Imperia, Province of Imperia, Liguria

Coat of Arms of ImperiaImperia, capital of its province, is located on the Riviera di Ponente, and rose in 1923 from the merging of Oneglia and Porto Maurizio, to the left and right, respectively, of the Impero stream, plus other smaller municipalities.

It is "comune sparso", which means there is no exact place called "Imperia" and the municipal seat is not in any of the villages, but is located along via Aurelia about halfway between Oneglia and Porto Maurizio.

Imperia has about 43 000 inhabitants, but the whole conurbation, including the centers of the Diano Gulf and a vast urbanized hinterland, reaches about 70,000 inhabitants.


  • Altitude: 10 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 43,000 inhabitants in 2011
  • Zip/postal code: 18100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0183
  • Patron Saint: St. Leonardo da Porto Maurizio, celebrated on 26 November
  • Frazioni & Localities: Artallo, Borgo d'Oneglia, Cantalupo, Caramagna, Castelvecchio, Clavi, Costa d'Oneglia, Massabovi, Moltedo, Montegrazie, Oliveto, Piani, Poggi, Sant'Agata


Imperia was created on 21 October 1923 from the merging of two cities, Oneglia and Porto Maurizio, and two historically and geographically distinct territories, by a royal decree which unified in a single "comune" called Imperia (from the name of the Impero stram) eleven pre-existing communes: Borgo Sant'Agata, Caramagna Ligure, Castelvecchio di Santa Maria Maggiore, Costa d'Oneglia, Moltedo, Montegrazie, Oneglia, Piani, Poggi, Porto Maurizio, Torrazza. Each of the places, especially the larger ones Oneglia and Porto Maurizio, have their own history before the fusion.

History of Oneglia - Birthplace of admiral Andrea Doria and writer Edmondo de Amicis derives its name perhaps from an ancient pre-Roman settlement (pagus Unelia) on the hills of Castelvecchio, one of the six "oppida" (fortified settlements) of the Ligurian Ingauni overlooking the river Impero. "Ripa Uneliae" was instead a fishing village by the sea, probably in the area today known today as Peri on the eastern outskirts of the town. Included in the Republic of Genoa, was later a principality of the House of Savoy. From 1796 until 1814 it was occupied by the French, then from 1818 to 1848 was with Sanremo and Nizza (Nice) included in the county and later Province of Nice under the Savoy. In the century Oneglia had regular regular trade exchanges with Marseille, supplyng the olive oil for the famous soap.

History of Porto Maurizio - Probably of Roman origin, in the Middle Ages it was was an independent municipality, bound by tight covenants to the neighboring, powerful Republic of Genoa, and was known throughout the Mediterranean for the production and sale of olive oil. After the Napoleonic period was annexed to Piedmont and then in 1861 merged into the Kingdom of Italy.

The Economy

Historically, Oneglia concentrated on the food industry (especially oil and pasta), while Porto Maurizio on fishing and tourism, and more recently on the service industry.

What to see

  • The historical center of Porto Maurizio, on the promontory overlooking the sea in front of Oneglia, called Parasio (from a no more existing Palatium, an ancient square tower used as a fortress and as a prison on top of the mountain). Almost completely pedestrianized, with characteristic alleys called carùggi that intersect the main road that spirals up to the top. In particular, the urban fabric is made up of concentric ellipses that follow the contours of the land, cross-linked by stairways.

Where to stay

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Provinces of Liguria
Liguria region
Surnames in the Provinces of Liguria