Portofino: A bay rich in history
Now and then:
Portofino is a beautiful fishing town on the Ligurian coast. It is a small village with a rich history dating back to before the Roman times, some even say before. Portofino made its fame in the 50’s when film directors used its beautiful scenery for their films. Anybody who has even been to Portofino or heard about it will know that not only is it a historical gem in the Mediterranean, it is also a chic place to get away to for the rich and famous. For example it has lots of designer shops; Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana. If like me, you could never afford to shop, there is so much more you can do…
What to visit:
- The lighthouse (il faro)
- The Brown Castle
- The Church of Saint George ( San Giorgio )
- The Church of Saint Martin ( Divo Martino)
The Lighthouse ( Il faro)
For spectaular views of the local area visit, I would suggest a visit to the lighthouse, it is built on the promontory of Portofino in the protected marine area (Portofino is also part of the national park established in 1935)it is very easy to get to from the harbor follow the signs towards the lighthouse; go up the steps, you will find the Church of San Giorgio on your right, go to the left follow and the road for about 30 minutes and you will reach the little lighthouse.
The Brown Castle
The Brown Castle was originally a Roman fortress, it was used by the military until the unification of Italy in 1861 . In 1867 it was bought by an English consulate Sir Montague Yeats Brown, who transformed it into a private house. He gave the job of restoration and transformation to Italian architect Alfredo D’Andrande, now the house is owned by the Portofino City council, who use it for special occasions in the area. The “castle ” is on three floors, with small rooms and antique furniture, outside every window you can see a breathtaking views of the bay below. The castle is on the path to the lighthouse.
The Church of San Giorgio
“San Giorgio” (1154) is on the clifftop,during the course of history the chapel has been built and rebuilt four times, Saint George was the Patron Saint of Portofino, and inside the church you can find his relics behind the main altar.
The Church of Divo Martino
The Church of “Divo Martino” (986) is hidden away in the oldest part of the village, it has a typical Genovese black and white facade, built in a Romanic-Lombard style, with a bell tower and a rose window. It was built to replace a primitive chapel that was on the pier. The church was donated by Queen Adelaide, the widow of Emporer Ottone I, it is said that she gave it as a gift to the monks of the abbey in San fruttuoso.
Typical Italian recipe:
Pasta alla Portofino
Pasta to Italians is one of the most important things ever. They will eat pasta at least 6 days a week. In every article I would like to share with you a typical Italian dish from the local area, today I will show you how to make “pasta alla portofino” it is a very simple recipe to make and can be eaten on any occasion.
for the pesto you will need:
- Good quality basil
- olive oil
- salt to taste
- garlic (optional)
for the tomato sauce;
For the tomato sauce you can either use a ready made tomato sauce, or you can make it from scratch.
- A can of tomatoes
- a pinch of salt
- olive oil
To make the pesto; blend together the basil leaves and olive oil until a fine paste, then add the garlic, pinenuts and parmeasn. Blend alltogether untill well mixed. Set to one side until needed. Pesto should be stored in the fridge, it is best to use it within a couple of days. You can freeze pesto, I put it into individual pots, and when needed I put it into the microwave for 2 minutes and it is perfect.
For the tomato sauce, put in a sauce pan with the rest of the ingredients simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Take of the heat and add the pesto, mix well. For the pasta I would recommend a spaghetti type pasta or a lingiuni.
How to get there:
Portofino is about 35 km from Genoa and 87 km from La spezia.
By car: Motorway A12 directions Genoa-Livorno, exit at Rapallo and follow directions towards Santa Margherita Ligure (15/20 minutes). Once you have arrived in Santa Margherita Ligure follow the road signs to Paraggi Portofino. There is no free parking in Portofino. There are two hourly rate car parks which can be quite expensive. If you must travel by car, there is a free car park in Paraggi; from there you can either walk or go by bus (buses run every 15 minutes from Santa Margherita number 7,8,82) http://www.atpesercizio.it
If you are travelling by train, get off at Santa Margherita Ligure for timetables consulte http://www.trenitalia.it
by ferry http://traghettiportofino.it/