Syndication Feature Article :

'Portofino Italy'

Article Length: 485 words Photographer: Paul Williams Author: Paul Williams  
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Portofino | Magazine Article Content Syndication - Images by Paul Williams
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FEATURE SERIES: Quinessential Europe - Portofino, Italy

If there was one old Italian fishing village that captures all the romantic charm and the rustic Mediterranean it has to be Portofino. Portofino lies south of Genoa on the rocky Ligurian coast and is at the head of a promontory where a curved inlet cuts into the wooded coastal hills creating a sheltered natural harbour. Pressed against the hills and following the sweep of the harbour are faded pink & ochre pan tiled fishermen and traders houses. Portofino has changed little since the aristocrats on The Grand Tour discovered and fell in love it in the 18th century.

Portofino is as instantly captivating as the bars and restaurants that line its harbour are instantly appealing. It has the atmosphere of an unassuming Italian Fishing Village but there is nothing unassuming about Portofino. Instead of kitsch tourist souvenir shops you will find fashion boutiques like Dolce & Gabbana, Portofino represents the height of sophistication. Celebrities and the jet set sip Bollinger whilst gazing at the simple rustic charm of its harbour. Million dollar yachts rub shoulders with simple wooden fishing boats and celebrities like Dolce & Gabbana have summer Villas in the hills of the Portofino promontory. Portofino is paparazzi heaven.

High on the "A" list of places to be seen in Portofino become a favorite of the stars in the 1950s when Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Marcello Mastroianni, Orson Welles, Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, Louis Armstrong and Walt Disney, John Wayne, Joan Collins, Anita Ekberg and Rex Harrison etc, etc, etc fell in love with its rustic charms. Today the paparazzi snap away at Paris Hilton, Denzel Washington, Kevin Spacey, Madonna, Jean Reno etc, etc, etc.

On the hill above the harbour is the 15th century defensive Castello di San Giorgio. In 1867 the British consul in Genoa bought it and since then it has been known as Castle Brown. Today it is a museum with photo exhibitions of the stars that visited Portofino. From the castle Ramparts the full beauty of Portofino is revealed as the little harbour curves inland below. The scene looks like it has just stepped out of an impressionist painting brightly painted houses against the blue Mediterranean sea. People on the private yachts moored just outside the harbour take the sun whilst sipping champagne served by their personal waiters.

As you can imagine a visit to Portofino in season is going to be an expensive pastime. If you choose to go out of season though you can find very good hotel discounts with rooms that would be €550 a night in high season down to €150. Food & drink will still be on the pricy side but no more expensive that Florence or Venice. So if you fancy spending a few days living like a star in one of the most romantic places in the world, Portofino out of season is the place to do it.

 

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