Friday, June 7, 2013


Okay, this will be redundant, but it's how I started my afternoon visit to Sanremo, scaling my way upward.

I was headed for the old part of the city, which is called La Pigna (translation:  the pinecone), apparently because the street upward winds around the old city, leading you from one historic attraction to another.

I was without my excellent guide Riccardo, so I just stumbled my way forward, stopping frequently for a breath.  I took a turn that lead me to this road going up, up, up.  I have to admit that I got a little whiney.  I wondered if I'd ever reach the top.

My destination was the church at the top of this hill, the Santuary of Madonna della Costa.  You can see I still have a little more scaling to do.

I finally did arrive, at 1 p.m., only to find that it was closed from noon until 4 p.m.  I wasn't about to climb back up at 4 p.m. to see it, so I just enjoyed the outside view.

Behind this church there were more steps and then a road that lead you even further upward.  I had read that there was a public garden above the church; and after some very serious consideration, I decided to tough it out and climb up to the garden.

It would have been a really lovely walk, if it weren't all uphill (okay, whining again).  There were some lovely homes along the way, groves of olive trees, and one vineyard.

At one of my resting points,  I happened to look down the wall behind me and there was an old boat that had some plants growing in it.  I wonder how it got down there.

I made it to the top of the hill, having seen not one person in the 15 or 20 minutes it took me to get up there, and then kept walking on the flat of the hill.  There was no garden in sight.  Finally, a car came from ahead of me and I flagged it down.  I asked the driver if there was a garden here, and he said no.  I guess I placed it above the wrong church.  He graciously gave me a ride back down the hill to where the steps started.  

Now I began my climb down, with no particular destination in mind, just exploring the old town.  I really like this sculpture.  Fratelli (brothers) was in the name, so I'm pretty sure it had something to do with brothers helping brothers.

I got some nice shots of the Sanremo coast from the old town.

As well as the beautiful mountains that are the backdrop for every Ligurian town and city.

This tree looked like it was in a big hurry to get somewhere.  

As I wandered downward, I kept my eyes open for somewhere to eat, because now it's 2 p.m. and I'm famished.  I finally found a spaghetteria, where I ordered Ligurian pesto pasta with potatoes and green beans--the same dish that Marina had made for me last weekend.  Hers topped what I had here by a kilometer.

Some of the alleyways are really, really narrow.  I wasn't sure where I was going, but I knew there was one direction to follow, and that was down.  I didn't really care where I landed at sea level.

This old fresco was above one of the archways.  I don't know if you can tell, but it's Madonna and Child.

I'm guessing this was the water source for the neighborhood many years ago.

The old town is really rundown and many of the buildings need a facelift.  Italy's economy right now makes it unlikely that this will happen soon.

Back at sea level, I encountered this old stone tower.  I don't know what it was and couldn't find any reference to it on the Internet.  Maybe Riccardo can tell me.

There are, of course, lots of churches here, as in every Italian town.  Here's a fairly modern one.

Since the unification of Italy in 1861, San Remo has been a fashionable destination for the rich and famous.  Tchaikovsky wrote a symphony here in the 1870's.  While it declined in popularity after the early 20th century, it still caters to an upscale crowd.  There's some serious shopping that takes place here, a lot by French people who cross the border for lower prices.  At 57,000 population, Sanremo may be in the category of a small city, rather than a town.

Sanremo opened a huge casino to rival Monte Carlo in the early 1900's.  My mother and sisters will be appalled that I didn't go inside to check it out.  They would have spent the day there.

There's a really beautiful Russian Orthodox church here.  Wealthy Russians vacation in this area.

After indulging in a delicious gelato, I walked down to the harbor and gandered at the boats.  I was pretty tired by now, after walking around for about 4 hours, so I headed back for the train station.

On the way I passed this fountain on a traffic island.

It was a good afternoon, but I missed my expert Ligurian guide, Riccardo.  I'm sure I overlooked some sights of interest.  But I'm happy with what I saw, and it wasn't raining!

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