This part of Liguria boasts numerous museums, some of which are quite unusual.
Just beyond the Italian-French border, the Museo dei Balzi Rossi offers important findings that testify to the fact that Cro Magnon man already inhabited these places, while just a few kilometers down the road to Ventimiglia, stands the Forte dell’Annnunziata with a considerable archeological collection from ancient Albintimilium.
There is an authentic air of Victorian England about the Bicknell Museum in Bordighera, which underlines the cultural contribution of the British colony at the turn of the two centuries: from the gravures of Monte Bego, and the important library devoted to the history of the Riviera, right through to a curious collection of butterflies from all over the world.
In Sanremo, in addition to the Casino – which has long been the town’s pivotal attraction – the imposing Palazzo Borea d’Olmo exhibits several important paintings, whereas in Imperia-Oneglia, the Carli Museum focuses entirely on olive growing, which has always had a key impact on this part of western Liguria, both economically and socially.
A small deviation brings us to Valloria, a delightful little village in the hinterland of Imperia, where different artists have painted the old doors, turning them into small works of art.
The Pieve di Teco Salvini theater is not a museum but there is no doubt that is a true gem set among the narrow streets of this village, at the foot of the mountain, appreciated for its authenticity.
There are numerous churches, the styles of which reflect all the area’s historical eras, from the skillfully restored Romanesque cathedrals of Ventimiglia and Sanremo, the San Domenico di Taggia convent and church, with its important collection of art works by various great artists who worked here in the past, the sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie just a few kilometers from Imperia, surrounded by age-old olive groves, boasts an important cycle of frescoes, while in the nearby Montegrazie church you can admire a polyptych by Braccesco.
Two other buildings dating back to the early Romanesque period are the charming churches of l’Assunta and San Giovanni at Diano Castello, whereas the Corallini church was built with the proceeds of coral fishing at the height of the Baroque era.
The churches of Porto Maurizio and Pieve di Teco, both designed by the celebrated Swiss/Italian architect Geatano Cantoni, date back to the Neo Classical era.
The Russian orthodox church in Sanremo, on the other hand, with its onion-bulb cupolas, was built in the 20th century to service the numerous Russians who liked to spend the winter months in the town.