Dolceacqua Medieval castle guided visit (from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
Single arch bridge, Baroque parochial church, central square with its fountain and monument, the alleys and streets of the older part of the town.
The nothernmost palm grove in Europe. It was founded by Sant'Ampelio who brought palms from the East and grapevines in 1100. From the seaside to the Città Alta is a trip back in time. The origins date back to 1471. Here we are lost in a maze of small alleys and stone arches.
Imperia: Porto Maurizio and Oneglia
Two ports, two historical centres, two aspects of the same city.
We begin from the old village of Porto Maurizio.
After a visit to the Cathedral of San Maurizio, the largest Ligurian church, we go up, up along the small roads clinging to the promontory of Parasio to the loggias of the Convent of Santa Chiara. Via Bonfante in Oneglia is the most elegant way to stroll and Via San Giovanni is a must for those who love stores that specialise in local gastronomic delicacies. In Oneglia the Doria Palace where the famous Andrea Doria was born.
Olive Museum in Imperia Oneglia
The real celebrity of Liguria is the olive tree. Oneglia has even dedicated a Museum to this incredible plant. It is very interesting to see a reconstruction of a Roman Boat carrying oil amphoras. The museum is open from 3 to 6:30 p.m. (admission free of charge).
Sanremo: open air-market
Located in Piazza Eroi Sanremesi called The Tower Square (the old western limit of the 16th-century city walls), open from 8 a.m. to 12:30. A colourful market, where you will find the best bargains in the early morning. Fresh fish and vegetables give you many ideas for a real Mediterranean meal!
Sanremo: Old Town La Pigna
The ancient heart of Sanremo, loaded with memories and history, is nestled in the "Pigna," the medieval quarter which clings to the hillside. Some steps from market square will take you to ancient houses, alleys, covered passageways, silent little squares, flights of steps and arches. It is a continuous sequence of glimpses and fascinating corners.
At Via Palma 21, the street on the western side of La Pigna, is the ancient home of the Manara family, "the best home there was in Sanremo in 1533," chosen during that year to offer hospitality to Pope Paul III. Another great guest, Napoleone Bonaparte, stayed in 1794 at the palace of the noble Sapia Rossi family, at number 18 Via Monte, which rises, from the gates of the same name, to Via Palma. At the top of the hill, la Pigna leaves space to the unmistakable mass of the Madonna della Costa, as the sanctuary is known here in Sanremo. This 17th-century building, which has always been a sure reference point for seafarers approaching to the city, preserves in its interior (decorated with marble and stucco works) many interesting paintings by Domenico Fiasella, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Bartolomeo Guidobono.
Balzi Rossi caves
Location: In the village of Grimaldi close to the French border.
Time of visit: about 1 hour and a half.
Open from 9 a.m.
The name of these caves comes from the rugged morphology of the local area and the reddish colour of the rocks.
Homo erectus sought refuge here some 200,000 years ago, making use of the deep caves and vertical crevices in the rock. In the museum you will see many complex stone tools and ornaments and fossils of animals from hot periods (elephants, hippopotami, rhinoceroses) and cold periods (marmots and even reindeer).
Botanic Gardens - Villa Hanbury
Location: Promontory of La Mortola just a stone's throw from the hamlet of Latte di Ventimiglia.
Length of visit: about 2 hours
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Created by Sir Thomas Hanbury (an Englishman who made his fortune in Shanghai and fell in love with this part of the coast and its truly unique climate), these gardens offer typical Mediterranean flora intermingled with a host of more exotic species, forming an outstanding collection of some 6,000 plants all of which are grown in the open air. Each level of the gardens was given an elegant finishing touch with the addition of sculptures, fountains, tubs, colonnades and pillars, amphorae, stone seats and temples.
Italy's last town before the border with France.
Archeological Ventimiglia: On the eastern side of the modern town, it dates back to Roman times. In this veritable open-air museum you will find an area with the first level of steps still intact, the Porta di Provenza (gate to Provence), insulae and domus, baths and mosaic floors.
Medieval Ventimiglia: It stands high on the crest of a rock, dominating the right bank of the river Roia. It can easily be seen from a distance thanks to its imposing walled boundary, cathedral of the Assunta, octagonal baptistery and convent of Lateran Canonesses, built into the side of which is an eye-catching double staircase leading to the baroque church of Sant'Antonio Abate.
Modern Ventimiglia: Elegantly eclectic palazzi, well-stocked boutiques. The calendar of not-to-be missed events includes the Battle of the Flowers (July) and Medieval August (trials and tournaments between the Sestrieri or quarters of the town).
Bussana Vecchia - Artists town
Length of visit: about 2 hours
Located near Arma di Taggia, about 6 km from Sanremo in the direction of Imperia, this ghost-village is unique. Destroyed by the 1887 earthquake, it was repopulated by a flourishing colony of artists. Today its numerous workshops belonging to artisans, artists and sculptors contrast with the outlines of still-gutted dwellings and buildings.
Taggia - Medieval village
Length of visit: about 3 hours
It can be reached from Arma di Taggia via the regional road to the Argentina Valley
Dominican Monastery, the largest gallery of West Liguria with frescoes and paintings of great artistic value as well as an important library. Porta Pretoria, the main fortified borough, is the starting point of two interesting tours (described in Taggia brochure) under Gothic arches, ancient portales and cobblestone alleys.
Sanremo Gulf Tour
On board the motorship "Diana II" (capacity over 200 persons) you will feel the emotions that only the sea can give, while admiring Sanremo and its bay. Service runs from March to October every day, from Old Harbour Sanremo
Time of departure: 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Tickets can be bought before the departure in the Harbour offices.
Shopping in Sanremo
Those who like shopping will love the downtown streets, with their typical shops and fashionable "boutiques." Many Italian designer shops can be found in Via Matteotti. There are several food shops with typical take-away dishes like sardenaira, a kind of pizza in which the ingredients are tomatoes, olives in brine, capers, garlic cloves and chopped oregano; torta verde, a pie of pumpkin or beets, or artichokes, or zucchini; croquettes of giancheti (little blue fish); ravioli or tagliatelle; rabbit cooked in a rigorously simple earthenware saucepan with red wine and thyme, and much more.
In the main street, Via Matteotti, the Liberty-style building was built in 1905 and is a center of nightlife. You'll find this realm of green tables, roulettes and modern slot-machines is more elegant than the average American casino. And don't worry if you have no jacket – they'll lend you one!
Don't forget, you can also plan at least one day to visit nearby Montecarlo or the French Riviera. Both are only an hour away!