There is one beautiful small town on the Mediterranean Sea that enjoys eternal spring, a place where the sun is shining all the time and where colorful flowers blossom everywhere, all year round.
Moreover, Sanremo had his kings and queens that influenced to the rise of this town at one astonishing luxurious level revealed in the beautiful architecture of the buildings and colorful gardens as well.
It’s a fairytale. But, in this fairytale men were entertaining themselves in the famous Casino of Sanremo, women naturally, were attracted by the exceptional climate and flourishing surroundings while the enjoyment of the arts was on mutual satisfaction.
Located on the western coast of Liguria in the Italian province of Imperia, the glorious little city of Sanremo has a total population of only 57,000 citizens. Well-known as the Town of Flowers, Sanremo became an appealing tourist destination benefiting from the international reputation when in the 18th century many luxurious holiday villas were built, including the popular Sanremo Casino, and when the floral economy started to flourish. The perfect climate conditions, and in particular the unique position among the Mediterranean coast and the Alps makes Sanremo an ideal location for cultivating flowers. This region, especially Sanremo, is very suitable for cultivating fruit trees as well, such as lemon trees and citrus, but the olives trees and the olive oil from Sanremo are distinguished by its region.
Many of the Mediterranean towns evolved from fishing villages to attractive tourist destinations including Sanremo with no exception. Sanremo expanded when the population moved to the hills where La Pigna (today the old town) was raised in order to protect the town from Saracen attacks. Exploring the tiny little cobblestones alleys of La Pigna can be only done on foot starting from Gate of St.Stephen (Porta di Santo Stefano) that separates the two parts of the city the old and the new one. In this part of the city, the most important religious building is located, the sanctuary of Madonna della Costa.
Sanremo the Town of Flowers
Protected by the Alps from the northern winds, Sanremo enjoys a very mild climate all year round where flowers can be cultivated even in winter. Rich tropical vegetation and colorful flowers such as palm trees, begonias, carnations, camellias, and roses can be observed and enjoyed every step of the way. Many properties in Sanremo have botanical and tropical gardens where vibrant flowers flourish.
In the 19th century, Sanremo became one of the largest exporters of flowers around the world with one of the biggest and most important Flower Markets in Europe. The Sanremo florists have their own emblematic Sanremo Italian style of flower bouquets containing only high-quality local products expressing the specific cultural conditions for which Sanremo’s floriculture is distinguished by.
Famous Viena’s annual New Year Classical Concert is known as well for the tremendous amount of flowers arranged in breathtaking designs that are brought from Sanremo. Another event that celebrates the symbol of the flower is the Sanremo Flower Parade,(Corso Fiorito) an annual event held in Sanremo just before spring knocks on the door. It serves as a showcase not only of the most beautiful production of the Sanremo’s flowers but as well as of other cities from the Italian Riviera that participate and contribute to the event by exposing their mosaic compositions made of thousands of colourful flowers. The parade itself consists of floats beautifully arranged with flowers followed by marching bands. The sun and the sea, the beautiful styled buildings surrounded by blooming vibrant gardens filled with natural floral perfumes and spring temperatures all year round makes Sanremo a very tempting place to be.
Sanremo’s famous visitors
Since the 18th century, Sanremo served moreover as a health resort where many of the high-class aristocrats and members of the royalty spent their luxurious vacations. Because of her weak health the Russian Empresses Maria Aleksandrovna, the wife of the czar Aleksandar II, avoiding the Russian cold temperatures, decided to spend the winter of 1874 in Sanremo. Afterward many of the Russian aristocrats and royalty following the steps of the Empresses, in the next decades making a tradition from this visit, will enjoy Sanremo’s mild Mediterranean climate every winter in their luxury villas surrounded by beautiful gardens. Before she left Sanremo her greatness gave the palm trees from her garden to the town, and as a gratitude, the city of Sanremo planted them on the promenade Corso Imperatrice, named after her. This frequency of the Russian nobility in Sanremo leads to building the Russian Orthodox church located on the same promenade.
Corso Cavallotti: Villas and Statues
There were some very famous people that have spend their time in Sanremo, one of which is the inventor of the dynamite, the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel. He spends his last years in Sanremo where he dies. The Villa Nobel that he stayed in today is a Museum open to the public. Located at Corso Cavallotti the villa itself was built in 1874 and designed in Renaissance style in the middle of a garden where some very rare species of trees can be found. In this same street, there is another very famous villa for its gardens and architecture, Villa Ormond that once belonged to the Swiss family Ormond. After the death of Marguerite Ormond, this property was sold to the Mayor of Sanremo in 1928. At this villa’s garden, many events are held on where in the summer days in the beautiful garden the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra plays its concerts under the open sky. Today Villa Ormond is the official seat of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. At Corso Cavallotti stand the statues of two most popular man that lived in Sanremo, the Mexican poet and politician Ignacio Altamirano and the King of Montenegro Nikola I. This is an example of how one man’s life paths can lead to a place never dreamed of before and leave a mark forever to live in the history. Showing how these important men from totally different parts of the world managed to end up in such a small town on the Mediterranean Sea enjoying the beauty of it all.
