Sanremo is a city located on the Mediterranean coast of western Liguria, northwestern Italy, close to the French border.
Originally, Sanremo was a Roman settlement called Matutia or Villa Matutiana. Then, in the Early Middle Ages, it expanded when the population moved to the high grounds where the village of La Pigna was built to protect the town from Saracen raids. The name of the city is a phonetic contraction of Sant’Eremo di San Romolo, which refers to Romulus of Genoa, the successor to Syrus of Genoa
In 1297 Sanremo was under the Doria and De Mari families. It became a free town in the second half of the 15th century and remained independent from the Republic of Genoa. In 1753, after 20 years of fierce conflicts, it rose against Genoese hegemonic attempts. It was in that period that the Republic of Genoa built the fortress of Santa Tecla, situated on the beach near the port, not really to defend the city harbour but rather to intimidate the rebellious population, with its artillery. The fortress was used as a prison until 2002 and it is now being transformed into a museum.
From the middle of the 18th century the town grew rapidly, partly due to the development of tourism, which saw the construction of the first grand hotels and the extension of the town along the coast. Empress “Sissi” of Austria, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia used to regularly spend vacations in Sanremo. The Swedish chemist, Alfred Nobel, also made it his permanent home.
After the First World War, Sanremo was the venue of the international conference which consolidated the division of the Ottoman Empire. The “Sanremo Conference”, which was held from 19 to 26 April 1920, was attended by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I – represented by the prime ministers of Britain, France, Italy and Japan – is recognized as a crucial result for the administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East, with particular regard to the Palestine mandate. Its decisions were embodied in the Treaty of Sèvres.
During the sixties Sanremo was the undisputed destination for international celebrities of film and music. Nowadays, Sanremo is a world-renowned tourist destination famous for its climate and attractive seacoast setting on the northwestern Italian Riviera. The city is also known as the City of Flowers, la Città dei Fiori, flowers being an important aspect of the city’s economy for decades now. It also hosts numerous renowned cultural and sport events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival and the Milan-Sanremo cycling classic.
It hosts the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, the most prestigious and widely-acclaimed independent organization in the field of training on international humanitarian law and refugee law.