Portofino is an Italian fishing village and upmarket resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity visitors. It is a district located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is crowded round its small harbour, is closely associated with Paraggi Beach, which is a few minutes up the coast. Other nearby beaches include Camogli, Chiavari, Lavagna, and Sestri Levante.
Once in Portofino walking might be your best option. The town is not large and most hotels and beaches are a short walk from the harbor. Alternatively, mopeds seem to be a popular choice for getting about, especially for those people visiting several of the small regional towns like Paraggi or San Fruttuoso on their own schedule. Once again, should you be fortunate enough to have a boat at your disposal, that would be another convenient way to move around the area. There are rentals available in the harbor.
The most impressive thing about Portofino is the lifestyle, so running off and “seeing the sights” probably won’t be your number one priority when you plan your trip. There are some notable attractions that might be able to lure you from the beaches, but the view from the harbor or any of the surrounding beaches is unforgettable and one could spend the entire day marveling at it.
Castello Brown is a 16th-century castle/fort, once used for the area’s defense, but now primarily a museum with a fantastic view of the harbor and the Mediterranean Sea.
The church of St. Martin (Divo Martino) is around the corner from the harbor and is a quaint, stylish little chiesa from the 11th century. It’s definitely worth taking a casual stroll around it.
San Fruttuoso Abbey
The harmonious encounter between Man and Nature.
Having gone through various incarnations – a Benedictine monastery, a pirates’ den, a humble home of fisherfolk and then, for centuries, the property of the Princes of Doria – the Abbey of San Fruttuoso is today an utterly unique place, where the work of Man has been pleasingly integrated with that of Nature. Set within the breathtaking bay that opens up between Camogli and Portofino, the Abbey is a pearl dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries, which radiates out from the deep inlet on the coast of the promontory. The Nolare Tower,
built in the 11th centuries, is not only one of the most ancient parts of the original nucleus of the Abbey but also one of the most interesting towers anywhere in the Liguria region. The section that faces out to sea – complete with its delightful loggia, which has two orders of triple-mullioned windows – was built in the 13th century by the Doria family. The lower level of the cloister affords access to the deep, barrel-vaulted space that the monks reserved as a burial chamber, where the members of the Doria family were laid to rest.
A living museum of the life of the ancient monks.
During the restoration of the complex, a number of important artefacts were found in a storeroom, which document the history of the Abbey and, in particular, the life of the monks. Today, these artefacts, which came from a variety of places (Liguria, southern Italy and the
Islamic world), are collected in a museum that has been set up across the two floors of the main body of the Abbey. This part of the Abbey dates from the 13th century, though during the restoration it emerged that it had been built on top of even older Romanesque structures.
A tower to defend the Abbey from pirates.
An imperial eagle, the coat-of-arms of the Doria family, dominates the two facades of the Doria Tower that face out to sea. The Tower is accessed via a steep staircase that can be reached along the road that links the Abbey to the nearby fishing village (which dates from the 16th century). The Tower was erected in 1562 by the descendants of Admiral Andrea Doria to defend the village and its prized source of fresh water from incursions by the Barbary Corsairs.
The coast: www.portofinocoast.it/la_costa/la_costa_ligure-ita.html
San Fruttuoso: www.sanfruttuoso.eu