Principality for many centuries, Imperia is a charming coastal town in Liguria, formed in 1923 by the union of two towns separated by the Impero river: Oneglia and Porto Maurizio.

Oneglia, which was never fortified, experienced many sieges over the centuries. Having nevertheless an active port, its commercial exchanges with Marseille are important, especially in the 18th century with the sale of olive oil used in the composition of the famous Marseille soap.

The links with France do not stop there: sacked then abandoned in 1792 by the French general Anselme, Oneglia remains under an on-off French domination until 1805. After the Napoleonic period, the city is annexed to Piedmont then attached in the Kingdom of Italy.

Porto Maurizio, which occupies the promontory overlooking the sea, is made up of a tangle of pedestrian streets.

The many typically Ligurian-style arches that overlook the streets were built to reinforce the buildings but also served in other times as escape ways for the inhabitants in case of danger.

The trompe-l’oeil beautifully decorate some facades, according to a traditional Italian art.

After the French Revolution and the period under the Republic of Genoa, the walls of Porto Maurizio, which had become useless, were almost completely demolished.

On the newly cleared esplanade the Basilica of San Maurizio was built. The building, in neoclassical style, is the largest church in Liguria.

Started in 1781 on a project by the architect Gaetano Cantoni, the basilica was consecrated in 1838 and reflects the splendor and wealth of Porto Maurizio.

August 19, 2022