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Bordighera (Italian pronunciation: [bordiˈɡɛːra]; Ligurian: A Bordighea, locally A Burdighea) is a town and comune in the Province of Imperia, Liguria (Italy).

Città di Bordighera
Panorama of Bordighera
Panorama of Bordighera
Coat of arms of Bordighera
Coat of arms
Bordighera is located in Italy
Location of Bordighera in Italy
Coordinates: 43°47′N 07°40′E / 43.783°N 7.667°E / 43.783; 7.667Coordinates: 43°47′N 07°40′E / 43.783°N 7.667°E / 43.783; 7.667
Country Italy
Region Liguria
Province Imperia (IM)
Frazioni Borghetto San Nicolò, Sasso
 • Mayor Giacomo Pallanca
 • Total 10.41 km2 (4.02 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (28 February 2017)
 • Total 10,462
 • Density 1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Bordigotti
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 18012
Dialing code 0184
Patron saint St. Ampelius
Saint day May 14
Website Official website



Bordighera is located at 20 kilometres (12 mi) from France and it is possible to see the French coast with a naked eye from the town. Having the "Capo Sant’Ampelio" which protrudes into the sea, it is the southernmost commune of the region. The cape is at around the same latitude of Pisa and features a little church built in the 11th century for Sant’Ampelio, the patron saint of the city. Since Bordighera is built where the Maritime Alps plunge into the sea it benefits from the Foehn effect which creates a special microclimate that has warmer winters.


It seems that has been inhabited by the time of the Palaeolithic era since archaeologic researchers have found signs of human activities in the caves that are situated on the Italian and French coast. The first humans to alter the territory and create a structured society arrived in the 6th century B.C., they were the Ligures, population from which derives the name of the region, "Liguria" in Italian.

The name of the city appears for the first time as "Burdigheta" in 1296, in a papal Bill written by Pope Boniface VIII. The area was particularly prosperous during Roman times because it was situated on the via Julia Augusta in the 1st century B.C. After the fall of the Roman Empire the village was abandoned because of the frequent attacks by pirates and it is only in 1470 that some families of nearby villages such as the Borghetto San Nicolò decided to return to Bordighera. The Moorish pirates started becoming rarer and rarer even though some particularly cruel ones still occasionally happened such as the one by the pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa in 1543. With pirate attacks diminishing the strategic importance of the area became obvious to the Dukes of Savoy and the Republic of Genoa which fought for the territory in the 16th century. The small village was quickly transformed into a fortified town and gained importance until it became independent from the rival city "Ventimiglia" in 1683.

On the 20th of April 1686, the representants of eight villages, Camporosso, Vallebona, Vallecrosia, San Biagio della Cima, Sasso, Soldano, Borghetto San Nicolò and Bordighera have a meeting at the "St. Bartholomew Oratory (Bordighera)" to build what will be called "Magnifica comunità degli otto luoghi", which can be translated as: "The magnificent community of the eight locations". The goal of this meeting is to unite and gain independence from the nearby rival city of Ventimiglia. In 1797 Bordighera loses its independence completely and becomes part of the "Palms Jurisdiction", a region that included all of the land from Ventimiglia to Arma di Taggia and had Sanremo as capital.

The next change of power inside the region comes in 1815 in which the whole Liguria is annexed to the Kingdom of Sardegna after the Congress of Vienna. The Napoleonic influence will however stay and influence the area, a good example of it is the road "La Corniche" which, wanted by Napoleon Bonaparte, will reach Bordighera easing the movement of people and goods and boosting the development of what was once called "Borgo Marina". That zone is what constitutes Bordighera today and the old town is simply called Old Bordighera or High Bordighera due to its position over the hill (in Italian "Bordighera Vecchia" or "Bordighera Alta").

The Golden Age of the city comes in the 19th century when the low city is constructed next to the "Corniche" road and the sea which attracted English tourists. The touristic interest in Bordighera seems to have been sparked by a novel from Giovanni Ruffini, Il Dottor Antonio which was published in 1855 in Edinburgh and featured the town. In 1860, five years after the famous novel Il Dottor Antonio was published, the first hotel of Bordighera is opened, at the time it was named in French: "Hotel d’Angleterre", but it is now known as Villa Eugenia and is located in Via Vittorio Emanuele 218. The institution hosts its first famous resident in 1861, the British Prime Minister Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, grandfather of Bertrand Russell.

In 1873, the railway station is inaugurated, it allowed to travel from Paris to Bordighera in only 24hrs, which at the time was remarkably fast. With the opening of the Calais-Rome Express railway on the 8th December 1883, the travelling time will get even shorter and 24hrs will be enough to travel from London to Bordighera.

