Sanremo poster 1920 mouse pad
It was founded in Roman times and is now best known as a tourist destination on the Italian Riviera and the host of cultural events such as the Sanremo Music Festival and the Milan-Sanremo cycling classic arrival. It is widely accepted as the origin of the Five-card stud variant, Telesina. The name of the city is a phonetic contraction of Sant'Eremo di San Romolo, which refers to Romulus of Genoa, the successor to Syrus of Genoa. In Ligurian his name is San Rœmu. The spelling San Remo is on all ancient maps of Liguria, the ancient Republic of Genoa, Italy in the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of Italy. It was used in 1924 in official documents during Fascism. Once the Roman settlement of Matutia'or Villa Matutiana, Sanremo expanded in the Early Middle Ages when the population moved to the high grounds and built a castle and the walled village of La Pigna to protect the town from Saracen raids. At first subjected to the countship of Ventimiglia, it later passed under the dominion of the Genoese bishops, who in 1297 sold it to the Doria and De Mari families. It became a free town in the second half of the 15th century and spread on the Pigna hill and at Saint Syrus Cathedral. The almost perfectly preserved old village remains. Sanremo remained independent from Genoa for a long time, and in 1753, after 20 years of fierce conflicts, it rose against the hegemonical attempts of the Genoese Republic. At that time that the latter built the fortress of Santa Tecla situated on the beach near the port. The fortress was used as a prison until 2002, and is now being transformed into a museum. After the French domination and the Savoy restoration (1814), Sanremo was annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The town saw a rapid growth since the middle 18th century with the development of tourism: the first Grand Hotels were built and the town extended along the coast. Notable people such as the Empress Elisabeth of Austria "Sissi", Czar Nicholas II of Russia, Alfred Nobel, Italo Calvino and the Empress Maria Alexandrovna stayed here. Sanremo enjoys special weather conditions throughout the year due to its vicinity to the Mediterranean Sea and the presence of Maritime Alps right behind the town, Monte Bignone, the highest peak, being some 1,300 m above the sea level. So the town shows a climate that is often described as one of 'perpetual spring', with warm days and chilly nights and little variation of temperature around the year. These conditions make Sanremo one of the most attractive tourist destinations on the Italian Riviera. There are plenty of tourist attractions open year-round and it has numerous and well-equipped sports facilities, such as a golf course and a riding ground. There are two tourist harbours, Porto Vecchio and the modern Porto Sole. Many boutiques and local shops are in the town centre. The colourful market, held on Tuesday and Saturday mornings in Piazza Eroi Sanremesi, is notable among the people living in the Italian and French Rivieras. The Municipal Casino, built in 1905, is an example of liberty style building. The Ariston Theatre offer annual series of concerts, operas and theater plays. The Symphony Orchestra is one of twelve symphony orchestras recognized by the state of Italy and it performs some 120 concerts throughout the year, most in the Municipal Casino's Opera Theater. Besides tourism, the city is active in the production of Extra Virgin olive oil, whose regional "designation of origin" is protected (D.O.P., Denominazione di Origine Protetta) and makes it one of the main production activities in western Liguria and in particular within the province of Imperia. Sanremo is known as the City of Flowers (la Cittá dei Fiori), this being another important aspect of the economy of the city. The nearby towns of Arma di Taggia, Bordighera and Ospedaletti are also involved in the cultivation of flowers for the international flower market of Sanremo. The city is connected to Genoa and to Ventimiglia, the border city with France, by the A10 motorway, whose last part is also known as the Autostrada dei Fiori ("Freeway of Flowers"). It has a large number of elevated sections with viaducts and tunnels and gives a panoramic view of the coast. The A10 Autostrada joins the French A8 autoroute at the border between Ventimiglia and Menton. Together these national routes are part of the European route E80. Both the French and Italian motorways are toll roads. The closest airport to Sanremo is in France, the Côte d'Azur International Airport airport in Nice, 75 minutes away by car or train. The railway also passes through the city and connects it to the other Ligurian cities and to Nice, Milan, Turin and Rome. The railway line used to be right on the coast, very close to the sea, allowing travelers to admire the beauty of it. The line has been moved further north and underground, speeding trains up, with the main station relocated next to the City Hall. Today an ongoing project, carried by Area 24, is refurbishing the old area once occupied by the railway and converting it into a biking route and a pedestrian area. Other roads of importance are the SS1, the "Aurelia Bis", which