Today I’m going to tell you about the place where I lived for fifteen years, Sanremo, the most famous town in Liguria’s west coast (Ponente Ligure), only 15 km from the French border. In Italy, Sanremo is renowned for many prestigious events: the cycling race Milano-Sanremo, the Italian Championship Rally, the Carnival Floats Festival, and the National Song Fest.
However the “City of Flowers” is more than this. Besides the events and most famous places, Sanremo has a lot to offer and can grant you a few days full of emotions.
One of the best things about the western part of Liguria is climate, unusually mild. You can make the most of it and visit Sanremo whenever you wish during the year. However, keep in mind that sea lovers crowd all Liguria’s coast during weekends from May to late September. That’s why in summer there’s a high chance of finding long queues along the highways.
Finding a hotel in Sanremo, given the high number of facilities, is very easy. If you prefer a quiet area not far from downtown, the perfect solution is the Foce District, in the western part of town. However there are plenty of hotels in the town centre, but if you come by car, you should check if the facility has a parking lot.
If you’re going to spend a weekend in Sanremo, you can arrive on Friday evening and make the most of the evening with a stroll downtown. Start at the St. Tecla Fort near the Old Harbour. The Fort was built in 1750 by the Republic of Genoa to intimidate the local population who wanted to be part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
After a brief walk around the Old Harbour, you can head toward Piazza Bresca for dinner. There you can find many restaurants specialised in seafood. You have plenty of options both for kinds of food and budget.
After dinner, you can walk to the lower part of Piazza Colombo (Corso Orazio Raimondo) for a shot of the renowned “Fontana dello Zampillo” (Fountain of the Gush). Then head toward Via Matteotti. It is closed to traffic, so you can easily walk among the most fashionable shops and follow the history of the National Song Fest engraved into commemorative plaques in the pavement. In Via Matteotti, you can find two of the main points of interest. At one end, towards Piazza Colombo, there’s the Ariston Theatre, where the Song Fest is held every year in February. On the other end, there is the famous Casino.
The following day, you can start exploring the western part of Sanremo. Corso Imperatrice is a long promenade named after the Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna, who donated to the city the palm trees planted along her namesake Corso. Here, in the highest part, you can find the Statue of the Spring.
Going back from the Russian Curch in Via Matteotti, you can head toward Via Corradi. You are about to enter one of the oldest and charming parts of town. Here you can visit San Siro Cathedral, the most important church in town.
Going ahead, you can reach Piazza Eroi Sanremesi, where the market takes place each Saturday. Take a quick tour of the covered market to see some of the local products and folklore. In Piazza Eroi there’s also the Saracen Tower, built more than six centuries ago to defend the town from the numerous barbarian invasions.
Getting away from this square, you can reach Via Palazzo, a very particular place. From the top of Via Palazzo, you enter Pigna District, the old burg of Sanremo with its typical “carruggi”, the alleys. If you feel like it, you can keep going up and reach the Santuario della Madonna della Costa, a sanctuary from which you can enjoy a beautiful view over the harbour. If you are moving by car, you can decide to reach the sanctuary another time.
At the end of this tour, you can relax on one of the several beaches. The most beautiful facilities are located between Corso Imperatrice and the Foce District.
For dinner, if you can go by car, reach the nearby town of Ospedaletti where you can choose between two of the best restaurant in the area: the Byblos and Da Claudio. In both cases, I suggest you make a reservation in advance.
On Sunday, after an abundant breakfast, you can rent a bike and take a tour of the cycle lane. It’s 24 km long and runs along the coast between Ospedaletti and Santo Stefano al Mare.
After returning the bike, you can go back to your exploration in the eastern part of town, in particular around the San Martino District. Here you can find some of the most beautiful palaces of Sanremo, Villa Ormond, Villa Zirio, and Villa Nobel. All of them are surrounded by well-kept gardens.
If you have a car, you can’t miss the last stop of your tour, Bussana Vecchia, an ancient burg destroyed by the earthquake in 1887 and brought back to life in 1960 when a group of artists took residence there to work on their art. To reach Bussana Vecchia you need to go through Bussana first, but don’t be misled by the name. To get to the village, you need to go up the steep and narrow hill.
With this last stop, you can conclude your weekend in Sanremo. I hope you enjoyed it!
I’m looking forward to having you with me for the next travel!