In the local vicinity you will find beaches, marinas, picturesque villages, hills, hamlets which date back centuries (to Medieval times), olive groves, an extensive foot- and cycle path running along the seafront, various footpaths through the hills, cosmopolitan cities etc. You can reach all these places by car, but there is also a bus stop near our house, with buses to San Remo (in the west) and Imperia (in the east) leaving several times an hour. Cycling is very popular in this region. Its popularity has certainly grown with the opening of the foot- and cycle seafront on the old railway track which runs right alongside the sea (the seafront currently runs for 24 km, but will be extended to 74 km in the future).
San Lorenzo al Mare
The nearest sand beach is in San Lorenzo al Mare, which lies east of our house. It’s a lovely little village, twenty minutes’ walk away. Some 100 metres down the Aurelia (the coastal road) you will find the entrance to a wonderful footpath which runs right alongside the sea. En route, you will pass various rock and pebble beaches (popular with the Italians) which are a magnet for so many swimming and snorkelling enthusiasts.
San Stefano al Mare
To the west of our house is San Stefano al Mare. A lively seaside resort with an extensive seafront and a great many shops and restaurants. The beaches attract huge crowds during the summer months and offer a variety of arts events and activities.
Imperia was created when two separate towns, Oneglia and Porto Maurizio, merged and to this day exudes two radically different atmospheres: Porto Maurizio is known for its winding lanes that lead up to the cathedral at the top end of the town, while Oneglia is a modern town which boasts a large shopping centre and a beautiful port with luxurious yachts. Make sure you visit the local olive museum.
Only a 20-minute drive from our house is the fashionable resort of San Remo, known for its casino and luxurious shopping streets. At the beginning of the 20th century, many famous people flocked here because of the mild climate (the Empress Sisi, the Russian royal family, Alfred Nobel etc.). The old part of San Remo is also worth a visit. From the harbour you can take a dolphin and whale-watching boating excursion!
Bussana Vecchia was completely destroyed in 1887 in an earthquake. The survivors didn’t want to stay, because the village had apparently become a ‘ghost village’, and so they abandoned it to its fate. However, in the 1960s the first foreign artists arrived in the village and gradually breathed new life into the place. Bussana Vecchia is now a lovely little artists’ village with a variety of art galleries, restaurants and shops selling handcrafted artifacts. Well worth a visit!
Lovers of Mediterranean flora can visit the magnificent Hanbury Gardens. The Hanbury Gardens were founded by Thomas Hanbury in the 19th century. Today, it is one of the world’s most important botanical gardens. A beautiful collection of special plant varieties, fountains and statues can be found here.
Albenga en Ceriale
Albenga and Ceriale are typical Italian seaside resorts with a long seafront which attracts both young and old, who come for a stroll and a chat at sunset. The water adventure park ‘Aquapark Le Caravelle’ is very close to Ceriale
Liguria is home to pesto, focaccia and ravioli and the olive oil produced in the hills outside Imperia is probably the best in the whole of Italy. You can enjoy excellent food at a very reasonable price in almost all the surrounding towns and villages.
Golf fans will find themselves in their element at the beautifully situated Castellaro golf course.
Visit the ancient principality of Monaco, which is less than an hour’s drive from Piani Cipressa.