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Adventures Ashore: Camogli, San Fruttuoso & Portofino

We stepped on board a comfortable boat for a half-day tour roundtrip Santa Margherita. Cruising along the coastline of the Italian Riviera, we saw Portofino from another perspective, its backside. I could tell already that we were in for an extremely picturesque day.

Our first stop was in the tiny Bay of San Fruttuoso. The bay is famous for its 10th-century abbey. There are only two ways to get here, by hiking or by boat. San Fruttuoso’s seclusion is appealing and we stayed in the bay for about 10 minutes to admire the natural setting.

Next stop, Comogli. The architecture of the city is simply stunning. It resembles a quiet fishing village mixed with a Mediterranean resort.

It’s said that Camogli comes from the shortened case delle mogli (“house of wives”), having derived its name from the women who watched over the town while their husbands were away at sea.

Camogli’s original medieval setting was centered around the local parish church, located on an island that was completely detached from the mainland. Today, this island is connected to the mainland by a little square surrounded by colorful buildings and one of the most beautiful Baroque churches along the Italian coastline. I loved buildings facing the sea, painted in the muted pinks, yellows, and terra-cottas, suitable for a postcard or at least Instagram.

Our next stop was Portofino. The town is clustered around the tiny harbor. It’s hard to imagine that there is a traveler alive who hasn’t seen the colorful buildings depicted in photographs of Portofino. It’s one of Italy’s most iconic seaside towns, which explains why Portofino is a popular destination for celebrities and travelers alike. You can hike all the way up to Brown Castle, where you can tour the grounds for a fee, or spend your time at the waterfront having a glass of wine and admiring the harbor

I hiked up to the church of San Giorgio. Though there were a lot of stairs, and the path continued up and up and up. But it was worth the effort to see the beautiful church. As an added bonus, the church terrace provided a gorgeous panorama over the harbor and tiny Portofino down below.

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