Imperia is a lovely coastal city on the Liguria coast between the French border and Genoa. The city was formed by grouping Porto Maurizio, Oneglio and some surrounding villages in 1923 at the decree of Mussolini.
The pretty, touristic side of the city is based around Porto Maurizio whilst Oneglio is more devoted to the production of olives and flowers. Between the two centres is the river Imperia after which the city was named.
As you aproach Imperia from the west the coastal road suddenly opens up to a beautiful vista with a large bay of sparkling blue water surrounded by hills covered in the colourful orange buildings of the city. The bay includes a large harbour full of small and large yachts and above the city the turrets of the San Maurizio cathedral can be seen dominating the sky line.
In the Porto Maurizio quarter the pretty narrow streets form an attractive old centre called Parasio. The roads lead up to the San Maurizio cathedral with its attractive classical facade. It is the largest cathedral in Liguria and was built in the late 18th- early 19th century. It is a bit of a hike up to Piazza Duoma where the cathedral is found but there are a couple of funiculars up to it if you can find them. (Though on the day we visited the one we found was closed!)
The cathedral lies behind Imperia's imposing theatre and another building to look out for is the Convent of Santa Chiara, built in the 14th century though the current building is 18th century.