Medieval San Remo

This walk through Medieval San Remo starts on Via Roma at Casa Valdese, which was once a primary school where the famous writer Italo Calvino studied. Walking along Via Calvi, you will catch a glimpse of Corso Matteotti, the city’s quintessential shopping avenue full of interesting historic and cultures sites, before continuing on to Via Corradi, which runs parallel to Corso Matteotti and over the ancient Roman route Julia Augusta. Via Corradi is one of the busiest trade streets in town and here tourists can also find many appetising delicacies to enjoy during the walk.

At the cross-roads with via Calvi, a typical Torinese fountain (“toretto”) can be seen. It stands where there was once a stone fountain, now found in piazza San Siro, resembling a sarcophagus although it is actually a modern drinking trough built at the beginning of the nineteenth century when horse drawn coaches and carriages were still used.

From Via Calvi you can reach Piazza San Siro, where stands the Romanesque-gothic cathedral of the same name. It was built in limestone in the twelfth century on the site of an early Christian church. Though it has been repeatedly reconstructed through the centuries, it still preserves a twelfth-century bas-relief on the left portal which portrays an Easter lamb between two palms.

Opposite San Siro you will find the oratory of the Immaculate Conception built by the Palmari family in the sixteenth century. It is still a splendid example of Baroque style. The rectangular hall is sumptuously decorated with marble, stuccoes, sixteenth-century frescoes, and statues.
The oratory is run by the Figlie della Chiesa (Daughters of the Church) – a congregation of nuns.

A covered alley will lead you to piazza Eroi Sanremesi (Heroes Square).  Here, on the side of the square, you will find the Resettu, a medieval rectory house whose name means refuge. Along the perimeter of the square is a small flower market and in the center is a monument of Siro Andrea Carli, worthy Mayor and deputy during the first half of the nineteenth century.  In the middle of the flower market stands the torre (tower) della Ciapela, constructed of one-meter-thick stone.  The tower is a remnant of the sixteenth-century city walls built to protect San Remo from the attacks of barbaric pirates.

Moving away from Piazza Eroi towards the recently restored Piazza Vincenzo Muccioli, a small staircase will lead you to piazza Nota, where stands the Nota Palace, once the residence of a Genovese commissioner which now houses the town hall. Above the door of the palace, you will see the emblem of town of San Remo. On the opposite side of the square you will find a plaque dedicated to Italo Calvino.

Keep walking to reach piazza Cassini where you can visit the Church of Saint Stephen – one of the most important religious monuments in town. Founded in the Middle Ages by Benedictine friars, in the seventeenth century the church became the property of the Jesuits who devoted themselves to its sumptuous reconstruction in the Baroque style. The interior is abundantly decorated in frescoes and gold. Here at the foot of La Pigna, our pleasant walk ends.


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