Alassio is one of the most popular seaside towns in western Liguria and is considered the queen of the Riviera delle Palme, the coast of the province of Savona. It rises exactly between Capo Santa Croce and Capo Mele.
In addition to “Miss Muretto”, the famous beauty contest that from 1952 to 2014 gave notoriety to many girls, Alassio is known for the soft and fine sand of its long beach, for its historic center, characterized by a long avenue dotted with public places perfect for young people and shops for unbridled shopping.
But Alassio is also the “city of the Muretto”, conceived in the 1930s by Mario Berrino, who decided to embellish the wall of the public gardens with ceramic tiles that bore the autograph of the many celebrities, such as the American writer Hemingway, who frequented area.
According to legend, the name derives from Adelasia, daughter of Emperor Otto I of Saxony, who settled here with her beloved Aleramo, founding the city of Alaxia, then Alassio.
In reality, its origin dates back to the 6th-7th centuries, a seaside village that became the property of Albenga from the beginning of 1300, and which, now as then, is crossed by the Via Aurelia.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, British tourists chose it as their favorite destination, building splendid villas with gardens, many of which are now transformed into hotels of exquisite Art Nouveau style.
What to see in Alassio
Alassio is not a town rich in historical monuments of particular importance. However it is a lively city, full of pleasant views and many curiosities. To explore it at its best, the ideal is to take a leisurely walk.
Muretto di Alassio
At the corner of via Dante and via Cavour, Caffè Roma has been a symbol of the tourist Alassio since the 1930s. It was the then owner of the café, at the beginning of the fifties, who thought of placing ceramic tiles on the wall of the gardens of Piazza Libertà with the names of the famous people who frequented the place. Thus was born the famous wall, on which there are autographs of personalities of art, culture and entertainment.
The first tile of the wall was placed in 1951 by the American writer Ernest Hemingway. Those of the musical group of the Quartetto Cetra followed and then many others. Today there are about 500 tiles with the signatures of famous people.
In 1978 a bronze statue depicting two lovers by the sculptor Eros Pellini was placed on the wall. Today probably the two lovers of the Muretto di Alassio are the symbol and the most photographed monument of the city.
The typically Ligurian character of Alassio is found intact in the long alleyway parallel to the sea, squeezed between sixteenth-seventeenth-century houses and modern shops: via XX Settembre, known by all as the “budello”, center of commercial activity. The exits branch off from the gut, narrow alleys leading to the seafront.
The Budello is perfect for shopping, to eat something in the many shops that overlook it or simply to take a stroll and meet interesting people.
The Gardens of Villa della Pergola
Villa della Pergola is a magnificent historic residence just a few minutes from the center of Alassio. Today the villa is a luxury hotel Relais et Châteaux immersed in a lush and wonderful botanical garden.
To visit the villa you must be a guest of the hotel or the starred restaurant inside. But during the summer the garden is open to the public and can be fully visited.
The garden boasts a renowned collection of wisteria and the most important collection of agapanthus in Europe. During the visit you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city and the sea, where the Gallinara island dominates.
Finally, of great interest is the excursion to the Gallinara island, reachable by boat from Alassio, but where mooring is not allowed. Protected as a regional nature reserve, it is covered by luxuriant Mediterranean vegetation, and has notable naturalistic-environmental aspects: the herring gulls live and nest on the island and over 200 floristic species grow.
Its high and rugged coasts, shaped by erosion, hide sea caves.
Caffè Balzola and the baci di Alassio
The Baci di Alassio are biscuits filled with chocolate and composed of Piedmontese hazelnuts, born around 1910. They were probably created by Rinaldo Balzola, pastry chef of the Savoy, who managed the famous Caffè Balzola, a historic place in Italy.
Worth a visit and of course a taste!
The Towers of Alassio
The Towers The Saracen Tower is also called “della Coscia” because it was built by Genoa, in the 16th century, close to Borgo Coscia, in order to defend the city from pirates. The 15th-century Torre di Vegliasco is located in an elevated position and was built by Aleramo del Monferrato. Conical in shape, it is also depicted on the city coat of arms. The “crown” that adorns the top is beautiful.
The beach of Alassio is a 4 km long stretch of sand that starts from the border with nearby Laigueglia, to the west, and almost reaches the port, which is located in the Levante.
This long beach, however, is not very deep, especially in the central part of the city: the rows of sunbeds in the bathing establishments are rather limited especially when the sea is rough.
The beach here is perfect for families and for inexperienced swimmers because the seabed slopes gently and it is possible to walk several tens of meters before no longer touching with your feet.
In Alassio there are numerous small bathing establishments, many of which have bars. If you are looking for free beaches, however, you will struggle: the largest are located at the east and west ends of the city.
Where to sleep in Alassio
There is no shortage of places to sleep in Alassio. Here there is a large hotel offer, many B & Bs, guest houses, holiday homes and apartments for tourists.
Most of the hotels are mid-range, but there are also several luxury hotels with impeccable services.
On the other hand, it is more difficult to find cheap hotels, especially in summer and during holidays. To find the best low-cost solutions, it’s best to plan your holidays in advance and book your room right away.
How to get to Alassio
Reaching Alassio is very simple.
By car you can get there with the Autostrada dei Fiori, the A10, exiting at Albenga and then taking the Aurelia Bis, or exiting at Andora and along the Aurelia.
The train is just as comfortable. Virtually all trains on the Genoa-Ventimiglia line stop in Alassio and the station is in the city center.
Discover the best Hotels, B & Bs and Apartments in Liguria based on thousands of verified reviews.