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Situated on the Riviera dei Fiori, between the sea and mountains, Imperia is a provincial capital of Liguria founded in 1923, the year in which 11 municipalities, including Oneglia and San Maurizio, were united.

The latter represent the two different souls of the city which, although united, has preserved the history, cuisine and traditions of its two main centres, separated only by the Impero Torrent, to which the city owes its name.

Spending a holiday in Imperia therefore allows you to discover a multifaceted land where the historical beauties of the city and the surrounding villages are bathed by a dreamlike sea and lush nature.

List of Locations Imperia

The most beautiful places to visit in Imperia

Although excluded from the classic tourist circuits, Imperia has much to offer visitors, who will find history, art and sea both in the city and in the surrounding areas.

The best way to visit the provincial capital and the surrounding villages and beaches is to rent a car, which will allow you to easily move from one place to another, taking everything you need with you.

If you opt to rent a car in Imperia, you can head to the Maggiore office in Sanremo where you will find vehicles that stand out for their quality and safety, as they are scrupulously checked and sanitised before delivery.

Once you have rented a car, it takes less than 30 minutes to reach Imperia Oneglia, a hamlet in the east of the city known not only for its artistic heritage but also for its production of both olive oil and pasta.

Start your itinerary from the Basilica of San Giovanni Battista which will amaze you with its Baroque interiors, and the birthplace of Andrea Doria before moving to the town’s port bordered by the porticos of Calata Cuneo, one of the liveliest areas of the town.

From Oneglia, a 20-minute walk will take you to Imperia Porto Maurizio, where you can walk along the famous Passeggiata degli Innamorati (Lovers’ Promenade), a road by the sea that connects Borgo Marina with Borgo Foce.

Once in Foce, make sure to visit the oldest part of Porto Maurizio and the Duomo of San Maurizio before entering the Parasio village with its beautiful network of caruggi (alleyways) lined with fine monuments such as the Convent of Santa Chiara, characterised by a long corridor with loggias offering a unique view of the Ligurian Sea.

But there are many more things to see in Imperia!

Don’t miss Villa Grock in Oneglia, a bizarre building built by the famous Swiss clown Adrian Wettach “Grock” which houses the Clown Museum, the Carlo Carli Olive Museum, which traces the history of olives and oil, and the Hospice of the Knights of Malta dating back to the 13th century.


Holidays in Imperia: historical villages and fantastic beaches

Visiting Imperia also means discovering the villages in the surrounding area, small treasures on the coast and inland that will amaze you with their unique charm.

Take the SP41 provincial road and after a 20-minute drive you will arrive at Dolcedo in the Valle del Primo, a small village where time seems to have stood still and where it is worth seeing the 1292 Bridge of the Knights of Malta and the Church of St Thomas the Apostle.

You can then set off again for the small hamlet of Bellissimi, known also as “u paise di bauli”, because of the custom of releasing paper hot-air balloons into the air on the feast of the Madonna della Misericordia; the many murals that adorn the buildings and streets of the small town are dedicated to the balloons.

From Dolcedo, you can travel to Pieve di Teco, a medieval village in the Arroscia Valley characterised by the presence of numerous religious buildings, such as the collegiate Church of San Giovanni Battista dating back to 1460 and the former church of Madonna della Ripa, and Dolceacqua, a medieval village in the Nervia Valley known for its beautiful Doria Castle and 15th-century Romanesque Bridge.

Back on the coast, the things to see near Imperia include Cervo, a small town by the sea where you can admire interesting buildings such as the Clavesana Castle and the Church of San Giovanni Battista or relax on its quiet beaches, and Taggia, one of “The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”, where you can spend a few hours immersed in the beauty of the countryside and the sea.

Finally, don’t miss a visit to Bussana Vecchia, a village destroyed by an earthquake in 1887 and then reborn in the 1950s thanks to a group of international artists who transformed it into the “Villaggio degli Artisti” (Artist’s Village).

Also worth visiting is the beautiful Giardino dei Ruderi, the Church of Sant’Egidio and the Villa Romana, as well as the numerous craft and art workshops scattered throughout the village.

After such an intense tour of Imperia and its surrounding areas, you can enjoy an afternoon of relaxation and sunshine on the beautiful beaches in the area.

Stop on the long and sandy beach of La Fortezza di Taggia, or move to the beach of Santo Stefano a Mare, bathed by a very clear sea, or reach the shores of Sanremo, and enjoy beaches such as Capo Verde, Tre Ponti and Marina di Capo Nero.

By opting to rent a car in Imperia, you can really get to know the city and its surroundings and fully appreciate its great beauty.