Bridging the 2 mile span that separates Mission and Sycamore Canyons, the sylvan uplift which padres knew as the “mission ridge” has for the past 65 years been known as “the Riviera” due to its resemblance to slopes along the Mediterranean coast of France and Italy. Santa Barbarans lucky enough to live on this ridge attach premium value to their homes because of their unsurpassed views of the city, mountains, sea, and islands.
The Riviera is famous for its semitropical appearance. The flowing curves at the west end of Alameda Padre Serra today mark the old streetcar right of way, the curves being essential to provide a gradient which electric cars could negotiate.
One of the older and more stabilized neighborhoods in the city, the Riviera also ranks as one of the wealthiest and best-educated. “We know how lucky we are not to have to go to Europe to enjoy the Riviera life-style,” one cosmopolite commented. “We’ve got a better Riviera right here in Santa Barbara.”