ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Grimaldi, near Ventimiglia, Italy: perched on rock, with a sheer drop into the Mediterranean

Updated on February 19, 2016
Flag of Italy
Flag of Italy | Source
At Grimaldi, in Italy, near the French border, this secondary road above the "Corso Mentone" seems to plunge into the Mediterranean.
At Grimaldi, in Italy, near the French border, this secondary road above the "Corso Mentone" seems to plunge into the Mediterranean. | Source
Hamlet of Grimaldi Superiore
Hamlet of Grimaldi Superiore | Source
Map location of Liguria, Italy
Map location of Liguria, Italy | Source

Mountains and sea, thrown together

At Grimaldi, near Ventimiglia, close to the French border, is some of the most dramatic topography in Europe.

At a location near to one of the photographs supplied, I was walking a number of years ago on the Corso Mentone (1) in Grimaldi, where the road seems to curve towards the sea, and where it is hard for the stranger to get proper bearings, unaided by a map. Indeed, I was suddenly questioned — in French, not Italian — by a young woman motorist who stopped her convertible and asked me, in apparent confusion: Où est la France? (Where is France?) and thus I was able to give her simple directions. Certainly, given that the Alps here fall so dramatically into the Mediterranean and the roads have consequently been blasted into the rock in a curving pattern, it can be somewhat confusing even for unfamiliar drivers who are usually adept at following a good sense of direction.

One can well see how the nearby Principality of Monaco — its ruling house is also named Grimaldi — preserved its sovereignty over several centuries because its very similar topography made the heartland of the small state very inaccessible except by sea. It is a place where dwellings and villas perch in an almost precarious-seeming way between the Alps and the western end of the Mediterranean's Ligurian Sea.

Grimaldi, divided into lower and upper parts, Grimaldi-Inferiore and Grimaldi-Superiore, is located near Ventimiglia; the local administrative boundaries are within Imperia province, itself in Italy's Liguria region.

The nearby Hanbury Gardens attract many visitors. A conspicuous tower, named for Grimaldi, overlooks the sea as one approaches Balzi Rossi, close to the French border.


(1) 'Mentone' is the Italian spelling for the French city of Menton, near the border with Italy. Since the city was not part of France until the second half of the 19th century, English-speaking visitors were already familiar with its attractions and consequently the Italian spelling 'Mentone' has also featured in some English-language references to the Riviera.

Interestingly, since even the word 'Riviera' is Italian, meaning 'coast', the term 'French Riviera' is not one which has a close, French equivalent; instead, French people tend to refer to the 'Côte d'Azur'. It is thus interesting how the Franco-Italian border area can in some ways prove complex for native English-speakers.

Also worth seeing

Balzi Rossi , adjacent to Grimaldi, has an archeological museum and caves.

In Ventimiglia (approx. distance: 8 kilometres) are the Medieval Cathedral and the Sant' Agostino and the San Michele churches; there are remains of a Roman amphitheatre; the Palazzo comunale , is a Rationalist style municipal building.

How to get there:

Alitalia flies to Genoa (Aeroporto di Genova ); there are rail links from Genoa to Ventimiglia. The nearest sizable international airport to Grimaldi is Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur ). Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice. The French railroad company SNCF serves stations between Nice and Ventimiglia (French: Vintimille ); the nearest railroad station to Grimaldi is Menton-Garavan, over the French border, which is withing walking distance of Grimaldi. Enquire also at Nice Airport for bus links to nearby Menton, France. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MJFenn profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Shinkicker: The topography of the region of Europe which you mention is certainly very dramatic. Thank-you for your comment.

    • Shinkicker profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      Nice Hub MJ. I've been to Monaco. The South of France is one of my favourite places to visit. Lived in Italy too for a spell. This makes me feel like going back. But which country? :-)



    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)