Casino of Sanremo, Casinò Municipale di Sanremo
The astonishing architectural piece in Art Nouveau style, the Casino of Sanremo opened its doors for the first time on the 12th of January 1905. This was the place to be in Sanremo in the 19th century. Not only that here one could find a great gambling experience and entertainment, but also attend on cultural events and classical concerts. In the Casino’s theatre, the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra resides, performing its concerts all year round. Regarding the games, the casino has it all. Starting from the slot machines, table games such as poker, blackjack as well as roulette and today is the seat of the European Poker Tournament. There are very conveniently well-suited ATM (Bankomat) in case you run out of cash, so you don’t have to leave the casino (ever) if you prefer so. Two fabulous restaurants, especially the one on the roof with the garden, serve the best dishes in the area and beyond, making your experience in the Casino even better and memorable one. The good thing is that informal dress code in the Casino is accepted, but still, with some restrictions on sandals, flip-flops, or sleeveless t-shorts.
The Casino of Sanremo is located on the Corso degli Englesi. Strolling along this street you’ll find nice British villas from the 18th century characterized by their gardens rich in fruit trees. Unfortunately, these properties are private ones and not open to the public but one can admire their Art Noveau architecture and the gardens from the street as well. Few steps from the Casino, worth visiting, is the Daphne Museum of fashion and perfumes. Considering that there were a lot of wealthy and dominant upper-class aristocrats that pass through Sanremo on multiple occasions, this museum includes a very interesting collection, especially from Russia.
On the right, from the casino, the street will lead you to the modern and chic part of Sanremo, the trendy Corso Matteotti, full of stylish shops and cafes. Built in the 19th century this street was named after Giacomo Matteotti, the Secretary of the socialist party. One of the best buildings, Borea d’Olmo Palace can be found here as well as the Museo Civico and the Ariston Theatre.
Sanremo Music Festival
There is something about the Italian language that makes the lyrics sound much appealing to the ears when sung in Italian. Accompanied with great composition and modern stage presentation by the artist, there is no doubt that we have the winner. The Festival of Italian Song commonly known as Sanremo Music Festival, the most popular song festival in Italy, is an annual music event held in Sanremo, in the month of February or March. The first edition took place in the Sanremo Casino in 1951, later on, the performance of the festival was moved to the Ariston Theatre where is held on until the present day. Many famous Italian singers, such as Andrea Bocelli and Eros Ramazzotti, launched their careers after their completion at Sanremo’s Music Festival.
Although today the festival serves as an election of the song for the Eurovision Song Contest, it was the Sanremo festival that inspired the birth of the most popular European music event in the first place.
The first Eurovision contest took place in 1956, in Lugano, Switzerland. Since the connection of these two festivals is obvious, meaning the winner of the Sanremo festival is the one that represents Italy at Eurovision contest here are few examples of Italian songs popular all over the world that I know about from the Eurovision contests. Some of them didn’t win the first place but, the Italian performers were always somewhere among the three best songs. The famous Volare, performed by Domenico Modugno in 1958 with the original title Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu is a song that I remember well, which I can’t say for the Eurovision winning song of the same year Dors, mon amour, by Andre Claveau from France. In 1987 Umberto Tozzi and Raf with Gente di Mare finished in third place, but they were in a great competition that year since Johnny Logan from Ireland and Hold me now won the Contest. Finally, in 1990 Toto Cutugno won the Eurovision contest finishing in the first place with the famous Insieme: 1992. There are of course much more famous Italian names of composers and singers and the mentioned ones just serve as one reminder or example. They are certainly one of the most popular evergreens ever that continue to live with every generation for decades now.
It seems like that living in Sanremo is very special. No wonder all those famous and wealthy, kings and aristocrats decided to visit this town so often. Everything that actually exists in Sanremo, makes this city truly famous for, especially in Europe: the flowers, the Casino, and the San Remo Music Festival. For such a small city it’s pretty amazing.
Sanremo is one little town on the Italian Riviera where everyone knows about flowers and give special admiration to them. It’s like a good morning for the people of Sanremo. When they meet their neighbor on the street they have the flower talks, like have you seen those Dianthus caryophyllus (Latin for carnations) how they’re blooming this year. Moreover, with so many villas in Art Nouveau or Liberty style, it’s no surprise that they are all familiar with this architectural styles in more details, that actually brought Sanremo a fame spread in every corner of the place. Their everyday life consists of talks and cares about very beautiful things, that makes San Remo a unique place to be.
Spending some time at the Sanremo beaches is a very common activity as well as attending on one of the trips for whale and dolphin watching in the Pelagos Sanctuary where these mammals are frequent visitors.
Sanremo is good for a visit year – round. Take the advantage of the mild climate, pay a visit out of the peak season, and spend one memorable and yet affordable vacation In Sanremo.
There is a period throughout history known as Belle Epoque (Beautiful Era) when peace and prosperity bloomed. In this period (1971-1914) all these villas and hotels in Sanremo were built in the commonly known Italian Liberty style.
Explore a bit more of the Sanremo’s culture and look up at the map all the previously mentioned places and attractions. Finally, see for yourself how all those villas and gardens look like since every one of them has a story to tell about some nobility or royalty.