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A weekend in Imperia
A city with two sides and capital of olive oil production

Once rival cities – one Savoyard, the other Genoese – Oneglia and Porto Maurizio became one city in 1923 when Imperia was formed. The two places are still very different: the first lies on a plain and the second is perched above the sea, each with its own attractions, port and charm. And if one of the most traditional delicacies in Oneglia is the Pissalandrea, a fragrant focaccia filled with tomatoes, anchovies, capers and olives, in Porto Maurizio you can try the Sardenaira.  Both places are famous for their olive oil and Imperia is known as the capital of olive oil, but the OliOliva festival is held in Oneglia in November. But what can you see in the Ligurian capital only half an hour from The Mall Sanremo?

The heart of the city is the Savoyard Piazza Dante with its historic palace and tower called “Kremlin palace”. Going towards the sea, you will reach the late Baroque collegiate church of San Giovanni Battista, but it is when you get to the port area that you will discover the old Oneglia with its ancient fishermen houses and the Palazzo Doria where admiral Andrea Doria was born. Also, you will find the eclectic Villa Grock on the Cascine hill overlooking the sea. This was the bizarre property of Adrien Wettach, stage name Grock, known as “the king of the clowns”, who was also an acrobat, juggler, tightrope walker and musician. The former residence now houses the Museo del Clown with its splendid park, dancing fountains and small temples.

The quaintest district is Parasio, a typical village with stairways, alleys, colourful houses, squares decorated in local risseu style (mosaic in Ligurian cobblestones) and picturesque views of the sea.   Make sure you visit the loggia of the convent of Santa Chiara and the Basilica of San Maurizio, the largest church in Liguria. All along the coastline, you will find the romantic promenade of lovers, while in Via Giovanni Ballestre, you will discover the connection between Imperia and street art with at least 650 metres of murals along the Prino river bank.

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