It was 1876, and the Russian empress the Tsaress Maria Alexandrovna
came to San Remo for three months to spend the winter in a milder climate. Apparently she enjoyed her stay and it soon became a fashion for rich and aristocratic Russian people to come spend their winters here. There is even 2 proofs of this: proof 1 is the Russian church that still stands in town, and proof 2 is the name of one of the major streets: coso imperatrice (empress street)
San Remo is supposed to be Italy's flower capital - I think it's because of the particular climate that lets flowers bloom all year round. It's emblem is a flower, and there are many festivals connected with flowers. One of them is the peculiar february carnival: dozen of special carriages decorated with flowers. Don't be surprized, then, to see several flower markets in town.