Itinerary: Riviera dei Fiori, Savona, Spotorno, Finale Ligure, Alassio, Cervo, San Remo, Ventimiglia
Scenic drive along Riviera dei Fiori on the Ligurian Coast
Riviera dei Fiori is the western part of the Ligurian coast washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea and bordered by the French Riviera. The name of this coast (literally, Riviera of the Flowers) has probably been given thanks to its spectacular location and the beautiful flowers growing in the area of San Remo.
Since Riviera dei Fiori is protected from the northern winds by the Alps, it benefits from a temperate, sunny climate. Riviera of the Flowers is the perfect place for those who love the sun and beach life, but also want to explore the charming towns and villages of this beautiful region.
Riviera dei Fiori was discovered in the late nineteenth century by the British people, who contributed to the development of tourism and to the establishment of many seaside resorts.
Moving away from the sea, the surrounding hills are home to beautiful Medieval villages that were built to protect the coast against the Saracen invasions. In fact, many people from the coast have fled towards the mountains, where they have built strongholds consisted of houses clustered around the castle and the church. These Medieval villages are still well preserved so you can stroll along their narrow and steep picturesque streets.
Now, let's discover the main towns and villages along the Riviera dei Fiori. You can take highway E80 or the coastline road SS1. The coast here is rather jagged since in many points the steep mountains' slopes fall directly into the blue sea offering spectacular panoramic views and a great scenic drive.
Let's start from Savona. It has an old historic center with narrow streets and the tourist harbor called La Vecchia Darsena. The civil and military monuments to be visited are the twelfth-century Torre del Brandale, the fourteenth-century Torre Leon Pancaldo, the Fortress of Priamar, Palazzo della Rovere (built in the late fifteenth century). Do not miss some remarkable churches, such as the Cathedral of the Assumption and Oratorio di Nostra Signora di Castello.
The village of Spotorno (pic n°2) is located about twenty miles south of Savona. Here, the tourism industry began to develop in the early twentieth century. You can enjoy beautiful views of Spotorno Bay and the Island of Bergeggi.
Finale Ligure (pic n°1) has been created recently as a result of the unification of three small villages (Finalborgo, Final, and Final Pia Marina). This town is located along Via Aurelia, an ancient Roman road.
Alassio (pic n°3), a beautiful lively town with Medieval origins, is a seaside resort that attracts tourists since the late nineteenth century. The main street of Alassio is Via XX Settembre, (usually known as "Budelllo"), a long street that runs parallel to the beach and it is home to many luxury shops. Also, there are some beautiful sandy beaches here !
Cervo (pic n°4), a small village, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and best preserved Medieval villages in Italy. It is located on a hill and it features some colorful houses overlooking the sea. The most remarkable monument of Cervo is its Baroque-style church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, known as "Chiesa dei Corallini".
San Remo (pic n°5) is a well-known elegant seaside resort, probably the most popular town along the whole coast. It is located in a cove overlooking the Ligurian Sea, away from the mountains, which allows it to benefit from a mild climate even in winter. Seaside lovers will find some well equipped, nice sandy beaches.
San Remo is home to the most famous Italian music festival called "Italian Song Festival, San Remo", which is held here every year in February or March. It is a competition for Italian singers and where many international guest singers are invited as well.
San Remo is also famous for its beautiful flowers. In fact, most of the surrounding areas are dedicated to growing flowers, so it the most important activity of the city in addition to tourism.
Also, San Remo is a "gambling city", so if you like gambling it is the right place for you: in the 'Casino of San Remo' you can play roulette and other games.
Ventimiglia (pic n°6) is a very characteristic small village, perched on a hill and located on the shore of the Roya river at the border between the Italian and the French Riviera.
Sea also: The ancient villages of the Riviera di Ponente in Liguria
Some pics along Riviera dei Fiori:
Finale Ligure (pic n°1); Spotorno (pic n°2); Alassio (pic n°3); Cervo (pic n°4); San Remo (pic n°5); Ventimiglia (pic n°6);