Two years already, we discovered the small village of Portofino, an hour and a half from Paris, for April holidays.
Situated on the Ligurian coast, Portofino is a small village located 35km from the Airport of Genoa, in northern Italy ; you have probably already seen his postcard photos, with houses of pastel colors. Famous for its atmosphere, very jet-set during the summer months, in April is charming, there are few people, it’s cheaper and the whole region is easily discovered by boat, train or car.
After 45 minutes drive, we arrive in Portofino, if you have to take the train, the nearest is Santa Margherita Ligurie station, located in a golf creek of Tigullio. A bustling seaside resort with a lovely port and a park the Parco di Villa Durazzo, where you have a magnificent view of the city and the sea ; i advise you to spend a time there.
What hits you when you arrive, more than the landscape is the delicious fragrance of the bushes, the orange trees of Mexico, the smell of its small flowers is overwhelming. The hotel we chose Piccolo Portofino (via Duca degli Abruzzi, 31, 16034 Portofino) is facing the sea with its private beach and overlooks a small cove, we are five minutes walk from the center, an ideal location. The view from our room is totally a change of scenery. You don’t have a very wide choice to stay there, but this one is really top.
The piazzetta is the heart of the village, which can be visited very quickly, you have all the cafes, restaurants, luxury and souvenir shops, ice cream merchants who frame the square facing the sea. Going up to the Church of San Giorgio, you have the Punta di Portofino, behind the Fortezza of San Giorgio, known as Castle Brown (16th century), at the far point we arrive in front of a beautiful landscape, at our back the hills, the maquis, a luxuriant vegetation and the coast, the sea, the sailboats…magic.
Departure by boat to the pretty village of San Fruttuoso (which has been part of the foundation for the Defense of Heritage, FAI since 1983), built around a Benedictine Abbey, which became the property of the Doria family in the 13th century. The cloister and tombs are next to the Church. You will find in its waters the bronze statue of Christ of the Abyss, by Guido Galletti, which was descended in 1954. Every year, on the last Saturday of July, a ceremony is held in the bay to remember those who died at sea.
Discovering the five lands by ferry is perhaps the best thing to do, by train, even if it well connected, from Santa Margherita Ligurie station, you have no direct access, you have to make at least two changes. Once there, you have the stations of the five villages that follow each other : Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, on 20km. There is a path that can be done along the coast, but some roads have been closed, anyway if you plan to do a walk, put on sneakers. To describe the landscape to you, it is cliffs which plunge into the sea, small houses hung on rocks, clear waters it is full of charm ; but even in April it is crowded.
The whole region is really a little gem of Italy, its colors, its lights, its smells, its coves…the village of Portofino, but also the five lands can only touch you.
Restaurant adresses :
Ristorante Da Gemelli : Calata Marconi, 7, 16034 Portofino. Tél : +39 0185 269 257.
Ristorante Stella : Molo Umberto Primo, 3, 16034 Portofino. Tél : +39 0185 269 007.