Set, like the rest of the region, between sea and mountains, Imperia is a city with two faces, capable of giving unexpected corners of beauty. The city, once industrial and now more touristic, was born from the merger of Oneglia and Porto Maurizio, two historically and geographically distinct territories that still show some differences. You will be able to hear slightly different dialects, taste gastronomic specialties prepared according to different recipes, discover a more residential environment on one side and one more popular on the other, listening to funny anecdotes about the two villages. There’s two everything: two historic centers, two ports, two train stations.
Oneglia still maintains its maritime vocation, that you can feel in the harbor and among the characteristic alleys. The port, which is mainly home to fishing vessels and merchant ships, is bordered by the wonderful arcades of Calata Cuneo and the typically Ligurian picturesque houses. In the evening the village lights up: on one side there are the elegant shops of Via Bonfante for shopping, on the other the restaurants and the waterfront bars, the hub of Imperia’s nightlife.
On the first hill of Oneglia there is one of the main attractions of Imperia: Villa Grock. It is a magical and mysterious place, one of the most peculiar and bizarre buildings of Riviera dei Fiori. It was built by Adrien Wettach, a world-renowned clown known as Grock. This eclectic artist met Imperia by chance, but he was so impressed that he moved here, until 1959. In that year Grock died, but the house and the garden remain to witness his melancholy and playful soul. The villa is also referred to as the “Stone Circus” for the innumerable references to the circus world that blend with the Liberty style and the influences of contemporary artists such as Dalì, Picasso and Gaudì.
The center of Porto Maurizio is a promontory that juts out towards the sea, called Parasio. It is exciting to walk through its traditional alleyways, go up its stairs to the Logge di Santa Chiara, from which you can enjoy a splendid view, and then reach the Duomo, built in neoclassical style. At the foot of Parasio there is the other harbor of the city and the promenade of Porto Maurizio, called Borgo Marina.
The surroundings of Imperia
Those who decide to spend a holiday in Imperia will not only be able to discover an enchanting city and its breathtaking views, but also the incredible surroundings and an always surprising nature. It is possible, for example, to reach the Sanctuary of Montegrazie on foot or by bicycle, in a splendid panoramic position and surrounded by olive trees, in complete tranquility. Do not miss a beautiful bike trail that crosses some of the towns in the hinterland of Imperia, among the olive trees and terraces typical of these areas. Suitable for the most trained people, the circular route starts from Dolcedo, where it is possible to discover the Lecchiore Lakes, and cross Vasta, Pantasina, Poggio, Villa Talla and Valloria.
The flavors of Imperia
The discovery of a new place also passes through taste: hence those who really want to live Imperia must also taste its typical products, from olive oil to Pigato, Rossese and Vermentino wines, from farinata with onions to sardenaira (focaccia with tomatoes and anchovies), from Ligurian rabbit to brandacujun, a typical dish based on stockfish and potatoes.
In the city you will also find the Olive Museum, which illustrates the history of what for centuries has been the main resource of the local economy and whose presence still characterizes the landscape of Riviera di Ponente.
A sustainable stay in Imperia
We gave you an idea of the many things that Imperia can give you, from the sea to the green, from the elegant buildings to the breathtaking views. Now you just have to discover for yourself what else there is, organizing a green holiday in this city of Liguria. At 3 kilometers from the sea, you will find a beautiful ecological house nestled among the vineyards, perfect for a holiday of pure well-being, natural and digital detox! The accommodation, which overlooks a suggestive private vineyard, is built according to the principles of green building and can accommodate up to 6 people. Internet is banned, but you won’t even think about it. The rooster will wake you up, you can discover this corner of Liguria and then relax in the shade of a grape pergola or in the comfortable outdoor loungers.
Cover image: Photo by Jakob Ibrom on Unsplash