Portofino (Italian pronunciation: [ˌpɔrtoˈfiːno]; Ligurian: Portofin [ˌpɔɾtuˈfiŋ]) is a comune located in the Metropolitan City of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is clustered around its small harbour, and is known for the colourfully painted buildings that line the shore.[3] Since the late 19th century, Portofino has attracted tourism of the European aristocracy and it is now a resort for the world's jet set.[4][5]

Comune di Portofino
View of Portofino
View of Portofino
Coat of arms of Portofino
Location of Portofino
Portofino is located in Italy
Location of Portofino in Italy
Portofino is located in Liguria
Portofino (Liguria)
Coordinates: 44°18′14″N 9°12′28″E / 44.30389°N 9.20778°E / 44.30389; 9.20778
Metropolitan cityGenoa (GE)
 • MayorMatteo Viacava
 • Total2.53 km2 (0.98 sq mi)
4 m (13 ft)
 (31 December 2021)[2]
 • Total379
 • Density150/km2 (390/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0185
Patron saintSt. George
Saint daySt. George's Bonfire: 23 April. Religious celebration the first Sunday after.
WebsiteOfficial website

History edit

Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79) referred to Portus Delphini (Port of the Dolphin) as on the Ligurian coast between Genoa and the Gulf of Tigullio.[6]

The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte. In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction. After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa. The town's natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa.

In 1409, when Charles VI of France was Doge of Genoa, he sold Portofino to the Republic of Florence. When Charles was ousted from Genoa, the Florentines gave it back. In the 15th century it was a fief of families such as the Fieschi, Spinola, Adorno, and Doria.

In 1815, it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and, from 1861, of the unified Kingdom of Italy.

In the late 19th century, first British, then other Northern European aristocratic tourists began to visit Portofino, which they reached by horse and cart from Santa Margherita Ligure. Aubrey Herbert and Elizabeth von Arnim were among the more famous English people to make the area fashionable.[7] Eventually, more expatriates built expensive holiday houses, and by 1950, tourism had replaced fishing as the town's chief industry, and the waterfront was a continuous ring of restaurants and cafés.

Main sights edit

  • Statue of Christ of the Abyss, placed underwater on 29 August 1954 in the inlet at a depth of 17 metres (56 ft). This statue was placed to protect fishermen and scuba divers and in memory of Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use SCUBA gear, who died in 1947. Sculpted by Guido Galletti, it represents Christ in the act of blessing while looking towards the sky with open arms in a sign of peace.
  • Castello Brown (16th century).
  • Church of St. Martin (Divo Martino, 12th century).
  • Church of St. George, housing some saints' relics.
  • Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta, in Gothic style.

Restriction on photography edit

In 2023, the municipality introduced zones where tourists are forbidden to linger to take photographs, which was causing congestion. Fines of up to €275 could be imposed on those infringing the regulations.[8][9]

Panoramic view of Portofino
Portofino cemetery and Castello Brown
St. Martin

In popular culture edit

  • The Enchanted April, a 1922 best-selling novel by Elizabeth von Arnim based on the author's stay in Castello Brown, is credited with making Portofino fashionable.[10] The novel was the basis of a 1991 feature filmed in the Castello, with a cast including Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson and Alfred Molina. The film was nominated for three Oscars.[11]
    Göran Schildt's Daphne in Portofino in 1948
    Portofino was visited by Finland Swedish writer Göran Schildt and his ketch Daphne in 1948 on the start of his travels on the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Portofino is often thought to be the inspiration for Sir Clough Williams-Ellis' Italianate village named Portmeirion, built between 1925 and 1975, in north Wales. However, this was repeatedly denied by the architect. He stated only that he wanted to pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean. He did, however, draw on a love of the Italian village, stating "How should I not have fallen for Portofino? Indeed its image remained with me as an almost perfect example of the man-made adornment and use of an exquisite site."[12]
  • In 1959, Dalida released the song "Love in Portofino", written by Leo Chiosso and composed by Fred Buscaglione. With lyrics in French and Italian language, it became a hit and was later iconised alongside the village's name. It also spawned several international covers, including Andrea Bocelli's in 2013 which was followed by a concert recorded and issued on DVD.
  • Portofino is the eponym of Frank Schaeffer's Portofino: A Novel (1992). It was the first of Schaeffer's Calvin Becker Trilogy.[13]
  • Portofino is one of the shooting locations of the 1995 Antonioni/Wenders film, Beyond the Clouds.[14]
  • There is a full-scale replica, in authentic detail, of Portofino Bay at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, United States, which opened in September 1999.
  • Portofino inspired in 2001 a recreation of the seaside town in the Mediterranean Harbor area at Tokyo DisneySea in Chiba, Japan. It also served as the namesake for the restaurant Cafe Portofino.
  • Portofino was featured in 2008 in the BBC television series Top Gear. Richard Hammond, in a Ferrari Daytona raced James May in a carbon fibre powerboat from Portofino to St Tropez in France.
  • Ferrari named one of their sports cars the Ferrari Portofino in 2017. In 2018, the Scuderia Ferrari Club Portofino was founded.
  • In the 2021 Disney-Pixar animated film Luca, the fictional town of Portorosso is based on Portofino, as well as other villages in the Italian Riviera.[15]
  • The 2022 six-episode period drama television series Hotel Portofino, set in the 1920s, was created by Matt Baker in 2020, filmed principally on location in Portofino in 2021, and is being shown on Britbox, PBS, and other television networks.[16] The show was renewed for a second season.[17]

Notable residents edit

Twin towns edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  3. ^ "Must-see attractions in Portofino". lonelyplanet.com. Lonely Planet. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ Oganga, Jeff (6 June 2022). "Resort Of The Rich And Famous: What Portofino Is Really Like". TheTravel. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  5. ^ "The five reasons we absolutely love Portofino". Gran Turismo Events. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  6. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History, III, VII, 2
  7. ^ De Vere White, Terrence. Introduction to The Enchanted April, Virago: 1991. ISBN 9780860685173.
  8. ^ "Italy selfie ban: Tourists in Portofino could be fined for posing for selfies". CBBC Newsround. BBC. 19 April 2023.
  9. ^ "Hohe Strafen in Portofino – Italienische Gemeinde verhängt Bussen fürs Stehenbleiben". Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) (in German). 24 April 2023. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  10. ^ De Vere White, Terence in introduction to 'The Enchanted April', Virago: 1991
  11. ^ "Enchanted April". Internet Movie Database.
  12. ^ Headley, Gwyn; Meulenkamp, Wim (1986). Follies: A National Trust Guide. Cape. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-224-02105-0.
  13. ^ Schaeffer, Frank (2006). Portofino: A novel. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7867-1716-3.
  14. ^ "Beyond the Clouds (1995) Filming Locations". IMDb. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  15. ^ Peters, Fletcher (18 June 2021). "Where is the Movie 'Luca' Based?". Decider.
  16. ^ "'Hotel Portofino': Natascha McElhone Period Drama Series Sells To ITV/BritBox, Sky Italia, Foxtel". Deadline Hollywood. 9 June 2021.
  17. ^ "MIPTV: 'Hotel Portofino' Gets Season 2 Order, 'Professor T' Sells Wide". The Hollywood Reporter. 4 April 2022.
  18. ^ Hofmann, Paul (19 June 1994). "Portofino, For the Rich And Less So". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  19. ^ "Portofino, Genova, Liguria, Italy - City, Town and Village of the world".
  20. ^ "Portofino: Verso il gemellaggio con City of Belvedere, San Francisco". 20 May 2017.

External links edit