Exclusive: Mayor Flavio Di Muro discusses Ventimiglia’s renaissance powered by Monaco’s investments

In an exclusive interview with Monaco Life, Mayor Flavio Di Muro discusses Ventimiglia’s incredible transformation from border town to luxurious international hub, powered by strategic investments from neighbouring Monaco.

Amidst Mayor Flavio Di Muro’s tenure from 2023 to 2028, Ventimiglia is experiencing an exciting transformative phase.

“Ventimiglia’s transition from a border town to an international destination is underway, fuelled by Monaco’s investments and innovative urban development projects,” Di Muro tells Monaco Life.

The impact of Cala del Forte

Mayor Flavio Di Muro is at the helm of a fast-moving ship, steering Ventimiglia towards its destiny as an international hub and leveraging the success of the Cala del Forte marina, officially inaugurated by Prince Albert II on 2nd July 2021 after its October 2020 opening, to increase the town’s visibility on the world stage.

“The marina has not only generated wealth within itself, but has become a catalyst for economic activity throughout Ventimiglia,” says the mayor, highlighting the new port’s role in boosting local tourism and community engagement. “Many locals and tourists alike choose the port for their leisure activities.”

The Principality funded Cala del Forte to serve as an extension to the Ports of Monaco by accommodating the overflow of superyachts that wish to the berth in the Principality each year. The Italian port is linked to Monaco thanks to a fast shuttle, Monaco One, which delivers passengers to the Principality by sea within 10 minutes.

Cala del Forte and Monaco One. Photo credit: Cala del Forte

The development also allowed for the creation of 577 new parking spaces, 15,000 m2 of promenades and gardens, and 35 businesses, including restaurants, bars, offices and boat services.

Among them is the prestigious new fine dining restaurant La Rocca, currently under development, which will further elevate Ventimiglia’s appeal through upscale developments.

See more: La Rocca: work starts on haute cuisine restaurant in Ventimiglia

Investing in the future

Mayor Di Muro is also spearheading efforts to enhance the educational opportunities in Ventimiglia, particularly at the Borgo del Forte Campus, a key feature of the €200 million Marina di Ventimiglia urban regeneration project. Led by Marina Development Corporation and managed by the esteemed Chatsworth Schools, the international school earmarked for a 2026 opening will mark a significant milestone in the city’s educational and urban development. The campus promises to transform Ventimiglia into a vibrant hub for education and tourism, accommodating 800 students and surrounded by a public park, sports facilities and student accommodations.

There is also the revival of a new school project in Ventimiglia Alta as well as the introduction of an elevator linking the marina to the old town, which is set to improve city connectivity significantly.

New elevator connecting marina and the old town of Ventimiglia. Photo by Monaco Life

But Mayor Di Muro believes it is important to have a balanced approach to both public and private initiatives, so the municipality is therefore making significant investments in seismic upgrades for local schools, including Biancheri and the city centre middle schools.

“These upgrades are critical for providing our children with a safe and favourable learning environment,” says the elected official.

See more: New international school: Chatsworth chosen to run Borgo del Forte Campus, Ventimiglia

Strategic approach

A major aspect of Mayor Di Muro’s vision for Ventimiglia is actively enhancing the city’s appeal as a tourist destination. He champions the development of new hotels and the repurposing of historical buildings for hospitality, including the conversion of a former convent in Ventimiglia Alta into a hotel. The abandoned historic building, which had to be bordered up to prevent squatters from settling in, will be able to accommodate dozens of rooms and boasts a view over the bay of Ventimiglia.

“Our goal is to make Ventimiglia even more inviting by supporting the development of new hotel structures,” he says.

Meanwhile, as part of the Borgo del Forte development, there will soon be a new five-star hotel featuring 70 rooms and a luxurious residential component, all overlooking the new port, underway.

Ventimiglia old town. Photo by Monaco Life

Investment in infrastructure

In addition to tourism initiatives, Mayor Di Muro is deeply involved in Ventimiglia’s development of infrastructure and improvements being made to better manage traffic issues and bolster residents’ quality of life.

