Portofino sights include beautiful landscapes and beaches, a rocky coast, crystal sea water, the possibility of privacy and silence that attract the attention of famous artists, financiers, politicians. Madonna, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Demi Moore, George Clooney are often here. And in former times, among the guests of the city were Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemingway, Guy de Maupassant.
Portofino is located on the shores of the Gulf of Tigulli (Golfo dell Tigullio) twenty-five kilometers from the city of Genoa (Genova) in the National Park (Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino). From Rome (Roma), the capital of Italy, the city is separated by 377 km (north-west). On the geographical map of Portofino you can find the following coordinates: 44 ° 18'15 north latitude, 9 ° 12'26 "east longitude.
Portofino is notable for being part of the famous Riviera. So called the French-Italian coast of the Ligurian Sea (Mar Ligure), which stretches from Cannes (Cannes) to La Spezia.
City `s history
Although the first mention of Portofino dates back to the 10th century, there is every reason to believe that it appeared much earlier. The ancient Roman writer Pliny the Elder (Gaio Plinio Secondo), who lived in the first century AD, mentioned the existence in this bay of the Port of Delphini founded by the Romans. The name was given to dolphins living in these waters.
In 1229, Portofino became part of the Republic of Genoa (Repubblica di Genova), - and here they placed part of its fleet. An important role in this was played by the landscape of the coast: even in the most severe storm, the ships in the bay were safe.
Two hundred years later, King of France Charles VI (Carlo VI di Francia), leaving Genoa, sold the village of Florence (Firenze), but then Portofino returned to the Genoese Republic.
Due to its good location, the village was a bone of contention between the ruling families of Italy for several centuries, and passed from hand to hand until Napoleone Buonaparte troops entered it. Then Portofino became part of the Sardinian kingdom (Regno di Sardegna), and in 1861 became part of the united Italy.
Portofino was a classic fishing village for a long time, until at the end of the nineteenth century it attracted the attention of aristocrats. After that, the city became one of the most expensive resorts in the Mediterranean Sea.
The first thing a traveler sees when approaching Portofino along the southern coast is a steep and rocky coast. Then the church of San Giorgio is shown, located at the very edge of the cliff, below which the sea quietly splashes. Brown Castle rises above the temple. Far to the side, on the very edge of the cape, above a bright strip of rocks surrounded by green trees, you can see a lighthouse.
Then the ship goes around the cape, and the bay opens to the gaze of the traveler. Immediately striking is the small, cozy harbor located at the foot of the mountain, surrounded by bright two-three-story houses.
Portofino is a very small city. Its area is 2.5 km2, and the number of local residents ranges from 500 people, and the indigenous population is declining. For example, if in 1871 1035 inhabitants lived here, then in 2011 their number decreased to 453 people. Of these, forty are representatives of other states.
It is forbidden to build in the village itself, so it looks like it’s still in the courtyard of the nineteenth century. But the ban does not apply to the surrounding territories (and these are hills dotted with green forests). therefore Around the city there are many expensive private villas and hotels. Between the forks there are narrow stony corridors so that the traveler can pass.
Not everyone is allowed to build a villa near Portofino. Even the former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi (Silvio Berlusconi) permission had to seek several years.
The main square of Portofino is Piazzetta di Portofino. Vehicles are forbidden to drive here, so the rumble of cars does not disturb the hearing of citizens.
On the square there are shops, fish restaurants, hotels. To the right of Piazzetta is a park museum with various sculptures. Another advantage of the Piazzetta is that one of its edges has a descent to the sea, where luxury yachts and ships are moored.
On the square, parties are often held in which Italian and world stars participate. They say that some celebrities are found here on a weekday, which, however, raises doubts: thousands of tourists visit the city every day, and the powers that be are inclined to avoid them.
Marina Molo Umberto I
Portofino's marina is called Molo Umberto I. Expensive yachts moor here. Nearby is the yacht club, which annually organizes a sailing regattasince 2015 known as Coppa Carlo Negri Regata Primavera. The first race took place in 1945 at the initiative of Beppe Croce, president of the International Sailing Federation.
Therefore, every year at the beginning of May, many celebrities come here: the Tigulli Bay is considered one of the best places in the world for sailing.
Brown Castle (Castello Brown) is located on Via alla Penisola, 1. They built it as a fortification in the XVI century: from here the whole bay is clearly visible. They built Brown Castle instead of the older fortress that has been here since the tenth century. An English monarch Richard the Lionheart (Riccardo Cuor di Leone) visited it for five days on the eve of the third crusade (in 1190). In the XVI century. it was decided to demolish the old fortress and build a more powerful structure.
