Baroque San Remo

San Remo, Town of Flowers and of unheralded illustrations of the Baroque style, has numerous monuments that splendidly represent the richest and most whimsical style of European architecture.

Let’s have a close look to the town streets where we can find many Baroque jewels, such as the Church of St Stephen, the Church of St Mary of the Angels, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Coast, Borea Palace, the Church of St Joseph, the Oratory of St Brigid, and the Oratory of St Sebastian.

A short walk up to the top of the hill leads to The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Coast, overlooking the city of San Remo and surrounded by leafy oak trees. The facade of the sanctuary is characterised by two bell towers on its sides and a large decorated window surrounded by stuccoes in the center. Passing through the marble door, you will find a single aisle with several chapels lining each side. Looking overhead and you will see a large dome characterised by large windows, stuccoes, and frescoes. The gilded stuccoes, warm frescoes, rich paintings and marble are but a “frame” of the real treasure of the sanctuary, the a fourteenth-century painting portraying the Virgin Mary with Child.

Going down towards the sea, at the foot of La Pigna in Piazza Cassini, is the Church of St Stephen, built in the Medieval Ages and then restored in the seventeenth century. The building has a rectangular layout surrounded by side chapels and choirs. In 1624 the church was given to the Jesuits who had come to San Remo to found a boarding school.

Walking along Via Palazzo towards Piazza Colombo, you will reach the Church of St Mary of the Angels, surrounded by nineteenth-century houses and post-war buildings. It certainly stands out against the modern architecture of the nearby Market of Flowers. Its facade is rich in stuccoes and the three portals are separated by columns with capitals above which rests the entablature. In the center of the top of the façade is a large decorated window. In the interior there are several private chapels along its three aisles. In the church you can find the vestments of the chapels of St Nicholas of Bari and St Antonio of Padua and an altar-piece portraying the two saints together with the Virgin Mary with Child and St Francis of Assisi in adoration the Crucifix.

Retracing your steps across Piazza Colombo, walk along Corso Matteotti to reach the Borea d’Olmo Palace, located in the heart of San Remo. This baroque palace has one of its façades overlooking Corso Matteotti, the main shopping avenue, while the other overlooks Via Cavour. One of the most interesting elements of the palace is undoubtably the atrium staircase with its cross vaulted ceiling supported by marble columns.

Don’t be deceived by the deliberately simple style of the mezzanines: they will introduce you to the rich decorations and paintings of the upper floors, including the town museum (Museo Civico) on the top floor. There is a small chapel on the second floor containing a marble altar and a statue of the Virgin Mary, presumably by Ponsonelli. Continuing through the large corridor with its blue-painted vaulted dome, you will find several rooms connected on each side. In one of these rooms, Pope Pius VII once stayed on his journey from France to Rome. The ceiling of that room is decorated with putti that seem to chase each other through the sky. At the end, you will reach a large room containing the portrait gallery of the Borea d’Olmo noble family.