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Sea, flowers and palm trees

A taste of the sea on the Riviera di Ponente, from the pretty little town of Bergeggi to the glamorous coastal city Sanremo.

Sea, flowers and palm trees

Sea, sun, palm trees, flowers, and a world famous song contest. More than enough clues to know we must be in Liguria and on the region's Riviera di Ponente, the strip of coast which from Genoa stretches west all the way to the French border. A dramatically beautiful coastline of soaring rock faces, beaten by the waves; sunny little beaches, suitable for holiday makers of every age; and pretty fishing villages, characterized by their narrow lanes or caruggi, all of which lead, inevitably, to the water's edge.

Sanremo is the best known town on the Riviera di Ponente which, from the French border to Imperia bears the name of "Riviera dei Fiori". The reason for the name is obvious: the whole area is covered with greenhouses where numerous species of botanical plants are cultivated and which flourish thanks to the area's perennially mild climate. The flowers grown in this part of Liguria are exported throughout Italy and beyond. Testifying to the Italian Riviera's long standing popularity as holiday destination of the rich and famous, there are numerous aristocratic villas which grace the Via degli Inglesi, and which have been given suitably romantic names such as Bel Respiro, Vista Lieta, Mirasole, and Rondinella. The splendid Empress' promenade was named after the Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna, who habitually resided in the area and donated the magnificent Canary palms which line the way from the seafront of Sanremo to the city.

Only formal attire is allowed at Sanremo's Casino, a dress code in tune with the elegant Liberty edifice in which many a celebrity has been known to flutter away his or her fortune. The city of Sanremo is famous for its gaming hall but also for the annual Song Contest, held here each February. The name of the city is also linked to the legendary Milan-Sanremo bike race.

Occupying what were once the carriages of an old steam train, the unusual Museum of the Italian Song in the nearby town of Vallecrosia contains a fascinating collection of antique musical instruments, rare records, and documents which recount the history of recorded music in Italy and the Sanremo Song Festival. Vallecrosia is also a popular bathing resort with an attractive shingle beach.

Just a few kilometers separate the Riviera dei Fiori from the Riviera delle Palme. The beautiful medieval town of Albenga lies on this second part of the Riviera di Ponente. In this city of towers, some eighteen of the original fifty watchposts can still be admired. The heart of the historic center is the town's Piazza San Michele, home to Albenga's Cathedral, built on the site of a previously existing paleo-Christian house of worship back in the 11th century and famous for its monumental 19th century organ. Annexed to the cathedral, the 5th century baptistery provides a stunning example of early Christian architecture, with its ten sided exterior and octagonal interior, this latter containing a splendid polychrome mosaic.

Noli, Spotorno and Bergeggi form the final triad of this journey along the coast of Liguria. These small fishing villages are characterized by their narrow little lanes or carruggi, which seem to have come straight out of a poem by Montale. The little towns are considered veritable paradises by the divers who come here to explore the sea bed of the Nature Reserve of Bergeggi and the unique ecosystem which it protects.

Itineraries

Most popular

Hotels in the area

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Residence dei Due Porti

Sanremo

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Superior Suite 501

Diano Marina

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Grand Hotel Diana Majestic

Diano Marina

From € 144.00

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Hotel Rossini al Teatro

Imperia

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Hotel Parigi

Bordighera

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Royal Hotel Sanremo

Sanremo

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Relais San Damian

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La Meridiana

Garlenda

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Relais del Maro

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Useful links
Liguria (all hotels)
Alassio Hotels
Imperia Hotels
Sanremo Hotels
Ventimiglia Hotels
Seborga Hotels