Ventimiglia is a city and comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in Liguria
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy, the third smallest of the Italian regions. Its capital is Genoa. It is a popular region with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque little towns, and good food.-Geography:...

, northern Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, in the province of Imperia
Province of Imperia
The Province of Imperia is a mountainous and hilly province, in the Liguria region of Italy, situated between the Maritime Alps to the north and the Ligurian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea to the south...

. It is located 130 km (80.78 mi) southwest of Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 by rail, and 7 km from the French-Italian border, on the Gulf of Genoa
Gulf of Genoa
The Gulf of Genoa is the northernmost part of the Ligurian Sea. The width of the gulf is about 125 km, from the city of Imperia in the west to La Spezia in the east. The largest city on the its coast is Genoa, which has an important port....

, having a small harbour at the mouth of the Roia River, which divides the town into two parts. Ventimiglia's urban area has a population of 55,000.


Ventimiglia is the ancient Albium Intemelium, the capital of the Intemelii, a Ligurian tribe which long resisted the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, until in 115 BC it was forced to submit to Marcus Aemilius Scaurus. In 69 the city was sacked by the army of Otho
Otho , was Roman Emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the four emperors.- Birth and lineage :...

 and Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

 but recovered to remain prosperous into the fifth century, surrounded by walls with cylindrical towers built at each change of direction.

In the Gothic Wars it was besieged by the Byzantines and the Goths, and later suffered from the raids of Rothari
Rothari , of the house of Arodus, was king of the Lombards from 636 to 652; previously he had been duke of Brescia. He succeeded Arioald, who was an Arian like himself, and was one of the most energetic of Lombard kings...

, King of the Lombards, but flourished again under Rodoald
Rodoald was a Lombard king of Italy, who succeeded his father Rothari on the throne in 652. He was said to be lecherous and he was assassinated after a reign of just six months in 653 by the husband of one of his lovers. Aripert, a rival claimant was elected with the support of the Catholic...

. After the fall of Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

's empire, Berengar II of Italy
Berengar II of Italy
Berengar of Ivrea , sometimes also referred to as Berengar II of Italy, was Margrave of Ivrea and usurper King of Italy from 950 until his deposition in 961, the last before Italy's incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire...

 made his son Conrad
Conrad of Ivrea
Conrad Cono was the Margrave of Ivrea from 970 to his death. He was the third son of Berengar II of Italy and Willa of Tuscany. His elder brothers were Adalbert and Guy, both of whom ruled the march before him...

 first Count of Ventimiglia. In the tenth century it was attacked by the Saracens of Frassinetto
Frassinetto is a comune in the Province of Turin in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 40 km north of Turin. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 287 and an area of 24.7 km²....

. After a period as an independent commune
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

, it was ruled by the Counts of Ventimiglia, which had often to fight with the Republic of Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....


In 1139 the Genoese attacked it by land and sea and forced it to surrender; the count continued to hold the city and countship as a vassal of the victors. The city rebelled more than once against the Genoese and sided with their enemies. In 1271 in a war with Genoa its podestà
Podestà is the name given to certain high officials in many Italian cities, since the later Middle Ages, mainly as Chief magistrate of a city state , but also as a local administrator, the representative of the Emperor.The term derives from the Latin word potestas, meaning power...

Luca Grimaldi
Luca Grimaldi
Luca Grimaldi was a Genoese troubadour and Guelph politician and diplomat. None of his poetic work survives.Jean de Nostredame listed one Luco ou Lucas de Grymaud, natif de Grymauld en Provence as a Provençal troubadour, and speculated that his birthplace may also have been Gennes. However, it is...

 was captured. Ventimiglia was thus temporarily held by the dukes of Savoy (1389 and 1746) and King Ladislaus of Naples (1410). In 1505 it was annexed to the Genoese Republic, sharing its history until the early 19th century.

Main sights

Remains of a Roman theatre (first half of the 2nd century) are visible, and remains of many other buildings have been discovered, among them traces of the ancient city walls, a fine mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

, found in 1852 but at once destroyed, and a number of tombs to the west of the theatre. The ruins of the ancient Albintimilium are situated in the plain of Nervia, c. 5 km to the east of the modern town.

The caves of the Balzi Rossi have proved rich in palaeolithic remains of the Quaternary
The Quaternary Period is the most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the ICS. It follows the Neogene Period, spanning 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present...

 period. Remains of a family of Cro-Magnon
The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

 people were discovered, with several skeletons of men, women and children.

Very important architecturally and historically is the ancient medieval city centre, perched on a hill overlooking the new town.

The Church of San Michele Arcangelo was erected in the 10th century by the Counts of Ventimiglia on the foundations of a pagan temple. Later it was entrusted to the Benedictins of Lirins. In the 11th-12th centuries it was remade in Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 style. In 1628 it lost the aisles after an earthquake. It houses two milestones from the old Via Iulia Augusta, two of which are used as stoups and one supports the crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

's vault.

The present Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 Cathedral, with an 11th-century baptistery, is built on the ruins of an earlier Lombard church, and this again on a Roman building, possibly a temple.

The municipal library has the second largest collection of manuscripts and books written during the 17th century in Italy (the biggest collection is in Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...


The Giardini Botanici Hanbury
Giardini Botanici Hanbury
The Giardini Botanici Hanbury , also known as Villa Hanbury, are major botanical gardens operated by the University of Genoa. They are located at Corso Montecarlo 43, Mortola Inferiore, several km west of Ventimiglia, Italy, and are open daily...

(Hanbury Botanical Gardens), surrounding the splendid villa of Sir Thomas Hanbury, La Mortola, are the biggest in Italy and among the finest in Europe, boasting many varieties of tropical and sub-tropical species that thrive in this mild climate.

Near to Ventimiglia are the Genoese fortresses of Castel d'Appio, Forte San Paolo and Fortezza dell'Annunziata.


Ventimiglia is a popular destination during the summer for tourists spending their vacation along the French Riviera
French Riviera
The Côte d'Azur, pronounced , often known in English as the French Riviera , is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco...

. Particularly popular all year with visitors from France is the Friday street market, which takes place along the seafront of the new town, and is a cause of major traffic congestion.


It is located on the Via Aurelia
Via Aurelia
The Via Aurelia was a Roman road in Italy constructed around the year 241 BC. The project was undertaken by C. Aurelius Cotta, who at that time was censor...

 Provincial Road, and has a gate on the A10 Motorway. It has two railway stations, the main station
Ventimiglia railway station
Ventimiglia railway station is the main station of the Italian city of Ventimiglia. It is at the end of three rail routes: the Genoa–Ventimiglia line, the Cuneo–Ventimiglia line and the Marseille–Ventimiglia line. It plays an important role not only in rail transport in Liguria, but also in Italy...

 on the line from Genoa to France and one on the line to Cuneo
Cuneo is a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, the capital of the province of Cuneo, the third largest of Italy’s provinces by area...


Twin towns - Sister cities

Ventimiglia is twinned with: Piazza Armerina
Piazza Armerina
Piazza Armerina is an Italian comune in the province of Enna of the autonomous island region of Sicily.-History:...

, Sicily

External links

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