The port at Portofino as seen from the church.

Portofino is an Italian fishing village that has scrubbed itself spotlessly clean, dressed itself in all new but traditional clothes, and invited the well-to-do neighbors to come over for a visit. The result is not necessarily totally authentic, but very picturesque and quite enjoyable.

The village proper is composed of only a few streets, with narrow multi-story buildings of smooth stucco or plaster, freshly painted in pastel tones of pink, rose, taupe, and yellow, set off by contrasting doors and shutters. The town is centered on the tiny harbor which is the mooring place for everything from small wooden rowboats to fifty-foot luxury yachts.

Overlooking the town from a hill forming one arm of the harbor there is a small church. Higher up, there is an old fortress or keep. The town itself consists predominantly of buildings with restaurants, shops and cafes on the ground floor and living quarters above.

Portofino is most striking when it is approached from the water. The small tourist boats make the short trip from Rapallo or Santa Margherita several times a day, dropping off a load of visitors and picking up the previous group for the return.

Portofino is on Italy's Ligurian coast, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of Genoa. It can be reached by car, but the water approach is much more spectacular. Drive or take the train to Santa Margherita, then take one of the scheduled boats to Portofino. The boat will pick you up again in 2-3 hours, ample time to sightsee and have a snack or a drink.


Copyright 2001 Harry B. Rowe