“We’re working on significant projects, including progress on the Aurelia Bis, a vital road that will alleviate Ventimiglia’s traffic congestion during peak times and certain seasons,” he reveals.

See more: Restaurants in Ventimiglia: a guide to the Italian city’s new dining and leisure scene

The economic and social benefits of these initiatives are evident, says the mayor, with improvements in safety and cleanliness already resulting in a surge in tourism.

“We’ve seen a 14% increase in overnight stays, a clear indicator of our growing appeal as a tourist destination,” Di Muro says proudly.

Fostering local economic growth

The economic impact of Ventimiglia’s transformation can not be understated, including the jobs that it creates for locals both during and after construction. Luckily for developers, there is a very skilled workforce at hand, who in turn are grateful to have this very significant employment opportunity.

“We have a resident population skilled in construction and manual labour,” says the mayor. “Having quality investments in the territory of Ventimiglia also allows these labourers to work close to home, so I believe it’s positive for everyone.”

Borgo del Forte development. Photo by Monaco Life

Integrated approach to affordable housing

Mayor Di Muro acknowledges the challenges of ensuring affordability in premium locations, yet he remains optimistic about Ventimiglia’s strides in affordable housing, thanks to the collaboration with Aziende Regionali Territoriali per l’Edilizia (ARTE). Through initiatives like repurposing the Frati Maristi convent for public housing and the strategic acquisition of homes across the city, Di Muro says Ventimiglia is taking significant steps toward fostering an inclusive and accessible community.

The transformation of the Frati Maristi site, backed by a €5 million investment from the regional authority in Liguria, and the ongoing asbestos removal in Via Caduti del Lavoro signals the beginning of these ambitious projects. The city also plans to purchase 13 additional apartments, on top of the 14 acquired in 2023, for social housing. Meanwhile, a co-housing project, designed to blend private living with communal spaces, is setting a precedent for social cohabitation in Italy that could greatly benefit families and the elderly.

The Sisters de Ordo convent is set to be turned into a hotel. Photo by Monaco Life

Underscoring the benefit of significant investment from the PNRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) for public housing redevelopment in Ventimiglia, Di Muro says, “ARTE has been acquiring various homes throughout the city, a strategy I fully endorse. Our goal isn’t merely to avoid isolated neighbourhoods, but to actively promote social integration. This approach ensures we’re nurturing a unified, inclusive community rather than just distributing housing.”

The Terre Bianche initiative

The list of new and exciting projects for Ventimiglia appear to be never ending. As recently revealed by Monaco Life, the Terre Bianche development project, backed by the Municipality of Ventimiglia and utilising land owned by Monaco’s Princely Family, is set to feature a new international botanical school by autumn 2026. Located at the historic Cava Grimaldi site, the project aims to extend Monaco’s space creatively while boosting Ventimiglia’s economy through educational, residential, and recreational facilities.

“This project showcases our commitment to environmental sustainability and educational services,” says Mayor Di Muro.

See more: Monaco poised to sign major development deal for Grimaldi-owned land in Ventimiglia

Central to the environmental sustainability initiative is the expansion of the Euro Velo 8 cycle and pedestrian route and the restoration of the ancient Via Romana path.

“The project meticulously addresses legal standards while showing a profound respect for the landscape, avoiding haphazard construction to ensure that developments are in harmony with the environment,” says the mayor.

The project also includes the creation of a green park, the restoration of historical paths including the Roman Iulia Augusta route, and environmental improvements along the coast. This strategic development aims to preserve the area’s natural and historical heritage while promoting sustainable tourism and local connectivity.

As the city gears up for the development at Terre Bianche project to begin, Mayor Di Muro envisions a future where Ventimiglia will emerge as a model of international cooperation and sustainable development.

“We are ready to sign the urban planning convention, marking the beginning of a new era for Ventimiglia,” he says confidently, highlighting the substantial impact that yet another exciting new project will have on this Italian seaside town.


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Photo credits: Monaco Life