For other uses, see Imperia (disambiguation).
Città di Imperia

Panorama of Imperia

Location of Imperia in Italy

Coordinates: 43°53′N 8°2′E / 43.883°N 8.033°E / 43.883; 8.033Coordinates: 43°53′N 8°2′E / 43.883°N 8.033°E / 43.883; 8.033
Country Italy
Region Liguria
Province / Metropolitan city Imperia (IM)
Frazioni Artallo, Borgo d'Oneglia, Cantalupo, Caramagna, Castelvecchio, Clavi, Costa d'Oneglia, Massabovi, Moltedo, Montegrazie, Oliveto, Piani, Poggi, Sant'Agata
  Mayor Carlo Capacci
  Total 45.95 km2 (17.74 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (30 November 2011)
  Total 42,243
  Density 920/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Imperiesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 18100
Dialing code 0183
Patron saint Leonard of Port Maurice, Saint John (Oneglia)
Saint day 26 November
Website Official website

Imperia (pronounced [imˈpɛːrja]  listen ) is a coastal city and comune in the region of Liguria, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Imperia, and historically it was capital of the Intemelia district of Liguria. Mussolini created the city of Imperia on 21 October 1923 by combining Porto Maurizio and Oneglia and the surrounding village communes of Piani, Caramagna Ligure, Castelvecchio di Santa Maria Maggiore, Borgo Sant'Agata, Costa d'Oneglia, Poggi, Torrazza, Moltedo and Montegrazie.

Imperia is well known for the cultivation of flowers and olives, and is a popular summer destination for visitors. The local Piscina Felice Cascione indoor pool has hosted numerous national and international aquatics events.


A representation of Porto Maurizio in the early 1800s.

The name of Oneglia may have its roots in the pre-Roman settlement of Pagus Unelia, on the hill of Castelvecchio, which was probably one of the sex oppida of the Liguri. This spawned Ripa Uneliae, a village down on the coast probably on the site of the modern-day Borgo Peri. Modern Oneglia became established on its modern site around 935AD, possibly after it was destroyed by the Saracens; in 1100 it became a fief of the Diocese of Albenga. In 1298 Oneglia became part of the fiefdom of the Doria family of Genoa; the famous admiral Andrea Doria (1466–1560) was born in the town. The Dorias sold the town to Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy in 1576, and Oneglia essentially remained a Savoyard enclave in the Republic of Genoa until Italian unification. Nonetheless, it was on the front line in the wars of the House of Savoy; it was seized in 1614 and 1649 by the Spaniards and in 1623 and 1672 by the Genoese. In 1692 it had to repulse an attack by a French squadron; in 1744–45 it was again occupied by the Spaniards, and in 1792 bombarded and burned by the French.

Porto Maurizio was a Roman settlement, Portus Maurici, which, though named in the brief maritime itinerary appended to the Antonine Itinerary,[1] must be an interpolation in manuscripts of that third century document, since it is named after Saint Maurice, leader of the Theban Legion who were not martyred until 286 and could not have been memorialized until the Christianized Empire of the fourth century.[2] It became a Byzantine port after the Gothic Wars of the 6th century, then passed to the Order of Saint Benedict. It was subject to the counts of Turin in the 11th century, and then to the marchesi of Clavesana. Boniface of Clavesana sold the town to the Republic of Genoa in 1288[3] in return for a yearly payment, as part of Genoa's expansion into western Liguria. In 1354 it became the seat of the Genoese vicar of the western Riviera. The town prospered even though control of Genoa passed between the French, the Duchy of Milan, and the Spanish. During the Napoleonic Wars Napoleon Bonaparte himself stopped for a night in Porto Maurizio and spent the night on the Parrasio on the third floor of Palazzo Lavagna. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, it was awarded to the Kingdom of Sardinia, before finally joining a united Italy in 1861.

Mussolini created the city of Imperia on 21 October 1923 by the union of Porto Maurizio and Oneglia and the surrounding village communes of Piani, Caramagna Ligure, Castelvecchio di Santa Maria Maggiore, Borgo Sant'Agata, Costa d'Oneglia, Poggi, Torrazza, Moltedo and Montegrazie.


