About 80 km away from our residence, going Ovest towards the French border, a touristic destination is to be found: Sanremo, that owes is fame to the Italian song Festival, the homonymous Casino – one of four in Italy – and the flowers production, hence the title “città dei fiori”, city of flowers. Let’s discover together why you cannot miss a stop in this town.
A little bit of history
Starting from the second half of the 1800s, Sanremo became the ideal solution for elite tourists; the first important woman to show her vacation preference for the town was tsarina Maria Alexandrovna, followed closely by other Russian and Europeans nobles, who chose this portion of land for its mild climate conditions and the lovely locations.
Among others, Empress Elizabeth of Austria, also known as Sissi, often visited the place, during her European travels.
That period was also very meaningful, as numerous villas were built following the liberty style, as standard of the European aristocracy.
At the end of the XIX century, the floriculture escalated.
With the coming of the new century, new amusement buildings were inaugurated, among them the Casino, the golf course, the cableway and the stadium.
Once, the most ancient part of the city was called Pigna and still today its dwellers care about maintaining this name. The old city has preserved its typical building town scheme, composed of narrow alleys, small plazas, stone arches and staircases.
On top of the hill, where the historical center and starting nucleus of the original hamlet is located, lies the Madonna della Costa Sanctuary; from here you can appreciate an evocative view on the bay below.
The conjunction point with the new and old city is Piazza degli Eroi Sanremesi (Square of the Sanremo Heroes), while little further away the Co-cathedral of San Siro, the oldest church in Sanremo; it was in fact built in 1100 in Romanesque style. Successively revised, nowadays it shows Baroque and gothic influences, but the portals’ relief are original.
Modern Sanremo, shopping and fun
The modern city has developed on the sea, with its numeroes villas, luxury hotels and the central shopping street, Corso Matteotti, with shops and classy boutiques.
Just here, where the street begins, there’s the famous Ariston Theatre, Sanremo’s Festival venue since 1977. In February, when this event takes place, the theatre is assaulted by tourists, fans and curious people, everyone hoping to meet singers or VIPs hosted by the television program. If you want to know a little more about the TV schedule and shows, please visit the website.
A little further on we find another emblematic symbol of the town, the Casino, a liberty style building constructed in 1905. In its interiors we find gambling halls, but a theatre and a banquet hall are available, where all sorts of social and cultural events, feasts and conferences take place. For more information, have a look at the official website.
The most beautiful villas
Among the most lovely villas in Sanremo we can count for sure Villa Nobel and Villa Ormond.
Villa Nobel owes its name to the swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, that renewed it in neogothic style. Nowadays it’s an important cultural center, with a special mention for its scientific meetings.
Villa Ormond was commissioned by a Swiss trader, Michel Louis Ormond, following the Paris’ villa style. It was completed in 1889 and became home to Mr. and Mrs. Ormond, who granted ospitality to the Duke of Aosta, princess Sissi and the princes of Prussia. Today the villa belongs to the town of Sanremo, and it has become a touristic destination for those who want to visit the surrounding park: every corner has its own varied vegetation, with many esotic speciments. On the back the “Giardino d’inverno” (Winter garden) is site of many international floral exhibitions, meanwhile the Giardino Giapponese ( Japanese garden) is devoted to the zen philosophy.