Perhaps the most well-known resort on the Riviera di Ponente (the Western half of the Italian Riviera) San Remo is famous for its intensive cultivation of flowers, the Festivale della canzone Italiana di San Remo (Italian Song Festival) and not least because it has been a tourist haven since the nineteenth century when the English and Russian aristocracies used to spend the winter here.
Located 18km/11m east of Ventimiglia and founded in Roman times, when it was called Matutia or Villa Matutiana, it expanded during the Middle Ages when the local lords built a castle and a walled town which they called La Pigna.
Nowadays San Remo is divided into three districts:
The shopping area round the Corso Matteotti, La Pigna the old town and the once very fashionable and still glamorous West End with its splendid Belle Epoque Casino and onion domed Russian Orthodox church built for a sizeable Russian Community.
The Corso Imperatrice along the sea front was named for the wife of Czar Alexander II, and today provides an excellent opportunity for that most Italian of activities, the passeggiata or evening stroll, wearing your finest gear to see and be seen.
Just don’t ask the locals who San Remo was – you will receive a slightly embarrassed, non-committal reply because no one really knows!
Don’t miss: the ornate Russian Orthodox Church similar to the one in Nice or the Belle Époque Casino Municipale.
Market Day: Tuesday & Saturday am in Piazza Eroi Sanremesi. There is also a food market and a fish market daily exc. Sunday.