Portofino-1Portofino-2
Discover Portofino
Mosaic city hidden in a cozy bay

The scenery for the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and a source of inspiration for designers Dolce & Gabbana

Districts of Portofino

Portofino's area is only 2.5 km², which is why there is no division into districts. Indeed, the city actually consists of one street.

Map Portofino

Population

Portofino can be considered home to about 400 people who are actively engaged in tourism. In the holiday season, the population of the city increases several times due to visitors.

Brief History

The first mention of this territory dates back to the 1st century BC when Pliny the Elder described the Roman Portus Delphini in his treatise. It was located on the Ligurian coast between Genoa and the Tigullio Gulf. In 1171, Portofino was included in the Rapallo comune along with Santa Margherita Ligure. In 1229, the city became part of the Republic of Genoa. Fishing boats were located in the natural harbor, although the merchant fleet of the republic could only be located temporarily there. Due to the landscape, ships were safe in the bay even in the most severe storm.

In 1409, Portofino temporarily belonged to the Republic of Florence, subordinate to the French king Charles VI. At the same time, after the French were banished from Genoa, the city returned to its former composition. In 1815, Portofino became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, whereas, in 1861, it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

At the end of the XIX century, the city was developed as a resort, due to the fact that it was noticed by European aristocrats. They purposefully traveled to Portofino from nearby Santa Margherita Ligure with the help of horse-drawn carts. Foreigners began to actively build villas and hotels here; therefore, by 1950, tourism had become the main source of profit for the city instead of fishing. As a result, the embankment was turned into an endless series of restaurants and cafes.

Today, Portofino maintains its status as a prestigious and expensive resort. In fact, local laws help preserve the city’s image by prohibiting the construction of modern buildings that ruin historical architecture.

Trip budget

Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:

Hotels
booking

Apartment
rental

Taxi
fare

Gasoline

Average bill
in restaurant

from 262 €/nightfrom 198 €/nightStart - 5.01 €, 1km - 1.5 €1.54 €/liter50 € for 2 person

The best time to visit Portofino

Portofino has a mild and sunny Mediterranean climate. The winter is warm, with average temperatures of + 6 ... + 7 °C. In summer, the air warms up to +28 °C. The tourist season lasts from late May to late September when the water temperature is around +24 °C.

Useful notes

Portofino has only several small free beaches that are pretty hard to find. A clean and equipped sandy beach in Paragi can be considered the best place for swimming; it is located a 5-minute drive from Portofino.

In order to save money, it is better to rent a house in the neighboring villages of Portofino, such as Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo. In these towns, a hotel room costs at least half of the price in Portofino.

A similar tip can be applied to restaurants and cafes — the closer to the center, the more expensive the dishes. The most affordable prices are at the harbor itself.

What should a tourist do in Portofino

  • Wander around the old Castello Brown, built in the 15th century. Four centuries later, the castle became a private villa of the English consul, who celebrated his wedding and planted two pine trees symbolizing the newlyweds here. These trees are still located near the main entrance. The building has preserved some original interiors with bas-reliefs, marble finishes, and beautiful furniture. The castle is surrounded by a lush Mediterranean garden.
  • Buy a marble mortar with a wooden pestle to cook a real pesto sauce at home, which was invented in this region. It is cooked on the basis of olive oil, basil, and seeds of stone pine (Italian pine). In our geographical region, these seeds can easily be replaced with pine nuts. All ingredients, including salt and garlic, should be crushed in a mortar to a homogeneous consistency. Pesto can be eaten simply with bread or used as an addition to pasta, risotto, and even potatoes.
  • Visit the main temple of the city — St. Martin's Church. Thanks to the high bell tower, it is still visible from the central square. Simultaneously, this church is about 1000 years old. During this period, it was rebuilt and reconstructed numerous times. A distinctive feature of this building is the facade with a round stained-glass window, painted in gray and yellow colors. In spite of the fact that it looks like a primitive building, the interior includes large chandeliers, considerable frescoes, and high columns with arched openings.
  • Enjoy local organic products. Ligures are proud of their olives, its oil, and focaccia. Another highlight of the region is anchovies. They can be found in different forms: fried, stuffed with pesto sauce, fresh, baked, and pickled. The rest of the seafood (mussels, squid, shrimp, sea bass, and dorado) also has a variety of benefits, such as unique taste and freshness.
  • Visit the church of St. George, built in 1154. It can be reached by a direct road from the central square. During World War II, it was completely destroyed by a bomb. However, by 1950, this church had been rebuilt. Inside of the building, you can find the relics of St. George (the patron saint of Portofino), which were brought from the crusades. Moreover, you have the opportunity to observe the entire Portofino and the bay of San Fruttuoso from the observation deck of the church.
  • Take a walk around La Piazzetta. It is forbidden to use transport here, which creates an atmosphere of calmness and comfort. On this square, city guests can find shops, fish restaurants, and hotels. Besides, there is a park with a variety of sculptures. You can also go down to the sea, where luxury yachts and ships are moored at the marina.
  • Find the sunken statue of Jesus Christ in the depths of the neighboring bay, 8 kilometers away from Portofino. In 1954, a 2.5-meter bronze sculpture was purposely flooded here, in honor of the first Italian scuba diver Dario Gonzatti, who died seven years earlier in this place. Due to its unusual location, it was named "Christ of the Abyss." Thanks to the clear water, you can see this work of art without going down to it with scuba gear. In fact, you can appreciate it by simply swimming with a mask and snorkel.

Hotels in Portofino

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