Portofino is one of the most characteristic and prettiest fishing villages in Italy. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a symbol of beauty and elegance for both Liguria and Mediterranean tourism and is famous throughout the world as one of the favourite destinations of the international jet set. Lying on the western side of the Gulf of Tigullio, Portofino was built around a harbour at the foot of the Portofino promontory. If you approach from the sea, you are greeted by rows of tall, brightly coloured houses which are arranged in a semicircle around the famous square and protected by the hills behind which are carpeted with olive groves. Here the sea reflects the colours of nature and the characteristic houses and is dotted with the many yachts that carry their prestigious cargo of regulars who have fallen in love with the town. In Portofino the days pass in total bliss, in a bubble of exclusive relaxation. A walk from the famous square, with its stunning array of exclusive boutiques, becomes a steep climb along the characteristic narrow streets of the town up to Brown Castle, with its lush green parkland, and the lighthouse standing 40 metres above the sea which has been in operation since 1910. Here you must stop for a rest and drink in the unforgettable view over the stunning bay. Another must-see is the church of Saint George, built in the 12th century in honour of the patron saint who is celebrated every year on 23 April with a traditional bonfire in the square. The church porch is decorated with a traditional Ligurian black and white stone mosaic made of pebbles from the sea. On one side, the view of the cliff with its sheer drop into the waters of the Marine Protected Area is truly breath-taking. The open-air museum in the garden behind Portofino marina, with its sculptures of contemporary art by internationally acclaimed artists, is also well worth a visit.
Local cuisine, traditional dishes, interesting facts
Portofino eateries have something for everyone, offering up some great tasty alternatives whether you just want to grab a quick meal or prefer a more upmarket restaurant. If it’s a quick bite you’re after, as well as trying the proverbial Ligurian focaccia, we highly recommend the delicious Recco focaccia, baked in a wood fired oven and filled with melted cheese, or the ‘farinata di ceci’, a flatbread made with chickpeas, water and oil and baked in the oven in a copper tray. Lovers of more gourmet fare, on the other hand, can enjoy the exclusive atmosphere of the many restaurants in Portofino and try some of the typical local specialties: the main ones are the famous pasta with pesto, fish, shellfish and lobsters.
Where to eat enjoying a bottle of Acqua San Benedetto
Belmond Hotel Splendido