The construction of Castello Brown was completed in 1557. As a result, not only the castle was repaired and strengthened, but additional defense structures appeared around it. Among them is an observation tower. In the XVII century, during the war between the Republic of Genoa and the Duchy of Savoy (Ducato di Savoia), the building was expanded. In the XIX century the fortress lost its strategic importance and was abandoned for some time.
The English consul in Genoa Montague Brown Yates brought the castle back to life: he saw a powerful fortress from the sea, was fascinated by it and decided to buy it. This was done in 1867. The palace was restored and converted into a private villa. At the same time, the appearance of the castle was not touched. PMontagu Brown otomki owned the building until 1949, after which he became the property of the city (in 1961).
Now here is a museum where you can see antiques, paintings, sculptures, antique furniture. Of interest are photographs of famous people visiting the castle. Among them are Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier with children, Prince Philip, Audrey Hepburn.
Near Castello Brown there is a Mediterranean garden with many trees, flowers, bushes. You can walk along the shady alley, and relax in the gazebo. From the terraces and windows of the palace offers magnificent views of the city, the bay, neighboring villas.
Lighthouse (Faro di punta di Portofino) - an observation post and the adjacent two-story building are located on a cliff at the very extreme point of the cape. The road from Platzta here takes about half an hour. Exact address: Via della Penisola.
The cape ends with a small terrace. Further, the slope abruptly ends, and in front of the Ligurian Sea. It is better to admire the city and its environs from here in the morning or in the evening, when the rays of the setting or rising sun paint the sky with incredibly beautiful colors. Numerous pine trees grow around the lighthouse, which descend down the cliff and almost touch the waves of the sea breaking against the cliff.
Church of St. Martin
Church of St. Martin (La chiesa di San Martino) is considered the main temple of the city. It is located on Vicolo Nuovo, 42.
When the church was built, there is no exact data: the first documentary information about it appeared in the twelfth century, but some historians believe that the temple arose two centuries earlier. Consecrated La chiesa di San Martino much later - in 1548, when the relics of the martyrs Cassian, Vincenzo and Dorothea were placed near the main altar.
Over the centuries, the temple was rebuilt more than once, and during the Second World War it was destroyed. Then it was completely restored, taking as a basis the plan of the church of the XIX century.
La chiesa di San Martino is currently a Romanesque building. It is decorated with a medallion window located above the entrance and decorative elements along the cornice. The coloring of the temple is unusual: the facade is painted in restrained gray and yellow horizontal stripes.
If you stand facing the main entrance, a square bell tower is located on the right side of the building. Bells are viewed through large arched windows (two on each wall). Crowns the bell tower with a dome under which the clock is located.
The interior of the church is more brightly decorated. Altars here are decorated with gold, the ceiling is painted, as in the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina). Also here you can see old icons, stained glass. The visitors are attracted by the wooden sculptures of Jesus Christ, Our Lady, Mary Magdalena, John, as well as Joseph of Arimathea, in whose tomb was the body of Christ before his resurrection.
Chapel di Nostra Signora Assunta
The Chapel of St. Mary of Assunta (L'oratorio di Nostra Signora Assunta) is located on Via Roma. During the war, she did not suffer, therefore, is the oldest temple of Portofino.
It appeared in the XIV century, but after a hundred years it underwent a series of changes. This is a small Gothic church, the facade of which looks very modest. Inside, two richly decorated crucifixes with a white and black figure of the Savior attract attention. The first weighs 105 kg, the second - ten kilograms more. They are taken out of the temple during the holidays and important ceremonies.
Church of St. George
The Church of St. George (chiesa di San Giorgio) is located on Via alla Penisola 13, on the way to Brown Castle, a ten-minute walk up the promenade from Piazzetta Square. Pilgrims come here from all over the planet: the relics of St. George are stored inside the church, which the crusaders brought back on their return trip. Since then, St. George is considered the patron saint of Portofino, and in 1154 he built a temple on top of a cliff.
Recent excavations have shown that although the construction of the church dates back to the XII century, earlier in its place was a chapel built in the VI-VII century. monks of the Order of St. Columban. At the end of XVII in the church of St. George was rebuilt and paved to her a wide road from Piazzetta.
During the Second World War, a bomb hit the temple - and completely destroyed it. The chiesa di San Giorgio was restored in 1950 according to the plan of the old church. The facade looks quite simple, painted in saturated yellow. Reliefs of biblical scenes are carved on a wooden door. Inside the church is very light, although the interior is also modest.
The area in front of the temple is laid out in black and white with pebbles. Near the basilica there are two observation platforms. One has a view of the sea, and the other a bay. For the convenience of visitors there are benches where you can sit and rest. Near the temple is an old local cemetery.
Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte
The Abbazia di San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte abbey, although it refers to Portofino, is located far from the center. Exact address: Via S. Fruttuoso, 18. Walking here is problematic because you have to climb the hills and go down the steep cliffs. Therefore, the best option is maritime transport.
The monastery belongs to the Order of the Benedictines, and was built in the tenth-eleventh centuries. According to legend, the bishop who founded the abbey sailed on a ship that crashed in these waters. But since the priest transported the relics of St. Fruttuoso, he did not die, escaped, and founded a monastery on the coast. The relics of the saint are still stored here.
On the territory of the abbey there is a monastery, a church, a courtyard. There is also a watch tower, which in former times warned monks of impending disaster. It was erected in the XV century. by order of the influential Doria family. Here, on the territory of the abbey, is a mausoleum of this kind.
In 1915, a huge landslide destroyed the abbey, but it was quickly restored. After that, a sandy beach formed on the coast.
In the last century, the largest statue of Jesus under the water called “Christ from the Abyss” was erected near the abbey at a depth of 17 meters. A copy of the sculpture can be seen in the abbey.
Christ from the Abyss
A bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ, whose entire image is directed upward to heaven, appeared in coastal waters in August 1954. The authors called it Christ from the Abyss (Il Cristo degli Abissi) and dedicated Dario Gonzatti. This was the first Italian diver who died near the bay in 1947.
The height of the statue is 2.5 m, and it is located in the bay of San Fruttuoso, not far from the abbey, at a depth of 17 m.In spite of the great depth, it is not necessary to dive into the deep sea to see it. The water here is so clear and clear that if the weather is clear, the sculpture is clearly visible from an ordinary boat.
Recently, the monument had to be removed from the water and restored: the anchor dropped part of the arm. Therefore, it had to be reattached. At the same time, the sculpture was cleaned of algae, a new pedestal was built and returned to its place.
Regional Natural Park
Portofino Regional Natural Park (Parco naturale regionale di Portofino) covers an area of 18 km2. Almost all of its territory is occupied by mountains, on the slopes of which Mediterranean trees grow. There are many tourist paths (total length - 80 km). They lead to various viewing platforms, from where incredible panoramas open. One of these paths leads to the abbey of San Fruttuoso.
The first steps to protect the park were taken in the 30s. last century. But no one gave money for it. In 1978, the park went under the protection of the Leguria region, which led to the creation of a regional park. Among the trees here prevail olives, pines, chestnuts, oaks. Goats, wild boars, squirrels, lizards, salamanders, a lot of birds live.
Weather and climate
The weather in Portofino helps tourists visit the city all year round. Even in January, which is the coldest month of the year, the temperature rarely drops below zero, and the average values fluctuate between + 6 ° C. It can be hot here in summer and temperatures exceed + 30 ° C.
If we talk about what the average temperature is for months, then in the afternoon they are:
- January: + 10 ° C;
- February: + 9.3 ° C;
- March: 13.1 ° C;
- April: 16.7 ° C;
- May: 10 ° C;
- June: 24.7 ° C;
- July: 28 ° C;
- August: 28.1 ° C;
- September: 24.5 ° C;
- October: 19.8 ° C;
- November: 15.2 ° C;
- December: 15.2 ° C;
The air is humid, but there is no stuffiness due to the pleasant sea breeze and good air circulation. The swimming season lasts from late May to late September. The water temperature in this period is about 24 ° C. It should be noted that Portofino is the owner of the blue flag, which is awarded to ecologically clean regions: the sea and beaches are clean.
What time is better to go
No matter what time of year a tourist comes, thanks to the warm Mediterranean weather, he will be met by a riot of colors and flowers of nature. Even in January, here you can see tangerines, oranges, persimmons on the trees.
Most tourists in July and August. Since the "powers that be" also tend to visit Portofino at this time of the year, summer prices in the city skyrocket. For example, a cup of coffee in Platzta will cost 15 euros, and the average bill is 200 euros. Therefore, if you want to eat, you need to go to the harbor. Lunch at the El Portico pizzeria will cost 50 euros.
But do not think that having arrived in the village in June-August, you can easily see how Sylvester Stallone or Madonna walk in the center. The rich and famous people are usually avoided, and appear in the evening, when many tourists leave the village. Since hotel prices here are extremely high and Portofino's sights can be explored in one day, many prefer to stay in less expensive hotels in nearby cities.
Therefore, if you want to just visit the city and see its sights, while the beaches, as well as the opportunity to explore the underwater world, are not particularly interested, It’s better to come to Portofino in the middle of spring or autumn. At this time, the vacation season has already ended or has not yet begun, prices are falling, there are few tourists, the weather is warm. Therefore, you can safely walk and see the sights.
