The French Riviera offers more than Nice, Cannes or Monaco. One of the unknown beauty is Ventimiglia, Italy.
The only thing that I knew about this place it was that it is the last Italian city on the border with France on the northwestern Italian coast.
For this Valentine’s day my boyfriend gave me one of the most awesome presents, he gave me 3 days on the Côte d’Azur (it is French and the literal translation is “Coast of Azure”), often known in English as the French Riviera. It is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also includes the state of Monaco. There is no official boundary, but it is usually considered to extend from the Italian border (Italian Riviera).
Nice, Cannes and Monaco are the most famous cities/state (Principality of Monaco or just Monaco is big as a city but is a microstate) but there is so much more to see in this area than these cities!
The French Riviera is really expensive, this is why we opted to sleep in Ventimiglia.
I am really grateful that my boyfriend insisted to sleep in this city because it is a typical Italian beauty!
Ventimiglia is the ancient Albium Intemelium, the capital of the Intemelii, a Ligurian tribe which long resisted the Romans, Until in 115 BC it was forced to submit to Marcus Aemelius Scaurus. Albintimilium became a municipium in 89 BC. You will find the remains of a Roman theatre.
This city climbs up a hill that overlooks the sea. Of course today the city has grown, so it can’t stay on the hill. This is way the old part of the city ( the most beautiful part) is called Ventimiglia Alta ( alta in Italian means tall) and the new part of the city is called Ventimiglia bassa ( short).
If you ever find yourself nearby Ventimiglia, please, don’t miss Ventimiglia Alta! I’ve felt inlove with this place. The architecture of the houses and buildings have the same style of Cinque Terre, but it is less touristy, so more typical and real!
Ventimiglia is located in the Liguria region so the typical food that you must taste while you are here is green Pesto and Focaccia!
Focaccia ( they call it fugàssa in the dialect of the region) it is a typical flat soft bread with virgin olive oil and salt. You can taste many different kinds of focaccia but the most typical are the plain ones, the onion ones and my favorite, with green olives!
Omg, only writing about the Focaccia makes me hungry about one!
I’ve tried different places in Ventimiglia, but the best Focaccia that I had was in a small stand located inside the food market. Here you will find fresh veggies and fruit, fresh warm bread and delicious Italian olives! Just around the corner of the food market you will find the fish market. My boyfriend loves fishing, he is an expert and knows by heart all the names of fishes and how to fish them and where you can find them. He told me that it had been since a long time that he saw some fish that were this fresh!
I am a nature lover, I love walking and exploring this is why we’ve decided to visit an amazing natural park located on the southeast French coast : Massif de l’Esterel
The Esterel Massif is located on the west of Cannes. The special thing about this place are the red rocks cliffs that pierce the sky and impose themselves above the blue sea.
The mixture of the colors that you will see here is breathtaking! The red of the rock, the blue sky which is different from the darker blue of the sea, the green of the shrubbery that grows under the mountains and a bit of yellow of the mimosa flowers!
Here I’ve also met some nice wild creatures.
The last day we’ve decided to do something chill so we took the train from Ventimiglia and in only 15 minutes we were in Menton, France. Menton is located on the French Riviera, right on the border with Italy and it’s nicknamed perle de la France (“Pearl of France”).
It boasts a warm micro-climate favourable to lemon, tangerine, and orange groves whence one of the town’s symbols, the lemon. In February around Valentine’s day, Menton hosts the Lemon Festival!
Menton is a really nice city, you can go for a walk by the sea or choose to get lost in all the small and narrow streets in the old part of the town!
Another tiny city that you should visit is Eze . It is one of the gems of the Riviera. Eze is a charming hilltop town with beautiful cobblestone streets.
If you ever decide to walk from Rome to Santiago de Compostela, you will pass by Ventimiglia and Menton!
When I finish my studies I’ve decided to walk the Camino de Santiago. There are many different routes to get there,( Like Via Julia Augusta, an old Roman street that passes by Ventimiglia and Menton,) but I think I will start with the classic one, The French Way ( Camino Francés).