The Villas of Portofino

Portofino, a World apart
September 2023

Il Castelletto of Portofino


Il Castelletto of Portofino

Nestled in the heart of Portofino, Il Castelletto stands as a unique watchtower worthy of remembrance. Historical chronicles recount, “…it was an ancient lookout, used to spot the Saracens. Owned by the Prato family for over 120 years, the property has seen several renovations, elevating its splendor to the state we witness today.”

Positioned strategically, Il Castelletto offers panoramic views of the entirety of Portofino. Turning eastward, one can behold the coastal expanse curving around the Gulf of Tigullio. The vista stretches beyond, encompassing the island of Tino in the Gulf of La Spezia.

Its unrivaled elevation allows for breathtaking views over the Gulf of Genoa to Capo Mele. Amidst this vast maritime canvas, ships sail seamlessly, their paths crossing in all directions. On particularly clear days, even the distant islands of Gorgona, Capraia, and Corsica emerge on the horizon.

In 1909, the enchanting estate was acquired by the widow of Lord Carnarvon. Through a series of exchanges, it found its way to the renowned British journalist, Alessandro Clifford, in 1948. Clifford’s love for Portofino echoed through his writings, immortalized in the San Giorgio church.


Beautiful View from Il Castelletto of Portofino

Post the Second World War, the estate witnessed several ownership transitions until its last known owner, Professor Francesco Berlingeri of Genoa. This eminent Maritime Law attorney took over the Maritime Law chair at the University of Genoa from his grandfather. Such individuals, undeniably, contribute to amplifying Portofino’s global prestige.

A nostalgic historical snippet: An English visitor, speculated to be a friend of Mrs. Brodie Oppenheim (owner of Il Castelletto between 1931 to 1948), frequently sailed around Portofino. Local children were particularly intrigued by his prominent snake tattoo, dubbing him “the man of snakes.” Tales were rife about his familiarity with the Ligurian coast, having resided in Portofino for extended periods.

Rumors now suggest that this illustrious property is attracting international attention for its sale, potentially being acquired by the renowned hotel chain. The speculated price tag? A staggering 20 million euros.

Portofino, a world apart.