Sea, flowers and palm trees
A taste of the sea on the Riviera di Ponente, from the pretty little town of Bergeggi to the glamorous coastal city Sanremo.
Pristine white beaches bathed by a crystal clear and perennially warm sea, fertile green mountains which crash down into the waters below, picturesque fishing villages characterized by little lanes or carruggi: a unique combination which indicates that we are in Liguria and, more precisely, on the Riviera di Ponente, the stretch of coast which, from Southern France, stretches all the way to Genoa, the mild climate of which makes this part of Liguria the perfect holiday destination''' all year round.
Our journey along the shores of the Ligurian sea commences in Bergeggi on the Riviera delle Palme.
Bergeggi's marvelously clean waters ensure that the coastal resort is consistently awarded the European Blue Flag
The islet of Bergeggi, a cone of calciferous rock with a maximum height of 43 meters, was once linked to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand, now submerged by the sea.
In the past inhabited by small monastic communities, the islet is now a favorite spot for divers, keen to explore the seabed.
The town of Bergeggi is characterized by its narrow little lanes which, from the heart of the historic center, lead all the way down to the water's edge.
With some 14 kilometers of beach, the town of Finale Ligure has the longest stretch of coast in Liguria and an elegant seafront promenade, brimming with attractive street cafés and open-air restaurants. Here too, the seabed offers superb subterrain for diving enthusiasts.
The historic center of Finale Ligure is reached through one of the numerous gateways in the town's old perimeter walls. The town's most important edifices, the Convent of Santa Caterina and the Castle, date back to the period when the Marquis of Carretto governed Finale Ligure.
A beautifully conserved town, dating back to medieval times, and a much loved bathing resort, Albenga once had some fifty watch towers.
Your first glimpse of Albenga, as you approach, is of the town's eighteen surviviing watch towers
The heart of the town is Piazza San Michele, home to Albenga's Cathedral and the Palazzo Vecchio, this latter with characteristic double arched loggia. Attached to the cathedral, the bell tower offers those who climb to its top a breathtaking view over the town.
Austere and imposing, the Cathedral of San Michele is a masterpiece of Ligurian Romanesque, subsequently restyled during the Gothic period. Part of the same complex, the PaleoChristian baptistery contains a number of wonderful mosaics dating back to the 5th century.
From the Riviera delle Palme to the Riviera dei Fiori, Sanremo is by far the most glamorous port of call, famous for its elegant Empress's' promenade, lined by the Canary palms donated to the city by the Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna, and for its Casino.
The surrounding area is dotted with magnificent botanical gardens, in which Sanremo's famous flowers grow, and by sumptuous villas once inhabited by the noble classes of Europe.
For over fifty years, each February, Sanremo has hosted the Italian Song Festival, a much followed televised event which has marked the making or breaking of many a career in the country's music industry
Hotels in the area
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