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horourke San Remo - A travel report by Hugh
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San Remo,  Italy - flag Italy -  Liguria
5941 readers

horourke's travel reports

Five thousand years by the seaside

  7 votes
Sanremo in the centre of the Riviera of Flowers stands on the shore line where Neolithic potters plied their trade, where Royalty of nineteenth century Europe spent their holidays and where today you can find a royal welcome at reasonable prices. report of the month contest
Oct 2010


Our landmark at the end of Corso Imperatrice and near the tourist office
Our landmark at the end of Corso Imperatrice and near the tourist office
The Argentina river flows down to the Mediterranian through the rugged Argentina Valley and in the comparatively level crescent near its estuary, Sanremo offers a warm welcome. This is one of the first centres where European Riviera Tourism was invented in the nineteenth century.



Maria Alexandrovna the Russian Tzarina spent the winter of 1874 here starting a Russian flow of visitors which led to the building of the Russian Orthodox Church on the sea-front in 1913 and continues to this day.



The great palm trees that grace the Corso Imperatrice are the gift of the Tzarina and Russian influence remains strong here with the more expensive stores on Corso Giacomo Matteotti proudly showing "Govorim po rusky" signs in windows displaying some of the World's most prestigious brands.



This street is the centre of a most modern shopping district while less than two hundred meters away inland the medieval streets of the old town La Pigna lead upward from the piazza in front of the twelfth century cathedral of San Siro.



In the morning time it is inspiring to see the staff of very fashionable stores dressed in smart business suits diligently washing the pavements in front of their shops. This detailed attention to detail is mirrored in the service offered within.



The street leads up from the sea at the end of Corso Imperatrice to the market where the bus station offers a most helpful service and gives the visitor the freedom to wander away to Ventimiglia with its Roman amphitheatre or up into the Argentina valley with its medieval villages, chestnut forests and olive groves.



The great lynch pin and landmark is the Casino where the approaches are draped in multicoloured petunias, the palm trees are dramatically lighted at night and the Franciscan Church is an architecturally harmonious companion.

Favourite spots:
Streetscape in La Pigna, the way to the top is left and upward!!
Streetscape in La Pigna, the way to the top is left and upward!!
We found excitement in tackling the almost vertical streets of La Plgna, meditative calm in the shade of trees in the gardens of Queen Helen at the top and our favourite homing point centered on the promenade from the Casino to the Imperatrice Beach approximately one kilometer to the West.



The thoughtful municipal authorities have provided seats along the pavement and the balmy climate combined with the truly safe atmosphere of the city allowed us to sit there in the glow of street lights watching the passing scene.



Sanremo for us was in part a base to visit other parts of this coastline in particular Monaco. Because it was September, insufficient numbers booked for the Monaco excursions and the public bus and train services provided a satisfactory alternative at very reasonable prices.

Orange trees in full fruit by the street pavements surprised and delighted us



What's really great:
The cool haven of peace inside San Siro
The cool haven of peace inside San Siro
The welcome at the Hotel Nazionale was a five star service for a four star price and set the tone of the best service we experienced in many other outlets throughout our stay. There was the elegant tying of a bouquet in the flowershop in the market place even though I was spending only eight euros.

The bus driver who remembered us and specially stopped his vehicle in the main street of Montalto twenty five kilometers out of town to point out we would miss another bus if we remained standing at the wrong stop.

The buzz of conversation on the bus to Ventimiglia (twenty five kilometers to the West) was a contrast to our home experience where everyone pretends that no other passengers have the ability to speak.

The tourist office with ready timetables and maps was a happy centre with generous seating arrangements and helpful staff was great.

Sights:
Best value in town at the Newport cafe
Best value in town at the Newport cafe
San Siro is a haven of peace in the cool darkness contrasting with the sunlit piazza outside. The turns, twists and steps of La Pigna give a flavour of how life was here centuries before.