connects Sanremo to Taggia. This is a non-tolled bypass route. The coast road is the via Aurelia or SS1 and follows the route of a Roman road. This can be heavily congested when it passes through towns as it is only one lane in either direction for most of way around Sanremo. The Ariston Theater hosts the celebre annual Sanremo Music Festival, a very popular song contest held in the city since 1951. This festival inspired the Eurovision Song Contest, which started in 1956, and for years the Sanremo festival selected the Italian entry. The internationally notable song "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu", also known as "Volare", was performed at this festival for the first time by Domenico Modugno in 1958. The festival is so popular amongst Italians that it is often referred to simply as "Il Festival" (The Festival). Other events include the Tenco Prize (autumn), a song contest for authors dedicated to the memory of Luigi Tenco; the Flowers Parade in January/February in which every city of the Italian Riviera presents an original composition of flowers displayed on a Carnival/Mardi-Gras style moving car; and the summer Firework International Contest in the second week of July. The Rallye Sanremo is a rally competition that was part of the FIA World Rally Championship from 1973 to 2003. It was replaced by Rally d'Italia Sardegna on the island of Sardinia, in hosting the Italian round of the WRC. Formerly a mixed surface event (tarmac and gravel), the rally has later been an all-tarmac event and takes place around the mountains. Sanremo is the finish of the classic Milan-Sanremo cycle race (294 km) of the UCI ProTour, one of the five 'Monuments' of the cycling season. Milan-Sanremo is traditionally held in March, and is one of the first major fixtures on the cycling season. The U.S. Sanremese Calcio football club is based in Sanremo, playing in Serie C2/A. The culinary specialities of Sanremo and environs include Sardenara, Focaccia, Focaccia alle Cipolle, Torta Verde, Farinata and Tallesca olives. The Venerable Giorgio Baldassarre Oppezzi, a monk who died in 1525, and whose body was later discovered to be incorrupt, is buried here in the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. Maria Alexandrovna, consort of Alexander II of Russia, spent the winter of 1874 in Sanremo and as a gift to the city she donated the palms along the seaside walk of Corso Imperatrice (Empress Avenue). Italian-American mobster friend of Jimmy Burke, "Remo", whose name was derived from the city. Alfred Nobel bought a villa in Sanremo in 1891 and died there in 1896. Since 2002 it has housed a permanent exhibit on the most important discoveries of the 19th century including the research interests of Nobel himself. Sanremo continues to maintain its ties with Nobel, long after his death. Each 10 December large quantities of flowers sent by the province of Imperia, the city of Sanremo and the Board for Tourist Promotion of the Riviera dei fiori adorn the annual Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet in Stockholm. Italian writer Italo Calvino spent his youth in Sanremo and many of his novels, including Il Barone Rampante are reminiscent of his attachment to the city. Edward Lear, artist, illustrator and writer known for his nonsense poetry and limericks, lived and died in Sanremo. His tombstone is in the Foce Cemetery. The Italian actor and comedian Carlo Dapporto was born in Sanremo and became a household name in post-war Italy. The Sicilian playwright and Nobel Prize winner Luigi Pirandello lived in Sanremo in 1933-34 and was appointed artistic director of the Casino. The writer Tobias Smollett stayed a few days in Sanremo in 1765 and described it thus: "St. Remo is a pretty considerable town, well-built upon the declivity of a gently rolling hill...There is very little plain ground in this neighbourhood; but the hills are covered with oranges, lemons, pomegranates and olives....The women of St. Remo are much more handsome and better tempered than those of Provence." Travels through France and Italy (1766) Italian director and cinematographer Mario Bava was born in Sanremo in 1914. Italian-born sculptor Giuseppe Moretti lived in Sanremo in his final years and died here in February 1935. Moretti designed the world's largest cast iron statue, of the Roman god Vulcan (56 ft or 17 m), which stands atop Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama (USA). The statue is the symbol of the city. Mehmed VI, the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, died in Sanremo on May 16, 1926. Juan Manuel Fangio won his first European Grand Prix in Sanremo-Ospedaletti in 1949. The Sanremo conference, 19–26 April 1920, of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council determined the allocation of Class "A" League of Nations mandates for administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East by the victorious powers. The most notable of these was the British Mandate of Palestine. Sanremo is the home of International Institute of Humanitarian Law, the most notable institute in courses about refugees and international humanitarian law. San Remo hosts an annual poker tournament as part of the European Poker Tour.