What to See

Portofino, a World apart
    November 2015

    Lighthouse, Molo Umberto and Oratory

    Lighthouse of Portofino. Italy.

    Portofino’s Lighthouse

    The lighthouse is place at the base of Mount Portofino and it is at the start of the bay. It may be reached by ground from a nice walk around the green which starts from the right side of the piazzetta, until St. George’s Church and from then onto the lighthouse. We advise wearing comfortable shoes and lots of drinks.

    The lighthouse with its white tower, with an adjacent two stories high building, it is of the 3 second interval, red light type and of 7 meters range. Even today, it is a precise focus for boats, as it is the farthest place on the natural port which is very well protected from winds and billows.

    Umberto I° Pier
    It houses the docks where luxurious yachtes that have made the history of Portofino stand. In future times, at the end of the pier Umberto, one will be able to use a lift to get from there to Castle Brown. At the end, one may find local fishermen fixing their nets.

    June 2010

    The Christ of the Abyss

    Portofino Christ Abyss

    The statue was created from an idea of Duilio Marcante who, following the death of Dario Gonzatti during a scuba dive in 1950, pushed for the building of an underwater statue of Christ; on the 22nd August 1954 the statue of Christ of the Abyss was placed in the bay facing San Fruttuoso, between Camogli and Portofino.

    San Fruttuoso is a very romantic city even at night where one may dine with typical fish dishes by candlelight. It is the best place to propose. During the summer season there are various classical music concerts. In San Fruttuoso there is a XIII Century Monastery which is very nice. The statue, which is about 2,50 metres tall and was built by sculptor Guido Galletti, was placed with the help of the Italian Navy at about 17 metres below the water surface. Christ’s hands face the surface (or the sky, if the statue weren’t under water) and are wide as a sign of peace. In order to obtain the bronze to make the statue medals, naval items (even submarines propellers donated by the U. S. Navy) and bells were molten together.

    One may catch the statue even from the water surface thanks to some underwater field-glasses.

    June 2010

    St. George and St.Martin Churches


    The peculiar veneration towards St. George is proven by the attention given to His sanctuary, parts of which had been destroyed in the 1944 bombings, from the many ex-priests. The rise to St. George can be taken from the piazzetta on the right. A few minutes romantic walk. Ample view with available field-glasses. We suggest wearing a small sweater from the afternoon on. It is advised to bring liquids and suitable shoes

    From the Castle Tower one may get a good view of the headland extending itself onto sea for 4 km, in addition to the Tigullio gulf and its thermal baths from the mountain passes of the Appennino Ligure. From the adjacent small castle and the near tower one may see a big sector of the Alto Tirreno Sea. The peculiar position of this observing place had been chosen by the Byzantines of the Eastern Roman Empire for the control and the sighting of ships approaching the coast in aid of the fleet residing in Genova. Often in ancient times, the lookout and protection duties would be given to the owners of churches-observatories dedicated to saints who protected against illnesses, injuries and wounds such as St. Apollinare, St. Pantaleo, St. Eufemiano. The general protection in Portofino was in the hands of St. George.

    June 2010

    Castle Brown, the Fortress of Portofino

    Portofino Castello Brown

    The Castle Brown is surrounded by a Mediterranean garden rich in flowers, rose gardens and arbors. The landscape is consistently enchanting facing the gulf until the Baffe tip. The room on the first floor, is covered by domes of Lombard type on the centre of which there is a big triptych and, on the right side, a Majolica stove. During the afternoon a small sweater or top is usually advisable when in Portofino.

    Built around the year 1000 in a strategic position in order to control the entrance to the inlet. In the following centuries it was renovated and enlarged time after time. Mid-way through the renovation traces of an existing roman tower dating between the II-III century AD were found. Since 1961 it is owned by the Town of Portofino which often uses it for exhibitions. The castle is surely worth visiting thanks to the wonderful landscape that can be enjoyed from there and which comprises the whole Town of Portofino and the bay.

    May 2009

    Santa Margherita Ligure

    Port of Santa Margherita Ligure

    Santa Margherita Ligure, is one of the most picturesque little towns of the Eastern Riviera. In summer it is a fashionable bathing resort.  The beach is mainly of pebble but there are modern bathing establishments especially after the tourist port trough Portofino. During the colder part of the year it attracts a large number of visitors, as it is a quiet, restful, sunny place. It receives a larger amount of sunshine than its near neighbour, Rapallo, but is not quite so well sheltered. The population numbers about 9,000. In winter, tennis and boating are the chief outdoor recreations, apart from the excursions which can be made on foot or by car in the beautiful country behind the town, and in a steamer along the coast to Rapallo, Portofino, Camogli and San Fruttuoso. Indoor amusement is catered for by a theatre, cinemas, and numerous ballrooms.

    May 2008

    The Monastery of Cervara

    Portofino Cervara Monastery

    The Monastery of Cervara, found halfway between Santa Margherita and Portofino, is an important complex that fivm the middle ages received many illustrious guests who were travelling along the Dolphin coast. The name of the monastery derives from the Cervara family who were the proprietors of a good deal of land in the area.

    Interesting to note is the etymology of the name: Cervara derives from “cervaria” with the variations “servaria” “sylvaria” from “sarvea” which is a dialect word for the modern Italian word “selva” which means a thick forest. The forests and the presence of the sea rendered this solitary spot all but inaccessable and thus particularly suitable for prayer and meditation. The old church and the belltower were constructed in 1361 by the archbishop of Genoa, Guido Scetten, a gentile poetic spirit who, while visiting Portofino wished that the church of his dreams could be built on the highest peak in the vicinity called “Cervara”. Here he would be able to come to rejuvenate his soul much taxed by the numerous cares of his ministery.