Imperia - Italy

Imperia lies on that part of the Ligurian coast known as the Riviera dei Fiori, northeast of San Remo in northwestern Italy. Formed in 1923 by the union of Porto Maurizio, Oneglia, and several villages, the town took its name from the Torrente Impero ("Impero Stream") that crosses the town. Porto Maurizio ascends the hillside in a series of zig-zags from the marina and small beach and its stepped old quarter contains the neoclassical style Cathedral of San Maurizio dating from 1779 andseveral Baroque churches and elegant villas. Other sights include the Province Building and City Hall. In Oneglia is the Museo dell'Olivio devoted to the history of the local oil. Porto Maurizio was once a Roman port and came under the control of Genoa from 1276, the French in 1797 and the kingdom of Sardinia in 1814. Oneglia dates from 935 as a Roman coastal castle, Castelvecchio, and was controlled by the Doria family, the house of Savoy and France up until 1814 when it became part of . Piedmont. From Imperia you can travel to the popular resort of San Remo just down the coast. It is most famous for the annual San Remo Song Festival and its casino, second only to Monte Carlo.