The Journal de Bordighera (1883–1935) as a source for the study of the local climate

Tourists and meteorologists in the Italian Riviera: The Journal de Bordighera (1883–1935) as a source for the study of the local climate. I fell upon this interesting scientific article at

The Italian Riviera was, from the second half of the nineteenth century to the Second World War, one of the most famous, elitist, climatic, winter, international tourist destinations. In Bordighera, in particular, the British community was so important that a typical English ‘environmental bubble’ was created, and still today there is not only physical, but also cultural evidence of it. Among the latter, the polyglot Journal de Bordighera (1883–1935), a large number of issues of which are still held at the local Museum Bicknell, is the privileged witness of the carefree life of the tourists spending their winter on the Riviera in that period. One of its weekly columns, the ‘Bulletin Météorologique’, contains precise data, collected by the tourists themselves, about the temperatures of the resort, while comments on the special climate of the region are scattered across different issues. That information is unique for Bordighera because, even if the location has always been appreciated for its mild climate, surprisingly no other meteorological data have ever been recorded for such a long period. The aim of this paper is twofold: to reconstruct this historical climatological series, which appears to have reasonable historical reliability, if verified with the series of other weather stations of the Riviera, and to consider the observations about the climate published by the tourist meteorologists on the Journal de Bordighera as a positioned way to observe and to narrate the climate of the Riviera.

The Journal de Bordighera is not only a rich source of quantitative data about the temperatures of the Riviera, but it also contains some interesting qualitative comments about the meteorological conditions. Interestingly, the majority of them were published after 1924, the year when the daily data were no longer reported in the journal. Around that date there appears to be a considerable, clear and sudden move of interest away from the objective numerical data towards subjective evaluative data. In this paper, the reconstruction of a historic climatological series, even if incomplete, has, on the one hand, offered an unpublished amount of data which may prove useful for new research about the climate of Bordighera on the Italian Riviera. On the other hand, the rediscovery of these data has enlightened an original aspect of the social relationship between meteorologist and tourist activities, whereby the tourists are both collectors and beneficiaries of the climatic data.

According to the data provided by the Osservatorio di Imperia, the annual average temperatures of the Riviera are 16.1 °C (winter: 9.8 °C) mean, 13.0 °C (winter: 7.0 °C) minimum, and 19.1 °C (winter: 12.7 °C)

With thanks to Lorenzo Bagnoli for the work and for his permission to link to the page on Elsevier’s Science Direct.