If many of my childhood souvenirs are in Bordighera where my mum's parents live, my later ones come from Ventimiglia where my other grandmother lives. As I've studied university quite far from my hometown, grandma's home was my camp base, it was were I came back on the weenkends, holidays, summer, enjoying free time in Ventimiglia and its surroundings.
Ventimiglia is divided by the river Roia and you can walk from one part to the other crossing a bridge over the river. One Part, more ancient is called Marina San Giuseppe, it's also the neighbourhood who's more linked to the sea and fishermen, even if all the town lie on the seaside. Totally the sea walk in Ventimiglia is around 3,5 km and when the weather is not too warm it's a real pleasure to walk there, looking at the sea, enjoying a delicious ice cream or a granita (Italian slush) that you can buy at the La Granita on the side walk, or maybe have a rest at one of the cafés you have on the walk for a drink, a snack.
If you are in Ventimiglia during summer, you'll certainly enjoy your walk even more because while walking you can choose the spot you like the most to lie on the beach and relax. A super nice thing in Ventimiglia is that it's full of free beaches, when I’m visiting my parents during summer it takes a minute to get out of the house, have a morning coffee at the coffee place around the corner, walk up to the beach with only my towel under the arm a book, and my suncream and spend a relaxing morning enjoying the sun and the warm water before going back home for lunch. Sometime, I go further up to the end of the walk, follow a small path in the cliffs, not always easy to find, that will leads to my favourite beach of Ventimiglia, the only one with sand, the Calandre, also known as the surfer's beach.
As many others Ligurian towns, is it during spring and summer that here you have the main part of activities, even if winters are not cold and temperatures are mild, most of cafés, bars, events are happening during the warmest season. The biggest event is certainly the Agosto Medioevale (Middle ages august) which is a re-enactment of a chosen event happened in Ventimiglia during the middle ages. So, from the 25th of July until the 7th of August the town of Ventimiglia is divided in 6 neighbourhoods, and each one is busy with Re-enactments of historical legends in beautiful ancient clothes up in the piazzas of the upper city, you can do local products and wines tasting routes, watch the typical Ligurian's boat race, find nice objects in the craft markets, visiting taverns, watch animations along the carruggi (narrow streets of Ligurian villages) and having guided tours and exhibitions. It's the perfect time to visit the Old Ventimiglia because more places like some churches which are closed in the other months of the year will be opened to the public during festivities.
However, something you will always find here is the Friday market. Every Friday from early morning to 4pm you have a really big market famous for it’s leather bags, clothes accessories. Now more than before, maybe because I’m leaving abroad every time I come home it’s a must, I go at least once at the Friday market, usually early in the morning to avoid the crowd and sometimes I can’t resist and I’ll buy something pretty that I really do not need, but makes me feel happy.
The probably only think you won't find at this market is food, because as other many Italian town we have the everyday covered marked Mercato Coperto, which in Ventimiglia is near the city hall place, and it's open everyday where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, focaccia, pizza, pasta, salami, fish and also plants and flowers.
If you are in love with nature, magical and exotic places, not far from the city you have one of the most beautiful and characteristic botanical gardens in Italy, the Hanbury's Gardens. Spring is my favourite season to visit it because most of the plants will have flowers given a colourful show for the eyes and perfumed scents that will go with it. however, the garden is just spectacular at every time of the year.
If you are hungry there are some nice places where to have lunch or dinner with a nice pizza or something else. On the sea walk you'll find La Grotta, really well known for its pizzas, but always crowded, next to it you have Il Gattopardo, another restaurant where the pizza is really good and really light. If you are in Ventimiglia alta you can go to the Pizzeria Porta Nizza, where you'll find pizza, seafood and nice local wines.
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