The economy of Imperia is based on tourism, food industry (olive oil and pasta), a specialized agriculture (olive groves and flowers in greenhouses) and on trading and harbour activities. The seaside tourism represents an important aspect of the economy of Imperia.


Imperia consists of the two historical districts of Porto Maurizio and Oneglia, which lie on either side of the River Impero that gives its name to the city.

Porto Maurizio is situated on a peninsula to the west of the river, stretching along the coastline. It is the more colourful and wealthy district of the city, threaded by narrow lanes known as carrugi, and its economy centres around the tourist industry. It was a possession of Genoa from the 13th century.

Oneglia (Inéja in Ligurian) lies on an alluvial plain to the east of the Impero, and with its working port is the more modern and industrial of the two districts. At its centre lies Dante Square, from which radiate some of the principal roads of the city.


Imperia experiences a warm Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa).

Climate data for Imperia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.8
Average low °C (°F) 6.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 81
Source: Enea[4]

Notable sights

Porto Maurizio

View of Porto Maurizio and westernmost Oneglia from the sea.
Porto Maurizio
St. Maurice Cathedral




The Autostrada dei Fiori (A10) crosses the valley above Oneglia

Imperia is served by the Autostrada A10 motorway, also known as L'Autostrada dei Fiori which runs along the Ligurian coast between Genoa and Ventimiglia on the French border. The road crosses the city via a series of high viaducts and mountain tunnels over the valley. Two junctions serve the city, one in the west close to Porto Maurizio, and another in the east above Oneglia. The A10 also forms part of European route E80.

Bus services across the Province of Imperia are operated by the public transport body Riviera Trasporti (RT).[5]

The coastal Genoa–Ventimiglia railway line runs through Imperia. There are two railway stations serving the two centres of Imperia, Imperia Porto Maurizio and Imperia Oneglia railway stations.[6] The railway line was originally constructed in 1872, and because its narrow coastal route was confined by the sea and long tunnels under the rocky coastline, it was built as a single-track railway. In recent years, work has been underway to convert sections of the line to double-track operation. A new section of track is under construction between Andora and San Lorenzo al Mare, diverting the line inland via a series of new tunnels and viaducts. When opened, it will replace the old coastal route and the two stations in Imperia will close, to be replaced by a central Imperia railway station, situated to the north of the current Oneglia station. The new double-track route was scheduled for completion at the end of 2009, but currently remains unfinished.[7]

Famous residents

Natives of Imperia:


International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Imperia is twinned with:


Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 


  1. Noted in William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, vol 2 1873:187, s.v. "Liguria"
  2. "Portus Maurici, dessen Name auf christliche Zeitalter hindeutet" (Konrad Mannert, Geographie der Griechen und Römen aus Ihren Schriften, Volume 9, Part 1 Book 3, 1823:276); Domenico Anfossi, De sacrarum reliquiarum cultu (1610) suggests a deformation of Maurorum Portus in a passage quoted extensively in Giuseppe Figari, Saggi cronologici della città del Porto-Maurizio 1810:13.
  3. An earlier notice in the continuator of Caffaro's annals of Genoa, under the year 1204 and other years, is mentioned in Peter Wesseling's notices of the Antonine Itinerary, Vetera Romanorum itineraria, sive Antonini Augusti itinerarium (Amsterdam 1735:502) s.v. "Portus Maurici".
  4. "Imperia weather averages". Enea. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  5. "Profilo e storia della Riviera Trasporti" (in Italian). Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  6. Whitehouse, Rosie (2013). Liguria : the Bradt travel guide (1st ed.). Chalfont St. Peter: Bradt Travel Guides. pp. 194–196. ISBN 9781841624730.
  7. "Raddoppio ferroviario Genova - Ventimiglia Stato di avanzamento del progetto". Trail Liguria (in Italian). Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  8. "Town Twinning Agreements". Municipalidad de Rosario - Buenos Aires 711. Retrieved 2014-10-14.
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