiking trails cross the two valleys of the area and the Montemarcello-Magra Reserve. Whether trekking, mountain biking or horseback riding, there are innumerable ways to savor this pristine wilderness.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• The symbol of Lerici is the impressive Castle, one of the most interesting defence buildings of the region, from which one can enjoy an unobstructed view to Palmaria Island. Narrow 'carruggi' and steep stairs wind around the picturesque houses of Lerici's old town.
• Art, nature and the sea are the three elements that set apart Portovenere, with its small port at the bottom of the old town, the steep stairs that give the impression of hanging onto the cliff and the colour of the houses mixed with the green of the maquis. One should also visit the small S. Pietro's church, which seems to be all one with the rock it was built on, and the islets of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, now belonging to the Porto Venere Natural Park. Less known, yet charming, are Ameglia, Tellaro, Bocca di Magra and Montemarcello, immersed in a gorgeous scenery.
• Also known as the Valle dei Borghi Rotondi (the 'valley of the round-shaped villages'), Val di Vara is dotted with old and charming villages where streets, squares and houses follow a plan around the church or the castle, according to the medieval urban planning.
• Fresh streams cross the dense woods and the green valleys. Remarkable are the Castle overlooking Varese Ligure, built around the church of S. Filippo Neri and S. Teresa d'Avila, and the Brugnato Cathedral, erected upon an old Benedictine settlement now visible behind glass walls. Val di Magra is a mixture of different landscapes, laid between two mountain ranges and crossed by the homonymous river.
• The Guinigi Tower, 33 meters high, rises above the town of Ortonovo, famous for being close to one of the nation's most important archaeological sites – Luni – with the ruins of the ancient Roman town.  

Events Events:

• Festivals, concerts and other cultural events are held almost everywhere; these are joyful gatherings where one can discover local traditions and products, spanning from cuisine to the handicrafts.
• Not to miss is the Palio of the Golfo dei Poeti, in La Spezia, a rowing competition between the 13 maritime contradas of the Gulf, introduced by a theme costume parade.

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.Wine-trekking is a new and original way to meet art, history, nature and the taste of the wines produced around La Spezia.
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Savona

 

Savona

Savona Imperia ItalySavona is a seaport in the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente on the Mediterranean Sea, and used to be one of the chief seats of the Italian iron industry, with iron-works and foundries, shipbuilding, railway workshops, engineering shops, brass foundry. Savona has a land area covering 65 square km. its total population is around 61,742 with a density of 921 people per square km.

Savona is the most important city on the west coast of Italy, within reach of the seaside resorts of Alassio, Loano and Varazze.

Savona is a city rich in history and enterprise, largely centering on its port. The most important monument in the city in this regard is the Priamar, a castle stronghold near the port and recently restored.

One of the most celebrated former inhabitants of Savona was the navigator Christopher Columbus, who farmed land in the area while chronicling his journeys. 'Columbus's house', a cottage situated in the Savona hills, lay between vegetable crops and fruit trees. It is just one of many residences in Liguria associated with Columbus.

What to taste What to taste:

• Savona dishes are a blend of sea and land with fine herbs and fresh vegetables with their pure and tasty olive oil. Vegetables include spiny artichokes, ox-heart tomatoes and trumpet courgettes. There are the violet asparagus of Albenga, the Savona chinotto, Noli's cicciarelli (type of fish) and the dried chestnuts of Calizzano and Murialdo. Chick peas are the main ingredient of the famous farinata, cooked in wood burning stoves and brass pans. There are also the chick peas called the "panissa", excellent fried in bread or cut into dice and mixed into salads.
• The desserts include the amaretti di Sassello and baci di Alassio.
• Local wines include mainly white wine represented by Pigato, Rossese and Vermentino for the Albenga area, Lumassina from near Finale, Buzzetto and Granaccia coming from the area of Quililano. 

Following Towns Cities & Towns:

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What to do What to do:

• Visit the Regional Natural Parks are Bric Tana; Piana Crixia; the vaster and better known Beigua Regional Natural Park - the only GeoPark in northern Italy; and numerous protected areas holding and safeguarding a rich environmental biodiversity.
• The sea offer water sports and sailing. The sea-beds attract many scuba divers, whether attracted by the exploration of flora and fauna or wreckages and archaeological remains.
• Golf lovers have the top level Garlenda and Albisola Superiore to choose from, both in unique beautiful settings.
• The Cetaceans Sanctuary is an uncontaminated area where one can spot sea mammals such as blue whales, dolphins and sperm whales. This is where they gather in spring and summer to nourish themselves before the winter.

Places to visit Places to visit: Churches, Museums, Ruins, Piazzas, Fountains,

• Medieval Savona offers enchanting views recalling the florid city it became between the 15th and 16th centuries
• The Pinacoteca Civica di Savona is an excellent Liguria museum with paintings on wood and splendid polyptychs, ceramic vases and w ooden sculpture dating from the 14th century to nowadays
• Toirano and Borgio Verezzi are famous for their grottos, rich in archaeological finds and fascinating rock formations.
• Artistic handicraft is marvellously expressed by the ceramics of Albisola and Savona and the glass works of Altare,thanks to the ancient tradition of capable craftsmen making their land famous in all the world.

Events Events:

• The Festival Teatrale of Borgo Verezzi in summer animates the magic and panoramic scene of Verezzi.  
• Then there's the Riviera dei Teatri, a professional artistic theatre circuit promoting a deep bond with the territory. There are also many other festivals.
• Culture and the love of tradition give way all year round to a lively carousel of traditional village festivities with competitions and regattas, flowers, fêtes, markets and religious processions.
• The most famous and prestigious of the latter being the historical "Holy Friday Procession" held every two years in Savona. Here local monasteries parade their wooden cases and crucifixes through the town's historical centre.

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Regions in ItalyRegions of Italy
Abruzzo region ItalyAbruzzo
Basilicata region ItalyBasilicata
Calabria region ItalyCalabria
Campagnia  region ItalyCampagnia
Emilia Romagna region ItalyEmilia Romagna
Friuli Venezia Giulia region ItalyFriuli Venezia Giulia
Lazio region ItalyLazio
Liguria region Italy Liguria
Lombardia region ItalyLombardia
Marche region ItalyMarche
Molise region ItalyMolise
Piemonte region ItalyPiemonte
Puglia region ItalyPuglia
Sardegna region ItalySardegna
Sicilia region ItalySicilia - Sicily
Toscana region ItalyToscana - Tuscany
Trentino Alte AldigeTrentino Alte Aldige
Umbria region ItalyUmbria
Val D'Aosta region ItalyVal D'Aosta
Veneto region ItalyVeneto
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