This is going to be a short post.

Sanremo is a city on the west coast of Italy, in the province of Liguria. It is the capital of the Riviera dei Fiori or Riviera of Flowers.

Its casino also makes it a sort of Italian version of Monte Carlo.  This large building in Art Nouveau style, was built in 1905, when Italy started to be influenced by nearby casinos on the French Riviera, and decided to legalize hazard gambling.

Sanremo is home to the famous annual music festival Festival della canzone italiana (Festival of Italian Song), which is the Italian nomination for the Eurosong contest.

From the middle of the 18th century the town grew rapidly, in part due to the development of tourism, which saw the first grand hotels built and the town extended along the coast. The Empress “Sissi” of Austria, Empress Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia vacationed in Sanremo. This is the reason why Sanremo has the orthodox russian styled church. Unfortunately, I saw it only from the distance.

The Russian Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna spent winters here to improve her failing health. After her first visit, many Russian nobles (including members of the Tsar’s family) followed her example and began spending their winters in Sanremo. As a result of the arrival of Russian nobility in the area, the tsarina wished to have a Russian church built there. In the crypt beneath the church, the last king of Montenegro, Nicholas I, is buried with his wife Milena.

No visit to Sanremo is complete without a stroll through the labyrinth of the old town with its narrow, cobblestoned, often vaulted alleyways – naturally for pedestrians only. The old town of San Remo was founded around the 11th century and was called Pigna because of the design of its roads and fortifications, which resemble pinecones. I was not prepared to find the walk through the narrow streets up the steep slope – as I spent most of my dedicated time to Sanremo at the emergency. How?

Let’s start from the beginning.

Upon our arrival in this city, we decided to stroll down the alleys to visit the historical center. We took the steps in Via Saccheri. How ironic. I was noticing the medieval houses and small romantic shops, saying out loud that my first impression of this city is great.

I didn’t manage to finish my sentence when I fell down the last stair. My knees hurt a lot but I picked myself up quickly. It was not the first time I fell. I continued to walk. I felt good again. I started to notice the arches – the so-called set of Saint Stephen arches that provided access to the Pigna following the road coming from the sea. 

Just three streets later, I decided to sit down. Something was telling me things are not good. I checked my knee again. It was totally in blood as the skin was hanging over it. I knew instantly – this will need stitches. Shit.

We decided to go back to the hotel. I managed to get some moments of Sanremo on my way back. Knowing somehow that this will be it. After all, I am going to the emergency and it is Sunday evening. The perfect timing.

Arriving back to the hotel, starts the scene. It is early March. There are no tourists. The receptionist is an older grandpa from Ukraine, with bad Italian skills and no English. He looked exactly like the guy with a shovel from Home Alone.

He was in front of the hotel, on the balcony, smoking in a pure cold wind. I approached him and explained in Italian I had fallen. He let us in and just disappeared into some back room. After a while, I decided to sit down on a sofa. The light was still off so I turn on the light just to have some light in the room to see if I will survive the shovel guy.

Finally, he came back with some disinfectant. I explained again that this is actually more serious and I will need to go to the emergency if he could help me with that His Italian was bad, so we started to speak in ukrainian/ croatian.

He understood to call the ambulance. Well, that was a challenge as well as he should have not explained what kind of emergency it is, keeping on repeating the address of the hotel.

While waiting for the ambulance, he started to explain to me I should never say that I fell in his hotel. I was shocked, I never said that I will. I fell in the city center. Why would I say something like that?

But the shovel guy continued explaining himself, walking worried left and right. I was sitting on a sofa, with my hurt knee, listening to his complaints about Italian bureaucracy and worries.

At the emergency, they gave me 4 stitches after 4 hours of waiting. Perhaps the shovel guy was right about Italy and its system.

And this is all I saw about Sanremo. This can’t be it. It just can not be it.

The next day I passed the Via fucking saccheri again. I tried to see some more of the city but the stitches were cruel. They were not elastic and I was afraid I will end up at the emergency room again, waiting for hours with awkward people.

Weirdest city visit ever. 😦

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