The town's name derives from the French word "bordigue" (weir), probably in reference to the artificial lagoon, surrounded by reeds, used since the Old Ages by local fishermen, which was modified into Bordighetta and then, Bordighera. An important climatic and beach resort in the province of Imperia, it is the most Southern town in Liguria, located on the coast of the Italian Ligure di Ponente Riviera, not far from the border with France, at the foot of the Alps Maritimes.
The main centre, called Old City or Bordighera Alta, has an irregular pentagonal shape and is surrounded by late medieval walls, restored in the XVI century, and still features three main gateways: Porta Soprana or of La Maddalena opened in 1780, Porta Sottana of 1470 and Porta del Capo. The centre is crossed by two main roads: Via Lunga (the Long Street) and Via Dritta (the Straight Street) and a dense network of narrow streets and small squares.
The origins of the town date from the V century B.C. and in the nearby traces of the pre-Roman villages have been found: one in the area of Montenero, the other in Sapergo. The ancient Ligurian inhabitants, devoted to agriculture and farming, settled on the hilltops for defensive reasons. The discovery of an Imperial tomb evidences the presence in the area of the Romans during the times of their Empire. Bordighera is particularly linked to the figure of Sant'Ampelio, a cleric who planted here date trees from the Thebaid in the V century. Perhaps for this reason the city was named Queen of the Palm Trees.
In an official text of Pope Boniface VIII, Burdigheta is mentioned as a small town at the mercy of Ventimiglia. In the second half of the V century, the inhabitants of Borghetto San Nicolò, the present village of Bordighera, decided to fortify the village on the hillside, facing the sea. The town was attacked by the Turks in 1543 along with other towns in Liguria. In 1797 it was annexed to the First French Empire, becoming part of the jurisdiction of the Palme with Sanremo as capital city of the Region. After the annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia, the town passed to the Division of Nice, and finally, with the town of Sanremo, Bordighera was united to the Kingdom 'Italy and became part of the province of Imperia. Site of a famous meeting between Mussolini and Francisco Franco in 1941.
Not to miss:
Museum Bicknell, located in the street that has the same name. It was built in 1888 by Clarence Bicknell, an interesting collection of finds and casts of prehistoric rock engravings of Mount Bego. In the same building finds its seat the International Institute of Ligurian Studies.
The Public Library International, founded in 1880, is currently located in a Victorian building and houses ancient and important volumes.
The Lowe gardens and the Moreno grounds appreciated by Monet.
La Via Romana, that winds in the shade of plane trees, amidst elegant buildings at the foot of the hill, following the path of the ancient Via Julia Augusta.
The Pallanca garden, built by the descendants of Bartholomew Pallanca on a rocky slope, which houses 3200 different species of plants, the oldest, originally from Chile, has three hundred years.
The approximately two kilometers long waterfront Argentina, appreciated and opened by Evita Peron in 1947, is adorned with colorful gardens and a large decorative bandstand.
Villa Margherita, built in 1914, which was the residence of Queen Margherita of Savoy.
The Palace of the park is a historical site, seat of the International Exhibition of Humor. It is surrounded by a beautiful botanic garden that is the home of various species.
The Town Hall designed by the French architect Garnier, preserves inside important paintings of Italian and foreign artists of the XIX and XX century.
The Anglican church, the Waldensian church.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception or Holy Land, designed by the architect Garnier, decorated by French artists and inside keeps some very valuable paintings.
The Oratory of St. Bartholomew, built in the main centre in the XV century, preserves inside a wooden statue of St. Augustine in 1865 by the artist Vignola.
The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena.