Sanremo, the capital of the Italian song!

Sanremo is a town of the western Liguria. It was founded by the ancient Romans and now is known as a tourist destination of the Italian Riviera. In XIX century became a holiday destination of European crowned heads and then in ’50 of XX century started to host the Sanremo Music Festival.

How to reach Sanremo?

by car:

  • motorway – Sanremo is located about 20 km from a French border and it is easily reachable by motorway A10. It is enough to take a Sanremo motorway exit (more info here).
  • Aurelia – SS1 a provincial road that leads along the coast and is very picturesque.

by train –  Sanremo railway station is quite important. Here stop the majority of trains from Genoa, Turin and international trains from southern France (more info here).

Name

In the ancient times, the town was known as Civitas Matutiana. However, in the Middle Ages, the name was changed. It happened when San Romolo, a bishop of Genoa died. Before he became the bishop he had passed a long period of his life in Civitas Matutiana. After his death, the inhabitants of the town decided to honour him and gave a new name for the town: San Remo. The exact name is a phonetic agglomeration of the name of San Romolo.

History

During the Roman domination in this place existed a small settlement. Then in the Early Middle Ages, the population of the town moved to the high grounds. A local nobility built a castle and the walled village of La Pigna to protect the town from the Saracen attacks. In that period the town was under the countship of Ventimiglia. Later passed under the dominion of the Genoese bishops and after that was sold to the Doria noble family. While the XIX century was a period of the French domination and the Savoy restoration. In 1814 Sanremo was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia. In that period the tourism and the town started growing very fast. The Empress Sissi of Austria, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia passed very often their holidays in Sanremo and Alfred Nobel even had a house here!

The things to see & do:

The town is quite small so it is very easy to visit it. The first place you reach if you follow the signs to the town centre will be via Matteotti.

Via Matteotti

It is the most important street of Sanremo. Here are located the most elegant shops, bars and restaurants. It was built in a French style. In fact, it looks like the French Riviera town rather than Ligurian town. Via Matteotti leads to the Ariston Theater, the Municipal Casino and a sea promenade.

Teatro Ariston (Ariston Theater)

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Address: via Matteotti 212

Entrance Sanremo Music Festival: 100€-660€

Everybody in Italy knows this theatre.  It is famous for a very popular song contest that is organized here every year: the Sanremo Music Festival. It is held here since 1951. The festival is so popular among Italians that it is often referred to simply as “Il Festival” (The Festival). This year The Festival is organized from 6th-10th February. More info here.

Il Casinò (Casino)

Address: Corso dei Inglesi 18

Opening hours:

  • Slot Machine Room: Sd-Td 10.00 am – 02.30 am; Fd-Srd 10.00 am – 03.30 am
  • Traditional Games Room: Sd-Td 02.30 pm – 02.30 am; Fd-Srd 03.00 pm – 03.30 am

The Municipal Casino was built in 1905 and it is an example of Art Nouveau architecture. The important thing is that if you would like to enter you have to remember that the elegant clothes are requested and you have to have at least 18 years old.

Corso dell’Imperatrice (Sea Promenade)

When you pass by the Casino you will reach the sea promenade. The palms of this promenade were founded by Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. Here you can also take a rest on a beach (public or private).

Chiesa di Cristo Salvatore (Christ Savior Church)

At the beginning of the promenade, on the right, you can see the Chiesa di Cristo Salvatore, an Orthodox church. It was built in XIX century for the Russian inhabitants of Sanremo. In that period about one thousand of Russians lived in the town.

However, the most beautiful and a fascinating place of Sanremo is its old town – La Pigna (Pine Cone). It is located on a hill, very close to via Matteotti.

La Pigna

From via Matteotti, you can take via Palazzo and then start to climb the hill of the old town. Narrow streets of the old town (colled caruggio) are magnificent and they are very typical in Liguria. I think that the old town of Sanremo is one of the most beautiful in Liguria.

Santuario della Madonna della Costa (Sanctuary of Madonna della Costa)

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When you continue to go up, at the top of the hill you will find the church Santuario della Madonna della Costa. It was built probably in XIV century, on the ruins of the Dorias castle. The current structure was built in XVII century in Baroque style. From the square in the front of the church, you can admire a fantastic panorama of the sea and Sanremo.

Cattedrale di San Siro (San Siro Cathedral)

It is the oldest church of Sanremo. It was built in IX century. During the ages, it was destroyed by Saracen pirates, English army and Genoeses. However, each time the inhabitants of Sanremo rebuilt it. The last restoration took place at the beginning of XX century. The last time, the church was rebuilt in Romanesque style.

Curiosity

  • Sanremo is a home of International Institute of Human Law, the organization that takes care of refugees and international humanitarian law.
  • The Festival of Sanremo was an inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest, which started in 1956.
  • Sanremo is the finish of the Milan-Sanremo cycle race. It is one of the five most important one-day races of the cycling season. Milan – Sanremo is traditionally held in March. It is 298 kilometres long, that makes it the longest professional one-day race in cycling.

For sure Sanremo is the place to visit … in every season!

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