Aperitivo is offered everywhere you go in San Remo, one of the largest cities on the Italian Riviera. I personally love to sit on the boardwalk in the early evening and enjoy an aperitivo by the sea. Of all the Riviera towns, this one has the most retro 60s Italian vibe. You almost expect Gina Lollobrigida to sit beside you at the bar. There is much to explore and enjoy in this thriving city.
Alassio beach by Martina Rathgens
When I think of San Remo I can’t help but think of the beach scene in the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley. Rumor has is that the scenes were not actually filmed there, but I still love the idea that they were.
San Remo is a place to spend a few days exploring. The classic architecture dating from the beginning of the twentieth century and checkerboard design of the boardwalk make it distinctive and fun to explore. The boardwalk is expansive and runs for several kilometers along the shore. Surrey bikes and beach bicycles are available to rent, and a great way to see more of the city.
Unlike most Riviera towns, San Remo is not seasonal; it boasts a year-round population. If you like to gamble, San Remo has a casino which holds tournaments throughout the year. The famous San Remo Music Festival fills the town with thousands of people in February. It’s one of the largest music festivals in Europe, which ensures that the wide streets of the town are also a concerto of traffic and pedestrians. Since the festival began in 1951, the most famous Italian songs are premiered here annually. It’s become a beloved cultural event and the party atmosphere is something all Italians look forward to experiencing. It’s certainly one of the reasons why you can find so many great bars and hotels to enjoy aperitivo.
Bajardo by Martina Rathgens
The beaches in San Remo are some of the biggest on the Riviera, with wide expanses of sand. Seemingly endless choices of beach clubs and classy hotels line the coast. Each club has its own look, but the retro Riviera vibe is a common thread among all the clubs.
Known as the city of flowers, the city is the epicenter of the floral industry in Italy. Viewing the city from the autostrada, you will see the many greenhouses perched on the cascading terraces, as proof that most of the flowers of Italy are grown here.
San Remo is the epicenter for vintage posters depicting the Riviera life. The stylized posters are still very popular for tourists and collectors alike.
San Remo. Casino
Fernet-Branca is one of my favorite Italian Amaro. Amaro is a syrupy digestive liqueur specific to Italy. There are a number of regional versions infused with local herbs and spices. You will always find an amazing selection of Amaro on a side table at your favorite local restaurant on the Riviera. Fernet has an acquired bitter taste, much like espresso or Campari, but it’s something that warms the stomach and it is as unique as it is delicious. I enjoy sipping it after dinner with a lone ice cube, but I find that adding it to a mixed drink, such as this one, makes a savory and interesting cocktail.
2 ounces Campari
¼ ounce Cynar (an artichoke-infused liqueur)
¼ ounce Fernet-Branca
1 ounce white vermouth
15 drops orange bitters
3 orange twists
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the Campari, Cynar, Fernet, vermouth, and bitters. Stir until well-chilled, and strain into a highball glass. Squeeze 2 orange peels to release essential oil into the cocktail, and garnish with the remaining orange peel.
HERB MARINATED OLIVES
¼ cup olive oil
4 cups mixed olives
3 whole cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
“Cocktail Italiano” by Annette Joseph