Where to stay
When planning a vacation and finding an overnight stay, it is necessary to take into account that you can explore all the attractions of Portofino in one to two days. But if you plan to study the underwater world, it will take more time.
There are few hotels in Portofino, just over a dozen. All are equipped with TVs, air conditioning, located near the beaches. Rooms here must be booked in advance, otherwise you can stay without an overnight stay. The price varies depending on the season and the hotel, starting from one hundred euros.
If you could not find a suitable option for the price or all the seats are occupied, it does not matter. Experienced travelers are advised to book rooms in the nearby cities of Santa Margherita Ligure or Rapallo. The rooms here are cheaper.
A night in a double room of Belmond Hotel Splendido & Belmond Splendido Mare will cost 800-2 thousand euros. The hotel has two buildings: one on a hill and the other not far from Piazzetta. Primary address: Salita Baratta 16.
On the territory of the hotel there is a swimming pool, a fitness center, a wellness center, restaurants, a children's playground. Guests are offered diving, cycling, a tennis court, and free Wi-Fi. Allowed disembodied accommodation with animals.
Four stars has the Hotel Piccolo Portofino. It is located at Via Duca degli Abruzzi 31 on a hillside, half a kilometer from the city center. Here, a double room will cost from 100 to 200 euros, family - 250 euros. It offers beautiful views of the sea and the city. To services of tourists - a private beach. There are terraces with sea views. No pets allowed.
Eight Hotel Portofino is located on Via Del Fondaco 11. It features a hot tub, sauna and Turkish bath. Lovers of outdoor activities are offered diving, canoeing, bicycles, and a golf course. Guests can relax on a sun lounger on the terrace. The beach is nine minutes walk (entrance fee). Free parking is provided on the day of arrival. Here, a double room in the absence of a season will cost 300-500 euros. Pets are allowed.
Three stars hotel has Eden. It is located a hundred meters from the harbor, in the city center on Via Dritto 20. There is a restaurant, a small garden, free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, pets are welcome. The beach is less than five minutes away by car. The price per night is about 200 euros.
The Civico 3 apartment is located at Vico Canonica 3. A double room here will cost you 120 euros, designed for four people - two hundred. Among the services - paid parking, free internet. There is a living room, kitchen, bathroom. The rooms have a fan and city views. Pets are not allowed.
The rooms of Brezza Di Portofino are located in the city center, near Piazzetta, at Via Roma 11. There is a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathtub, a living room. The window offers a view of the city, the sea. Pets are welcome at an additional cost. No smoking. Double room will cost about 200 euros.
Experience Portofino apartments are located near the main square at Salita San Giorgio 11. The rooms are located on the ground floor and are originally decorated with antique furniture. There is a bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room. Free Wi-Fi is provided. Pets are welcome for free, by prior arrangement. Prices range from 150 to 250 euros.
How to get there
When planning a trip to Portofino, you need to keep in mind that you will most likely have to go here with transfers. Therefore, it is better to plan your way through Genoa: between this city and Portofino, communication is best established.
The most convenient way to get to Portofino is by sea: many ships come here from different points of the Mediterranean Sea. Including - a ferry from Genoa from the nearest settlements to the city (Santa Margarita Ligure, Camogli, Rapallo, etc.).
Closest to all Portofino is the airport in Genoa. He is known as the international airport. Christopher Columbus (Aeroporto di Genova-Cristoforo Colombo). We recommend you to compare airfare at www.aviasales.ru
You can get to Portofino from it by bus, taxi or car rental. The distance between the airport and Portofino on the highway is about 45 km. Some hotels send a car for their guests. Therefore, when booking a room you need to clarify this point. You can order a transfer in advance at kiwitaxi.ru
There is no train station in the city: the nearest train station to Portofino is located in Santa Margherita Ligure. Trains stopping here on the route Rome-Genoa-Turin (Roma-Genova-Torino) and Bologna-Parma-Genoa (Bologna-Parma- Genova).
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From Santa Margarita Ligure to Portofino you can get by ferry, taxi or wait for the bus that goes to Piazza Liberty (Piazza Martiri della Libertà). It leaves from the train station every 15 minutes. You can also walk. The road will take an hour and a half.
You can drive to Portofino in a rented car, first getting to Santa Margarita Ligure. It should be borne in mind that it is forbidden to travel by car on Portofino. Therefore, it must be left in a paid parking lot. One of them is located on Piazza Martiri della Libertà. It is open 24 hours a day, five hours of parking will cost somewhere in 16 euros.
If the time for travel will be chosen in the summer, one must be prepared for the fact that there will be no free parking space. Therefore, at the entrance to Portofino, there is a risk that a police officer will stop the car and ask him to wait until he receives a signal that the parking place has been vacated.