The 5 things not to miss in the City of Flowers
A brief guide to the places to see in Sanremo, for a day out steeped in the warm air that makes this small town a special place all year round.
It’s a neighbourhood, but it feels like a journey back in time: the old town of Sanremo, also known as La Pigna (pine cone) for its shape and its succession of alleys and staircases, preserves all the charm of the Medieval period. Arches and covered passageways spread in concentric rings from the top of the hill.
Sanctuary of Madonna della Costa
At the top of the pine cone and approximately 100 metres above sea level stands the Sanctuary of Madonna della Costa. The church has a Latin cross floor plan and a Baroque facade featuring marble statues of Saints Siro and Romolo. Here the Feast of the Chains takes place: every year the residents of Sanremo walk to the Sanctuary dragging chains to commemorate the town’s liberation from the ruling Doria family. Just beneath the Sanctuary, the Regina Elena Gardens are a palm-shaded oasis offering magnificent views over the town of Sanremo and its harbour.
In this villa the scientist Alfred Nobel – the one who invented dynamite and created the world’s most important prizes for science, literature and peace – spent long periods of time for health reasons and also installing a laboratory for his research. The villa dates back to 1870 and is built in Moorish style, while the garden retains its 19th-century Riviera style, with typical plants and rare species.
For most of the year the celebrated stage is a multi-screen cinema and a theatre showing dance, opera, exhibitions, cabaret and other music events, such as the Tenco Prize. If during your stay in Sanremo you feel like a night at the movies, we recommend you go straight to the Ariston, and enjoy the special atmosphere of this historic venue.
Nowadays one of Europe’s loveliest bike routes passes Sanremo: the Riviera dei Fiori cycleway, which connects San Lorenzo al Mare and Ospedaletti. A top recommendation during your stay on the Riviera is to devote half a day to exploring this wonderful 4-kilometre trail, perhaps renting a bike from one of the many stalls offering the service.