Portofino

Portofino from the Castle – Photo © R. Schmuck
Portofino from the Castle – Photo © R. Schmuck

“A little village stretching like an arch of the moon around a quiet basin. Never have I felt the way I did when I walked into that green indefiniteness, with such a sense of peace and fulfilment”.
From Vie Errante by Guy de Maupassant

It was Pliny who first described this stunning natural area and named it ‘Portus Delphini’. This over time was corrupted to Portofino.

Portofino is a typical fisherman village of the Ligurian Riviera which has become one of the most renowned tourist spots in all of Italy, best known in all the world for its tall colored houses situated in a semicircular formation around the small port and piazza.

Portofino at Christmas – Photo © R. Schmuck
Portofino at Christmas – Photo © R. Schmuck

Portofino and the Tigullio Gulf are symbols representing Italy throughout the world. The coast is a sequence of fashionable resorts with their marinas, pastel-colored houses, first-rate sports facilities and the seductive atmosphere of the Dolce Vita.

But perhaps the most striking thing for the traveler is the beauty of the seascapes, with some of the most celebrated views in Italy, suspended between the intense blue of the sea and the green mountains.

The area of Portofino boasts an exceptional natural heritage that includes traces of rural and nautical civilizations, splendid religious architecture, and clusters of rural houses surrounded by tiny orchards and sections of land planted with grape vines and olive trees.

Portofino – the Castle – Photo © R. Schmuck
Portofino – the Castle – Photo © R. Schmuck

In Portofino don’t miss a visit to the Brown Castle, there is a terrace with breathtaking view on both the open sea and the Bay of Portofino (the pictures in this page are all shot from the terrace). The Brown Castle was a stronghold of enormous strategic importance, it watched over the entire Tigullio Gulf and the towns located along its coast, not to mention the transport routes leading over the Eastern Ligurian Apennine Mountains.

It was located in a strategic position for sanitary controls too, which were done to prevent as much as possible plagues and infections.

Flanked by the nearby fortress and adjacent lookout tower, the stronghold guarded wide stretches of the Upper Tyrrhenian Sea.

Now the Castle is a Portofino municipal property since 1961 and it is the seat of the offices of the Sea-Park.

The sea around the coast of Portofino is a protected marine reserve  – www.riservaportofino.it

And don’t miss a visit to the Brown Castle, there is a terrace with breathtaking view on both the open sea and the Bay of Portofino (the pictures in this page are all shot from the terrace). The Brown Castle was a stronghold of enormous strategic importance, it watched over the entire Tigullio Gulf and the towns located along its coast, not to mention the transport routes leading over the Eastern Ligurian Apennine Mountains.

Flanked by the nearby fortress and adjacent lookout tower, the stronghold guarded wide stretches of the Upper Tyrrehnian Sea.

This site became a vital stronghold fort the protection of vessels and a strategic lookout within the fortification system defending the Tigullio coastline from covert landings to Italy’s coast. It was located in a strategic position for sanitary controls too, which were done to prevent as much as possible plagues and infections. Now the Castle is a Portofino municipal property since 1961 and it is the seat of the offices of the Sea-Park.


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When and how to get there, and useful tips:

Portofino can be very crowded during the high season, the narrow road to get there is often a long bumper-to-bumper in these days and you even have electronic info on the road, telling you the approximate waiting time before you may reach Portofino.

Visit Portofino in Spring or Autumn, or, better, in a sunny winter day: you will have a magic place all for yourselves, and, if you are there in the peak season, take the boat from Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo or Camogli instead of driving.

The regular-service bus from Santa Margherita to Portofino comes at intervals of approx. 20 minutes.

Hotels and restaurant prices in Portofino are really extremely high: if you want to eat on the “piazzetta” you will pay for the location, the view, and the privilege of doing so. If you want a restaurant on a budget, but with more than decent quality, even if not on the waterfront, try a place where the locals go: Trattoria Concordia, 4, Via del Fondaco, Portofino Mare Phone 0185 269207.

In summertime, on Saturdays, the night boat trip from Portofino to Genoa is very romantic, a good memory of Italy.

Where to stay in Portofino

Hotels, B&Bs, apartments and villas in Portofino: search and make a reservation here.

Copycats Portofinos outside Italy:

Portofino has even been recreated in stupendous detail around the ‘harbor’ at Tokyo DisneySea in Chiba, Japan, and to a much lesser extent, the Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida, but these are just pale copies of the original, as they are missing the magic of the wooded hills surrounding the original Portofino in Italy, the blue of the sea as well as the magic of the atmosphere, of the people, of the food….so, stay with the original Portofino in Italy!