Many legends have grown up around the origins of Alassio, a renowned seaside resort on the Western Riviera: one of them links it with the name of Adelasia, the daughter of Otto I, who is supposed to have taken refuge with her husband, Aleramo, on the banks of the large bay between Capo Mele and Capo Santa Croce. The first inhabitants came down to the sea from the high regions in mediaeval times.
It belonged to the Gallinara Benedictines and then became a municipality of Albenga until gradually falling under Genoese influence. The impressive defence system started to be built in the sixteenth century. In the old town you will notice some ancient noble residences, such as the Palazzo dei Marchesi di Ferrero and the Palazzi of Brea, Morteo and Scofferi. The railway station is built in turn-of-the-century style and has Art Nouveau decor and furnishings. The parish church SantAmbrogio was built in 1507 and is dedicated to the citys patron saint. It preserves many valuable works such as paintings by Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari and Bernardo Castello. The oratorio Santa Catherina di Alessandria was later built in the 17th century. Just right of the oratorio is the Salsian college, founded in 1870 by the theologist and teacher Don Basco. The students of the Salsian college are said to belong to Italys elite and often receive important positions in the church and economy.
The church of the Santissima Annunziata in the district of Solva dates from 1382 but was rebuilt a century later: it has some interesting fresco work depicting the seven deadly sins and hell. The sanctuary of Maria Santissima on Monte Tirasso was built in the thirteenth century and was later given the name of the sanctuary of the Madonna della Guardia. It is a traditional place of devotion of sailors and contains many votary objects related to life at sea.
The "muretto": This one and half meter tall and nearly 50 metere long stone guest book of the city makes a great photo. Celebrities from all walks of life and genres have immortalized themselves on the small ceramic tiles. Sophia Loren, Louis Armstrong and Earnest Hemmingway are some of the few of the long list of famous people from the world of sport and show business.
Alassio beach stretches for a distance of 3700 metres. The sand is composed of quartz, silicates and chalk and is of a very fine consistency. One rare feature of this seaside resort is that the water remains very shallow for a long way out.
There are many excellent local sports facilities: the sports centre, swimming pool, minigolf, tennis, the five horse-racing tracks and many other attractions. The leisure port can berth up to 400 boats. The surrounding area is of interest from both a historical and natural point of view: you can follow the ancient Via Julia Augusta, visit the old districts of Santa Croce and Solva, and follow the 25 well-marked pathways up to the higher areas.The typical sweet specialities of Alassio are called "baci" and "biscette".