Imperia, Ligurian capital wedged between the mountains and the sea
Located at the base of the Valle dell’Impero and in the middle of the Riviera dei Fiori, the city is made up of two centres. Oneglia to the east, in the floodplain of the river, and Porto Maurizio, nestled on the promontory. Even though the two centres are practically united, history has often seen them as enemies. Like when Porto Maurizio, under the Republic of Genoa, fought against Oneglia ceded by the Doria family to the Savoia family in the XVI century. The city is well known as a beach destination among tourists, but is also an important industrial and commercial centre in oil and pasta making. Imperia is the capital of a province of 1155 km2. The province is almost fully located in the swathe of land that goes from the Alpi Marittime, namely from Monte Saccarello, towards the sea, between Capo Mortola to the west to the border with France and Capo Cervo to the east.
Imperia, view from the pier in Oneglia
The land behind the city has an orographic tendency characterised by valleys running perpendicular to the coast and deteriorating uniformly. Along these, many towns and villages have developed which have managed to maintain their original structure. Olives cultivated on the terraced hillsides with their characteristic dry stone walls are still the dominant element of the landscape. Olive cultivation, introduced by the Benedictine monks around the XII century, deeply marked the history of the Imperia province. Just like, many centuries later, flowers and elite tourism have done. Many society people in culture, and art, as well as the nobility, chose the Riviera attracted by a book: “Il dottor Antonio” [Doctor Antonio], by Giovanni Ruffini. This book is considered to be the very first tour guide which allowed Europe to learn about this corner of Liguria. The guides say that this is a city “to walk in”. Starting from upper Porto Maurizio, the aristocratic Parasio, down to the sea, with Borgo Foce and Borgo Marina.
Imperia, view from the splendid Parasio in Porto Maurizio
All the way to the porticos of the alleys of Oneglia, which is often compared to the “Sottoripa” area of Genoa. “Wedged” between the land and the sea, with one foot on land and the other in the salt water: this seems to be the destiny of Ligurians.
Imperia has many boating services. Well serviced in the nearby Marina di San Lorenzo, located in the town of San Lorenzo 3 miles from Imperia, arranged over seven piers and berthing spaces, offering a variety of services including ship repairs and resupply, and the Porto di Imperia , with ample availability of spaces for vessels of every size, and equipped with a heliport.