The deep blue of the sea from a myriad angles particularly after the occasional thunder storm is an ever-changing and stunning sight along this coast. From the Queen Helen garden at the top of La Pigna this sea scape is backed by the hills enclosing the Argentina Valley, the southern facing slopes carrying the great green houses of the Riviera dei Fiori flower growing industry and the striking bridges of the autostrada dei fiori.



The Russian Orthodox Church has a collection of Icons at a miniscule entry fee and the crypt holds an historic exhibition.

A ruined medieval tower in the fish market is a reminder of defence against saracen pirates.



Accommodations:
Mannequins in a funkt market on the verge of the old town
Mannequins in a funkt market on the verge of the old town
The Hotel Nazionale offered reasonable rates, a memorable welcome, perfect accomodation, a great restaurant-very good pavement tables-a striking seventh floor terrace for breakfast and sunning with instant service and striking sea-views and an unforgettable farewell. We were happy there.



High above the Russian Orthidox Church the Royal Hotel offers five star accomodation at high prices. We ate on the terrace there on a very warm evening and some of our family stayed there last year giving very satisfactory reports with particular reference to the live music entertainment in the lounge at night. The outdoor pool is dramatic with olive trees surrounding it and sea swimming is available at the private beach directly below the hotel.

Nightlife:
That special deep b;ue seen frpm th sun trrace of the Nazionale
That special deep b;ue seen frpm th sun trrace of the Nazionale
The town is filled with pavement caf├ęs and bars. The casino offers entertainment to the initiated and not being familiar with that culture we did not visit. From reading an article by someone who wandered in, we feel we were wise.

The Ariston Theatre/ Cinema at the other end of Corso Matteotti was all abuzz with young patrons. Calculating that they were on average one third of our age we melted awayh to drink coffee but the atmosphere around the theatre was rejuvenating

Hangouts:
The civic museum at Corso Giacomo Matteotti 143 occupies the upper floors of a medieval palace. Above the doorway there is a marble statue of the Madonna and child.



Admission is free you ring the bell and are invited in by phone through the wrought iron screen.



You can hangout here for hours among the artifacts from Neolithic and Roman times with reconstructions of the finds as the excavations of Sanremo progressed.



Welcoming staff, good bookshop, great paintings and interesting personal insights on Garibaldi, Edward Lear, Monet and Alfred Nobel

Restaurants:
quiet corner of Queen Helen gardens
quiet corner of Queen Helen gardens
The restaurant at the Imperatrice beach was a memorable experience. Fast service, great Milanese veal and reasonable prices.

Best value in town Newport American bar with cold plates of roast beef and parma style ham. Great place to drink tea and watch life go by. Within two hundred meters of Via Roma and Matteotti at half the price.

Already mentioned pavement restaurant at Hotel Nazionale on Matteotti and we had a very happy dinner in Picolo Mondo in via Piave between Matteotti and Roma.

Other recommendations:
Infectiously young atmosphere at Ariston theatre
Infectiously young atmosphere at Ariston theatre
Mentioned above is the flower shop in the market place. Outside on the pavement is a presentation of pot plants. Inside there is a myriad cut flowers. I asked for two roses and agreed the price of four euros each. Immediately the shopkeeper offered to dress them in an elegant fashion. The result was a work of art and there was no additional charge.

The staff at the central bus station were immensely patient and helpful.

Taxi services are reasonably priced and very rapid answering. The railway station is not close to the town centre and there is a long walk from the platforms to the exit. On arrival at the Taxi rank there will probably be no vehicle there and you must call the number displayed on the circular sign.

On another occasion we foolishly left the bus from Ventimiglia about ten stops early and were duly rescued by a taxi within six minutes of phoning.

Published on Wednesday October 13th, 2010


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Sat, Oct 16 2010 - 03:01 PM rating by mistybleu

Hugh a really nice read. Thanks

Sat, Oct 16 2010 - 11:27 AM rating by pesu

Very good informative report, I liked to feel that you were enjoying your stay there! :)

Thu, Oct 14 2010 - 03:00 AM rating by jorgesanchez

A lot of historical and practical information.

Wed, Oct 13 2010 - 05:46 PM rating by jacko1

Well researched and written in an interesting way Hugh, well done!

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