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 public gardens with ceramic tiles with the autograph of the many celebrities, like the American writer Hemingway, who attended the 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
It was the owner of coffee, at the beginning of the fifties, who thought of placing on the wall of the gardens of Piazza Libertà of the ceramic tiles with the names of the famous people who attended the restaurant. Thus was born the famous Muretto, on which you can see autographs of art, culture and entertainment characters.
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.
You can admire the typically Ligurian soul of Alassio in the long parallel to the sea, close between five-seventeenth-century houses and modern shops: Via XX September, from all known as the “Budello”, shopping center of Alassio. From the Budello the exits, strict alleys leading to the waterfront.
The Budello is perfect for shopping, to eat something in the many shops or simply to take a walk 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.
Of great interest is the excursion to the island Gallinara, reachable by boat from Alassio, but where mooring is not allowed. Protected as a regional nature reserve, it is covered by lush Mediterranean vegetation, and has considerable naturalistic-environmental aspects: the real seagulls live on the island and over 200 floristic species grow.
Its high and cliff coasts, modeled by erosion, hide marine caves.
Caffè Balzola and the Baci di Alassio
The Baci di Alassio are biscuits filled with chocolate and composed of 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 Torrione Saraceno is also called “della Coscia” because it was built from Genoa, in the 16th century, close to the Borgo Coscia, in order to defend the city by pirates. The Tower of Vignasco, fifteenth-century, is located in an elevated position and was built by Aleramo del Monferrato. Conical form, it is also depicted on the citizen coat of arms. Beautiful the “crown” that adorns the summit.
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 at the east side.
However, this long beach is not very deep, especially in the central section of the city: the rows of sunbeds, in private beaches are quite 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 private beaches, 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
In Alassio the places to sleep are not lacking for sure. Here there is a great hotel offer, many B & Bs, landlords, holiday homes and apartments for tourists.
Most hotels are middle level, but there are also several luxury hotels with impeccable services.
More difficult instead find cheap hotels, especially in summer and during the holidays. To find the best low-cost solutions it is better to plan 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.