Charles de Brosses, French writer of the eighteenth century, defined Pigna (pine cone in Ligurian) as a "very pretty town built on a sugar loaf".
Established around Mille Old Sanremo is called Pigna for its characteristic streets and massed its medieval fortifications in the image of the scales of a pine cone. The village has been continuously expanded and strengthened until the sixteenth century to defend it from pirate attacks. La Pigna starts from the fourteenth-century St. Stephen's Gate, a stone arch in the Gothic style, which is a kind of link between the modern city and the old.
The residential complex presents all clinging to the hill in concentric rings with covered walkways, courtyards, arches, fountains and staircases, in a succession of bold architecture. Once past the gates you pass through the riots of San Sebastiano, characterized by beautiful cross vaults, and then reach the Piazzetta of Sorrows, so called because once the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows had its headquarters in the nearby Oratorio di San Sebastiano.