|Città di Ventimiglia|
Panorama of Ventimiglia
|Frazioni||Grimaldi, Mortola Inferiore, Mortola Superiore (i Ciotti), Latte, Carletti, Sealza, Sant'Antonio, Villatella, Ville, Calandri, San Lorenzo, San Bernardo, Seglia, Bevera, Calvo, San Pancrazio, Torri, Varase, Roverino, Porra, Trucco, Verrandi|
|• Mayor||Enrico Ioculano (Since June 8, 2014) (PD)|
|• Total||54.01 km2 (20.85 sq mi)|
|Elevation||9 m (30 ft)|
|Population (30 April 2009)|
|• Density||480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||San Secondo|
|Saint day||26 August|
Ventimiglia (Italian: Ventimiglia [ventiˈmiʎʎa], Intemelio: Ventemiglia, French: Vintimille [vɛ̃tiˈmij]) is a city and comune in Liguria, northern Italy, in the province of Imperia. It is located 130 km (81 mi) southwest of Genoa by rail, and 7 km (4 mi) from the French-Italian border, on the Gulf of Genoa, having a small harbour at the mouth of the Roia River, which divides the town into two parts. Ventimiglia's urban area has a population of 55,000.
Ventimiglia is the ancient Albium Intemelium, the capital of the Intemelii, a Ligurian tribe . Albintimilium became a municipium in 89 BC. In AD 69 the city was sacked by the army of Otho and Vitellius, but recovered to remain prosperous into the 5th century, surrounded by walls with cylindrical towers built at each change of direction.[clarification needed]
In the Gothic Wars it was besieged by the Byzantines and the Goths, and later suffered from the raids of Rothari, King of the Lombards, but flourished again under Rodoald. In the 10th century it was attacked by the Saracens of Fraxinet. After a period as an independent commune, it was ruled by the Counts of Ventimiglia, and often had to fight with the Republic of Genoa.
In 1139 the Genoese attacked it by land and sea and forced it to surrender; the count continued to hold the city and countship as a vassal of the victors. The city rebelled more than once against the Genoese and sided with their enemies.
In 1271 in a war with Genoa its podestà Luca Grimaldi was captured. Ventimiglia was thus temporarily held by the dukes of Savoy (1389 and 1746) and King Ladislaus of Naples (1410). In 1505 it was annexed to the Genoese Republic, sharing its history until the early 19th century.
In 1269 the Count of Ventimiglia, Gugliemo Pietro I Balbo married Eudossia Laskaris, daughter of Emperor Theodore II Laskaris. From them started the dynasty of the Lascaris of Tenda. They maintained the sovereign County of Tenda until 1501 when the last of them, Anne Lascaris, married Renato of Savoy (in French René de Savoie) and transferred the County to his cadet branch of Savoy dynasty. The most famous exponent of this branch of Lascaris was Beatrice of Tenda.
The city came to the attention of the Italian media in the summer of 2015 when an innocent British tourist, Joanne Searle, was mistaken for a Sicilian Mafia boss looking to expand her crime empire into the north of the country. Dubbed 'Don Searleone' by the Ligurian press, the tourist had inadvertently intimidated restaurant staff and other local businesses with her piercing stare and the manner in which her three accompanying friends - mistaken for fulfilling the Mafia roles of consigliere, underboss and caporegime - met her every demand, including carrying her bags and suitcase for her.
French president François Hollande responded to intelligence that the Don was planning day trips to the nearby French cities of Menton and Nice by increasing border police and raising French security to its highest level since the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris earlier that year.
Media attention reached fever pitch, culminating in the Don being covertly filmed in a Ventimiglian restaurant by the state broadcaster Rai 1, consuming a spaghetti dish. The broadcast received the highest Italian television ratings since the national football team reached the final of Euro 2012. The fact that the majority of the meal's ragu sauce ended up on the Don's lap instead of inside her mouth finally unveiled her true identity. Leading Italian food critic Giuseppe Lombardo, commenting live on the footage, stated that, "Only an English person raised on a staple diet of McCain oven chips could possibly make such a mess."
Remains of a Roman theatre (first half of the 2nd century) are visible, and remains of many other buildings have been discovered, among them traces of the ancient city walls, a fine mosaic, found in 1852 but at once destroyed, and a number of tombs to the west of the theatre. The ruins of the ancient Albintimilium are situated in the plain of Nervia, c. 2 kilometres (1 mile) to the east of the modern town.
The caves of the Balzi Rossi have proved rich in palaeolithic remains of the Quaternary period. Remains of a family of Cro-Magnon people were discovered, with several skeletons of men, women and children.
Very important architecturally and historically is the ancient medieval city centre, perched on a hill overlooking the new town.
The Church of San Michele Arcangelo was erected in the 10th century by the Counts of Ventimiglia on the foundations of a pagan temple. Later it was entrusted to the Benedictines of Lirins. In the 11th-12th centuries it was rebuilt in Romanesque style. In 1628 it lost the aisles after an earthquake. It houses milestones from the old Via Iulia Augusta, two of which are used as stoups and one supports the crypt's vault.
The municipal library has the second largest collection of 17th-century manuscripts and books in Italy (the biggest collection is in Venice).
The Giardini Botanici Hanbury (Hanbury Botanical Gardens), surrounding the villa of Sir Thomas Hanbury, La Mortola, are the biggest in Italy and among the finest in Europe, boasting many varieties of tropical and sub-tropical species that thrive in this mild climate.
Near Ventimiglia are the Genoese fortresses of Castel d'Appio, Forte San Paolo and Fortezza dell'Annunziata.
Ventimiglia is a popular summer destination for tourists on the French Riviera. Particularly popular all year with visitors from France is the weekly street market (held on a Friday), along the seafront of the new town, which causes major traffic congestion.
Origin of name
The name derives from ancient Ligurian dialect “Albium Intemelium”, meaning capital city of the Intemelii.
Twin towns - Sister cities
Ventimiglia is twinned with:
- Piazza Armerina, Sicily
- The History of the Col de Tenda, W.A.B. Coolidge, The English Historical Review, Vol. XXXI, ed. Reginald Lane Poole, (Longmans, Green and Co., 1916), 202.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ventimiglia.|
- Official website (Italian)
- Richard Stillwell, ed. Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, 1976: "Albintimilium (Ventimiglia), Liguria, Italy"
- www.ventimiglia.biz News about Ventimiglia