The evening of Liguria rises slow and pink from the sea, perdition of loving hearts and distant thingsVincenzo Cardarelli, Italian poet
Just three hours from Milan, on the last patch of western Liguria, Sanremo is the capital of the Riviera dei Fiori, Riviera of Flowers (so-called for the area’s flower-growing industry that exports carnations, roses, buttercups, and other blooms across Europe and beyond).
During our trip to Sanremo last June we discovered a truly fascinating destination, where you can spend a few fantastic days whether you are looking to relax or to enjoy a more adventurous and active vacation.
A perfect location for a (long) weekend getaway or a lovely way to end (or even start) a trip to Northern or Central Italy: from Langhe to Genoa and Cinque Terre, from Milan and the lakes to Tuscany, each combination is more charming than the other. Here are a few details and tips of what we have discovered during our stay.
Sanremo: much more than sea and beaches
The city is an elegant seaside resort (a hotspot for high society especially in the 19th century when the Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna held court here), famous for its music festival and Carnival, as well as its beaches and villas (like the Moorish Villa Nobel and Villa Ormond with its peaceful Japanese gardens). With our amazing guide Roberta though we explored a less known side of Sanremo, the characteristic maze of alleys of the old town (called “la Pigna” for its resemblance to a pine cone): the charming “caruggi”, the characteristic narrow streets of the Medieval town, bordered by historical buildings, echo the life of ancient times while offering amazing discoveries of local artisans’ excellent creations. Climbing uphill, you will arrive at the Regina Elena Garden and then the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Coast, where you will be rewarded with a delightful view over the entire town.
The regional cuisine in Italy always has its local gems and Liguria is no exception. From the “green gold” of the extra-virgin olive oil DOP Riviera Ligure – Riviera dei Fiori made from the Taggiasca olive, to the famous Pesto (fresh basil sauce), from the authentic focaccia (fragrant and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside) to the Rossese wine, just pick your favorite. Challenge yourselves (like we did) with mortar and pestle to prepare the Pesto (while learning about the differences between Sanremo’s and Genoa’s basil) to go with the hand-twisted trofie pasta or taste the local seafood and top everything with the rich chocolatey texture of the Baci di Sanremo (Sanremo kisses).
Around the Riviera
If you have the chance, definitely explore the Riviera and its marvelous villages. Did you know that the Impressionist artist Claude Monet painted Bordighera four times? He was fascinated by the lush vegetation of its wonderful gardens. As he was by the nearby picturesque village of Dolceacqua: “The place is superb, there is a bridge that is a jewel of lightness”, he wrote in his diary. Also, the Doria Castle that overlooks the village is stunning. On the opposite side of Sanremo, you can discover two other medieval villages: Taggia (which gives the name to the local olive variety) and Triora, a town with a spooky past.
If we’ve sparked your interest, get in touch to discover more about this corner of Italy and learn about our itineraries and programs that include Sanremo.
Stay tuned, more stories are coming!