Introducing San Remo
Basking on the Riviera dei Fiori – so named for the area’s flower-growing industry – San Remo is known as the ‘City of Flowers’. Hothouses surround the city, exporting carnations, roses, buttercups and other blooms across Europe and beyond.
San Remo (locally spelt Sanremo) flourished in the 19th century as a resort for Europe’s high society, particularly from Russia. Tsarina Maria Alex-androvna (mother of the last tsar, Nicholas II) once held court here, and the remarkable onion-dome church remains as a reminder of San Remo’s halcyon days.
The town swarms with high-spirited locals and holidaymakers, especially during its many festivals. It also swarms with scooters. Allegedly, San Remo has more scooters per capita than anywhere else in Italy (which is really saying something). Renting one to chicane along the coast and up into the hinterland is a fun – if hair-raising – way to explore the area.
The ancient heart of San Remo, La Pigna (meaning ‘Pine Cone’), is a tight cluster of streets just north of Corso Matteotti, San Remo’s main strip.