Visiting Portofino in winter
“What could we do today?” “What about a trip to Portofino?”
“And here, suddenly the discovery of a hidden cove, olives and chestnut trees. A small village, Portofino, spreads like a crescent moon around this calm basin. We slowly cross the narrow passage that unites this magnificent natural harbor to the sea, and we go to the amphitheater of houses, surrounded by a forest of a powerful and fresh green, and everything reflects in the mirror of the calm waters, where some fishing boats seem to sleep.”
Guy de Maupassant
In Portofino, from the end of September till May, you can walk quietly, listening to the sound of footsteps on the cobblestones of the Ligurian pavement, enjoying the lapping, the hum of the inboard engine of the legendary local fishing boats, the gozzi, and the tolling of bells.
Portofino during the off-season is pure magic.
Visiting Portofino after November sea storm
The fall in recent years is putting a strain on Liguria, and even 2018 has given its best with oceanic style sea storm, spectacular and devastating.
The damage has been disproportionate throughout the region, and the Tigullio Gulf has been hit hard. In particular, the provincial road 227 that connects the village to Santa Margherita Ligure was literally torn by the force of the waves. However, they’re already working on its restoration.
Meanwhile, Portofino can be reached by sea, taking a ferry in Santa Margherita.
- Departures: 8, 9:30, 11:30, 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and on weekends also 7 p.m.
- Return rides: 8:30, 10, 12:15, 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and on weekends also 7:30 p.m.
In addition to these, there are always private boats and for the more sporty, only in the daytime, a nice hike from Camogli, passing by San Fruttuoso.
What to see in a day in Portofino
Visiting Portofino offers enchantment even if wandering through the paths of the village, admiring colors and harmony of the facades and smiling in front of never dull glimpses, even for those who have lived in the region since ever.
That said, there are some sightseeing spots you can’t miss!
In the oldest part of the village, the parish church in Romanesque-Lombard style is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tour.
It was donated to the monks of San Fruttuoso, from Queen Adelaide, widow of Otto I.
The bronze portal signed by Costanzo Mongini depicts a miracle that occurred in the eighteenth century, when Saint George saved Portofino from an assault by pirates, triggering a sea storm.
The church of Saint George
The church of Saint George is a tiny oval temple overlooking the cliff from which it dominates the village and whose parvis the sea can be admired as from the bridge of a ship. You can reach it by following a red brick path, and this is already a bit of magic …
Under the church, you can step on a charming mule track; today, a cobblestone path is beaten by millions of more or less famous tourists, which invites to dream and imagine and leads to the lighthouse on the slopes of the mountain, offering all along the way cinematic landscapes framed by majestic seafarers pines.
A lighthouse is always a mythical construction, bringing me back to legends and adventures.
A lighthouse always invites navigation, and from this one, you don’t simply breathe the salty air, but also moss, pine, rocks, and eucalyptus.
Moored the imaginary sailing ship, you can come back ashore, to reality, to walk along a new path that this time leads to the ancient Castle of Saint George, now Brown.
It is an ancient military fortress placed in an elevated position at the entrance to the inlet, and excavations have highlighted the remains of a Roman watchtower. Today’s structure dates back to the XVI century when the Genoese Republic began works to enlarge both internal and external volumes, later continued by Napoleon, who strengthened the defensive elements.
With the Vienna Congress, the castle lost strategic importance and was disarmed.
In 1870 it was sold to Sir Montague Yeats Brown, English consul in Rome.
Since 1961 the castle is owned by the municipality of Portofino and is home to cultural events.
The rooms of the castle open onto the sea, offering beautiful views and light games. The terrace then dominates the village on one side, and the other overlooks the Gulf. How not to feel noble when standing there 😉
To return to the village, I recommend the path that also leads to the bunkers of the Second World War and that plunges completely into the Mediterranean. The festival of perfumes and plays of light and shadow seems almost romantic, so perfect along this path. No wonder Portofino has always been a chosen set for films and commercials!
Everything seems to be calculated, designed so that it feels like you’re in front of a great master’s canvas.