In 1887, Stéphen Liégard, in his famous book "La Cote d’Azur", dedicated several pages to Bordighera and gave it a name that will stick: "Queen of the Palm Trees". He also quotes the fact that the Empress Eugenie was hosted at the "Grand Hotel de Bordighera" in the autumn of 1886.

In 1918 Bordighera War Cemetery was built to commemorate the fallen British soldiers who died in the area during the First World War. It was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer.[1]

On the 12th February 1941, the prime minister of the time, Benito Mussolini met Francisco Franco in Bordighera in order to discuss about the entry of Spain in World War II together with the Axis powers. In July 1947, Evita Peron visited Bordighera and, in order to honour her visit the seaside promenade was named Lungomare Argentina. The road is 2.300m long, which makes it the longest promenade out of all those present in the Riviera.

Bordighera was the first town in Europe to grow date palms, and its citizens still have the exclusive right to provide the Vatican with palm fronds for Easter celebrations.

Main sightsEdit

Bordighera and its neighbor city Ventimiglia

Buildings and structuresEdit

Churches and places of worshipEdit

An Evangelical church in Bordighera

Parks and other open air attractionsEdit


The Scottish writer George MacDonald lived and worked for parts of the year in Bordighera. His house was an important cultural centre for the British colony. He is buried at the churchyard of the former Anglican church. John Goodchild also ran a medical practice here for a number of years. It was here that he bought the blue bowl which he later took to Glastonbury. Other famous British-Italians who wintered and were buried here were the writer Cecilia Maria de Candia and her husband Sir Godfrey Robarts Pearse.

Claude Monet lived in Bordighera and painted numerous pictures of the town.[2]
Cecilia Maria de Candia, a British-Italian writer, novelist and herbalist researcher, spent seasons writing in residence and eventually retiring at her cottage in this community until her final days. She was married to the British fencing champion Sir Godfrey Robarts Pearse.[3]

The novel Call Me by Your Name is set in and around Bordighera.


The typical dishes of Bordighera are part of the Ligurian cuisine. These are the most widespread dishes:

  • Paté de olive, produced by Bordighera’s society of oil producers and made with olive taggische of the territory.[4]
  • Pesto, a sauce made with Genovese basil often used on pasta such as trofie, linguine, tagliolini, spaghetti, etc.
  • Ravioli of borage.
  • Sardenara a focaccia topped with tomato sauce, olive taggische, origanum, capers and of course fillets sardine that explains the name of the dish.
  • Focaccia declined in all its variations, with olive taggische, with onions, with rosemary, with cheese etc.
  • Farinata di ceci is a very thin focaccia made with chickpea flour, water, oil and salt.
  • Torta di verdure, is a typical pie, made with trombette (special Cucurbita pepo), onion, rice and eggs.
  • Brandacujun, a dish made with dried and salted cod, potatoes, garlic and olive taggische.
  • Salad Condiglione, made with slices of raw onions, tomatoes, red, green and yellow peppers, olive taggische, salted anchovies, basil, oil.
  • Stuffed vegetables. different types of vegetables (zucchini, peppers, onions, etc....) stuffed with a mix of minced meat, potatoes, eggs
  • Michetta di Dolceacqua, it is a sweet born in the fourteen century in Dolceacqua [5] made of flour, eggs, sugar and oil. A very appreciated variation is the Crocetta di Dolceacqua.
  • Panzarole and Zabaione, it is a dessert made of sweet bread dough and then fried. Once ready it’s dipped in Zabaione. This dessert is typical of the nearby village Apricale.
  • Baci di Bordighera, they are a vairation of the little cookies of the nearby town Alassio.
  • Bordigotti al Rhum, it's kind of a big chocolate stuffed with cream-based rum.
  • Pane del marianio, a sweet bread enriched with raisins and pine nuts.

Notable peopleEdit


The local economy is mainly based on tourism, the beauty of the zone and the mild climate attracts tourists as well as artists. The production of olives and their derivate products such as olive oil is important as they have acquired a reputation throughout Italy, the variety “Olive Taggiasche” is particularly famous and praised, and it has obtained a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) in 1997. A secondary activity is represented by the cultivation of plants and flowers.

Twin citiesEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer
  2. ^ Monet Bordighera - Google Search
  3. ^ Forbes 1985: "Mario and Grisi" by Elizabeth Forbes, published in London in 1985 by Victor Gollancz Ltd.
  4. ^ Imperiadoc - rappresentanze vini
  5. ^ Storia della Festa della michetta a Dolceacqua