The origin of Sanremo is obscure and is lost between history and legend. The town was originally known as Matuzia, although it is not clear whether this was in honour of the goddess Dea Matuta, patron saint of the sea, or of the Roman patrician Caio Matuzio, had built a luxurious villa there. In fact, already during the time of the Roman Empire, the beauties and favourable climate of this land were noted. It has always been considered one of the most important towns on the Riviera dei Fiori or Riviera of the flowers, as it is known. The town is situated in the gulf between Capo Verde and Capo Nero. It is protected behind by a mountain range which shelters it from the northerly winds and enjoys a mild climate. Temperatures drop to a minimum of 10°C in winter and rise to a maximum of 30° in summer, with an average of 3,000 hours of sunshine which means 300 sunny days in a year. It is exactly such a climate which has permitted the development of flora famous all over the world. It is no surprise, therefore, that since the sixteenth century it has been one of the most loved and exclusive tourist resorts in the Mediterranean. Its regular visitors included the Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna, Frederick III of Russia and Alfred Nobel.
At the end of the last century the town bloomed with elegant villas, scented gardens and sumptuous hotels which still characterise the town today with their suggestive Art Nouveau architecture. A splendid example of the architectural style of San Remo is the famous Casino Municipale, built by Eugenio Ferret in Art Nouveau style. The old part of the town, Pigna, originally a medieval borough, is rich in alleys and houses which date back to the 13th century. Don't miss the 13th -14th centuryCollegiata di San Siro, a Romanesque-Gothic complex. Its portal boasts a pointed arch, mullioned window and central rose-window and inside there are paintings and sculptures of the 16th century. Also of interest is the adjacent medieval Baptistery, remodelled during the Baroque period; the Russian-Orthodox church with its many brightly-coloured cupolas; and the Museo Archeologico in the seventeenth-century Palazzo Borea.
The town's most important event is without doubt the historic Italian Song Festival, which has become one of the most typical events in the whole of Italy. All the same, there are many other events, such as the Premio Tenco for songwriting and the festival Sanremo Jazz e Blues, while the flower festival, Sanremo in fiore, is dedicated to one of the town's symbols. Not to be forgotten, the most characteristic sporting events include the car rally and the celebrated cycle race Milano-Sanremo.