EPT San Remo: Travel guide
Poker has been running wild through Europe in October. After the European Poker Tour's successful stop in London, the circus moves on to Italy, where the EPT San Remo series kicks off with the €4,900 Main Event on Friday.
Last season at San Remo, Rupert Elder bested a field of 988 players to claim his first EPT title and a top prize of €930,000. Elder defeated German pro Max Heinzelmann, who finished runner-up for the second straight EPT Main Event. Other former winners at San Remo include Constant Rijkenberg and Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier and Liv Boeree, who collected €1,250,000 for her title in 2010.
If you're heading to San Remo, there are plenty of attractions to see outside of the casino. You'll definitely regret not taking in the sights and sounds of Italy, so read on to find out some of the popular allures of the City of Flowers.
San Remo is the capital town of the Italian Riviera of Flowers. Located on the Italian Riviera between Genoa and the French border, the city's climate has been one if its main draws since the 1800s, and poker players will certainly appreciate the autumn setting of the year's EPT event with an average temperature of about 70°F (21°C) to be expected.
San Remo is aptly nicknamed the City of Flowers because of its luxuriant gardens and colorful flowerbeds resting in the surrounding hills. The city is home to dozens of astonishing botanical gardens, most famously the Gardens of Queen Elena located on top of the hill above the old town of La Pigna.
The closest airport to San Remo is Nice, France, approximately 65 kilometers away. Players can also fly into the Genoa airport in Italy, but they'll need to take a bus or train about 150 kilometers into San Remo.
Once you're in town, the popular method of travel is by scooter. However, if you'd rather not risk driving one in traffic, there is a train station located above the harbor and a bus station is near the center of town. Car rentals are also available and make for the best method of travel if you plan on visiting the famous sights of the city.
If it's your first time driving in Italy, be prepared. Traffic moves on the right, but passing is generally accepted at all times, whether it's a one-way street or a three-lane highway. Drivers are aggressive, so be cautious. If for whatever reason you're stopped for a traffic violation, police are empowered to collect fines on the spot.
Ideally you'll be playing poker for most of your trip en route to a massive payday at an EPT final table, in which case you'll be spending most of your time in the beautiful Casino Sanremo. The casino is located in the heart of the city and is a stunning piece of architecture built in grand Art-Nouveau style at the turn of the 20th century.
Inside, the casino follows the same dress code as many across Europe. You'll need to bring a nice jacket to wear in the hotel and casino, but those rules won't follow you into the poker room. Don't worry; hats, sweatshirts and shades are permitted at the poker table.
If you're hungry, Casino Sanremo offers several great restaurants to dine. Biribisso is located right inside the casino and features an excellent selection of wine to go with your pasta or seafood dish. A better option for players on their dinner break might be Town Hall, open from 8pm until midnight. The joint has several tasty choices on the menu and is conveniently located right off the main casino floor.
Out and About
If you happen to bust early from the Main Event, there's plenty to do before your trip to San Remo is over. Among the must-see location spots in San Remo is La Pigna, the oldest part of the city, where you can travel the narrow streets of the Medieval town to find the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of San Siro, and the Borea d'Olmo Ducal Palace.
Located on the hilltop above La Pigna is the Madonna della Costa Sanctuary, which can be seen from most places in San Remo. The gorgeous cobblestone building was erected in 1651 and its tantalizing dome was added between 1770 and 1775.
If you like shopping, then you can't miss all the boutiques and local shops that can be found in the town center. On Tuesday and Saturday mornings there is a colorful market in Piazza Eroi Sanremesi, not far from San Siro Cathedral.
And, of course, you can't travel to Italy without visiting some of its many famous restaurants. You can indulge in all the pasta, wine and cheese you want at most of the eateries on town; one of the more famous places is La Fontana, where you can eat a delicious meal on a terrace overlooking the sea.
As the birthplace of Monet, San Remo is filled with enough history and culture to keep you busy for weeks. Be sure to check out as much as you can during your trip and don't forget your camera!
Good luck if you are playing the EPT Main Event. Follow the PokerStars Blog for all the action.