Travel Guide: San Remo
Season 9 of the European Poker Tour kicked off in a big way in Barcelona last month, but now it's time for the second stop of the season--EPT San Remo. From October 3-11, 2012, the Casino Sanremo will play host to a full festival of poker tournaments headlined by a €5,000 + €300 Main Event beginning on the fifth.
San Remo has proven one of the most popular stops on the EPT schedule dating back to Season 4. Last year, the tournament drew a robust 837 players and was won by Andrey Pateychuk, who bested Bulgaria's Dimitar Danchev in heads-up play to capture the €680,000 first-place prize. The young Russian pro added his name to a list of former champions that includes Rupert Elder (Season 7), Liv Boeree (Season 6), Constant Rijkenberg (Season 5) and Jason Mercier (Season 4).
San Remo has a reputation of both providing great poker action and ending up with big-name winners, but that's not all the Italian city has to offer; in fact, there are plenty of attractions to see outside of the casino in the City of Flowers.
Location: San Remo, Italy
Population (as of 2009): 56,864
Language: Italian, English
Currency: The Euro
Time Zone: Central European Time (+6 hours from Eastern Standard Time)
Weather: Average October temperature14.4 °C (57.9 °F) low/21.6 °C (70.9 °F) high
International Dialing Codes: +39 (the USA is +1)
Visa: Europeans do not need a visa to visit Italy. North Americans, Australasians and South Africans do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days.
The closest airport to San Remo is Nice, France, which is approximately a 45-minute drive (65 kilometers). If you want to hop a taxi from the airport to San Remo, it'll cost you approximately €230; however, there is a far cheaper option if you've got the time --the bus. Diana Tours runs a link from the airport to San Remo, which takes about an hour and departs at 11:30am from Terminal 1 and 11:45am from Terminal 2. You can also catch a train from Nice (1hr 25mins).
Additionally, players can fly into the Genoa airport in Italy, but they'll need to take a bus or train about 150 kilometers to get to San Remo. A taxi will cost approximately €250.
Once you're in town, the popular method of travel is by scooter. However, if you'd rather not risk driving 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.
Chances are you'll be spending much of your time in the Casino Sanremo, which is built in the grand Art-Nouveau style and located in the heart of the city. The casino itself has a fairly strict dress code, but fear not, if you're of the Jason-Mercier style and prefer the ultra-casual look, then you'll be happy to know that hats, sweatshirts and shades are permitted at the poker table.
There are plenty of gaming options at the Casino Sanremo including both French and traditional roulette, Black Jack, Punto Banco 2000, keno, slot machines and of course all the poker you can handle.
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.
Where to Stay
If you qualified for the EPT San Remo on PokerStars, then you already know your accommodations. Chances are you'll be staying at the Corso Matuzia, which is about an eight-minute walk from the venue. It features room service from 8am until 11pm and a breakfast lounge from 7:30am-noon.
Other EPT Hotel recommended options in San Remo include Hotel Paradiso (free internet, 500 meters from venue, swimming pool), Hotel Europa (free internet, in front of the casino, room service 24 hours) and Gran Hotel De Londres (Free internet, 300 meters away, outdoor swimming pool). Information on all of these lodgings and more can be found on epthotels.com
Out and About
Hopefully you'll be busy all week with the Main Event, but if not there's plenty to do in San Remo, the birthplace of Monet. You'll definitely want to check out 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.
San Remo is known for a few cuisine specialties including Sardenara, a snack similar to a pizza. Here's how Wikipedia describes the delicious treat:
"Sardenara or Sardenaira is a snack from West Liguria similar to a pizza, baked in very large rectangular baking trays and generally bought from a bakery in small rectangular cut pieces. The light, crispy base is normally approximately 15 mm (0.59 in) and is made from a bread-type dough of wheat flour (the flour is normally of cake quality), sometimes with the addition of potato flour mixed with yeast, olive oil and milk. The tomato topping consists of tomatoes and onions cooked before putting on the base, as opposed to a pizza, where the topping is left uncooked before going into the oven, all finished off with capers, garlic, local black olives, and oregano, and brushed with olive oil."
Other popular foods you'll want to try are Focaccia, Focaccia alle Cipolle, Torta Verda, Farinata and Tallesca olives.
San Remo isn't a huge city, but there are still plenty of nightlife options. Here's a look at ten options if you're looking to lounge around and perhaps enjoy a light dinner with drinks:
1. Kermesse Café (lounge)
2. Dick Turpin (pizza)
3. BAR Rouge ET Noir (bar)
4. 1000 Models (bar)
5. BAR Cocktail (bar)
6. BAR MAX (bar)
7. Café di Palo Graziella (bar)
8. BAR Chez Elle (bar)
9. BAR Tabacchi Prai (bar)
Obviously there's plenty of poker and fun to be had in San Rremo, and whether you're playing the tournament of sweating the action from home, we hope you enjoy the second stop of the EPT Season 9. Be sure to visit the PokerStars Blog from October 5-11 for the latest chip counts, seat draws, prize payouts and gallery photos from EPT San Remo.