What to See

Portofino, a World apart
June 2010

The Christ of the Abyss

The Christ of the Abyss in San Fruttuoso

The Christ of the Abyss in San Fruttuoso stands 17 meters underwater

In the serene bay of San Fruttuoso, nestled between Camogli and Portofino Italy, lies a submerged treasure – the statue ofChrist of the Abyss. Born from the vision of Duilio Marcante, to commemorate the tragic death of Dario Gonzatti in a 1950 scuba dive, this submerged beacon was inaugurated on 22nd August 1954. Sculpted by the renowned Guido Galletti, the 2.5-meter tall statue stands 17 meters underwater. Interestingly, a blend of molten bronze from medals, naval artifacts, and even submarine propellers donated by the U.S. Navy, brought this majestic piece to life. With hands reaching towards the sky, it signifies a message of peace.

While the depths offer a breathtaking sight for divers, even those aboard can glimpse this underwater marvel with specialized field glasses. For a full experience, reach the bay via the scenic 15/20-minute boat ride from Portofino, departing every 45 minutes. For the adventurous souls, a challenging 2-hour hike from St. Martin’s church in Portofino offers a different thrill. Expertise, sturdy shoes, and ample hydration are a must.

San Fruttuoso, more than just the statue’s home, is a realm of romance. Envisage candlelit dinners with fresh fish specialties, perfect for heartfelt proposals. As dusk settles and the last boat departs, San Fruttuoso transforms into a secluded haven, almost island-like, detached from the world with only a handful of residents. The cacophony of daily life gives way to the cries of seagulls and the rhythmic lapping of waves.

One can choose to stay overnight in this quaint village, delving into a unique introspective experience. As twilight falls, the city boasts one of the region’s most unforgettable sunsets. The summer air fills with melodies from classical concerts, and a visit to the 13th-century monastery unveils a rich tapestry of paintings, ancient tombs, and statues.

Divers are particularly smitten with the bay, owing to its vibrant marine life. For those looking to bask in the sun, small boat rides promise spectacular vistas. Though San Fruttuosocharms its visitors day and night, remember practicality in attire. High heels might be chic but are recommended for short strolls only, especially for the more rugged tours.

Whether you’re drawn by the underwater Christ, the historical monastery, or the city’s romantic allure, San Fruttuoso promises an unforgettable encounter.

Portofino, a world apart.