San Remo, Italy

We’ve all heard of the luxurious French Riviera, but how much do you know about the Italian Riviera?   Also known as the Ligurian Riviera, this is the entire coastline of Italy’s Liguria region and stretches from the French border to just south of the Cinque Terre (the border of the Tuscany region).  There are many beautiful towns along this coast, one of which is San Remo, which lies just about 15 miles east of Italy’s border with France.

Why to go:  The Italian Riviera has a lot to offer its visitors – beautiful beaches, breathtaking vistas, great Italian food and drinks, plenty of history and fantastic architecture.  And all at costs that are a bit lower than those you would find visiting its French counterpart.

When to go:   The climate in this region is relatively mild, so any time of year could work.  You may want to check the area’s event calendar to determine your timing.  If you don’t plan to attend the San Remo Music Festival, it’s probably best to avoid San Remo at the beginning of February.

How to go:  With the great European train network, you can easily reach San Remo from any of the major cities.  Nice is a about a 1 ½ hour train ride to the west and Genoa is about 2 hours by train along the coast to the east.

What to do:  San Remo is known as the flower capital of Italy and boasts lots of beautiful public gardens and town parks. The town also hosts the famous San Remo Music Festival every February (2018 marked the event’s 68th year).  And if you’re looking to try your luck, head to the Casino where you’ll find 2 floors of slot machines and regularly scheduled poker tournaments throughout the year.

What to eat/drink:  Many typical dishes in this region include fresh fish, fruits and vegetables.  One very traditional meal is called “Gran Pistau”, which is an ancient recipe originally made using grains and animal fat instead of oil.

Where to make a detour: Ventimiglia is another port town on the coast, only 10 miles west of San Remo.  As the first town over the border coming from France it’s a popular destination for French visitors to the market or generally during the summer.  In addition to the beautiful coast and port here, you can also see the remains of a Roman amphitheater and other historic sites in the old part of the town.  Another town worth the trek is called Pigna, located about 20 miles north in the hills outside of San Remo.  This is a quaint medieval town consisting of a cluster of houses, steep roads, small squares and known for the little alleyways (called “chibi”) that are built in rings around the houses.  If you stop for a drink at La Villa Pigna, you might be lucky enough to catch House Band entertaining the locals with their great tunes!