Backdrop of countless films and muse to song writers in Italy and abroad, Portofino is probably the single most perfect coastal village in the world. Just as its appearance its history is equally enchanting; I learned from a resident whose family has lived in the bay for five generations that the village was founded by soldiers who returned from battle on ships. Exhausted and without means to continue they decided to stay, and named their new-found haven Portofino, thanks to the dolphins that accompanied them to shore.
If you have been looking for a suitable place in the Mediterranean to buy a vacation home, Portofino should not be missing on your short list. It is high-profile yet uncomplicated and it can be in close contact as much as unreachable, without ever losing a certain feeling of belonging. I’d like to show you five things in particular that make this destination one to return to several times a year.
Three Seasons In A Row
While many favorite summer destinations typically enjoy excellent conditions (in terms of weather, events and things to do) from June to August, Portofino stands apart and invites you to spend quality time here anywhere between April and October. Especially during spring and autumn Portofino enjoys sunny days and cool nights, a perfect combination to take in summery conditions a little longer than at home. Those times almost make it feel like you have the Piazzetta to your own.
Take a stroll along the Calata and enjoy a glass of wine at “La Cantina di Manuela”. You will most likely bump into Filippo, Portofino’s most famous winged resident. Apparently a British guest named him after Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, since the bird and the human share a similar history of crash landings …
While all of Italy boasts a wide range of culinary specialties, the tiny geographical area surrounding Portofino has introduced several important ingredients and dishes to the world. Pesto was created here. Pigato and Vermentino are locally grown white wines. Focaccia was first made just a few kilometers away; and these are just some items that made it to international acclaim. What will really strike you is the utmost care and pride that the Portofinesi feel for their culinary heritage.
At my favorite restaurant, Da I Gemelli, the absolutely delightful server Franco will eagerly explain (if you care to learn) that the best red shrimp are fished fresh every day just offshore at a depth of 300m (1000ft). When examined raw (which is the recommended way to have them to fully savor their taste) you’ll notice their purple head – a sign that they have been feeding on corals in the depth of the sea.
Not only local shrimp will take you on a journey of culinary happiness. Freshly fished octopus and other seafood, as well as homemade pasta are a real delight.
Nature, Environment, Future
As a part-time resident of Portofino, you will soon learn how much this small community undertakes to care for their environment and to safeguard it for their ancestors, fellow residents, visitors and future generations to come.
Whether you make use of the pedestrian walk between Portofino and Santa Margherita, go trekking on the Monte di Portofino or embark on a day on a Gozzo boat out in the bay, it will captivate all your senses and make you remember what tranquility really feels like.
Meanwhile a group of local innovators is launching organic products such as honey, beer and wine produced right here in the bay. They are also working on cutting-edge technology to produce sustainable energy locally, a project supported by some of Italy’s leading companies and part-time residents in Portofino.
Why is this a reason you should own a part of Portofino? Because extraordinary communities form where forward-thinking individuals work together. It is an opportunity to be part of such a thriving community, and at the very least a way to directly witness the positive change highly committed people are capable of bringing about.
Five Stars in Understated Luxury
Being constantly on the go between Monaco, London, New York and Malibu, getaways are secretly the ultimate way to recharge and rebalance. Many Italian and international families have understood this about Portofino – it is tucked away in a tiny bay out on the tip of the Ligurian coastline where it provides a quiet refuge from noise and distraction, and yet it offers a perfectly complete luxury ambiance, one that includes five star hospitality, shopping and entertainment alike so that you actually never have to compromise your lifestyle.
The Piazzetta is littered with sophisticated stores that seem to have just the right collection of fashion and accessories to equip you for lunch at the Belmond Hotel Splendido (see picture of view from their terrace below), a private party on a yacht or one of the numerous events that take place in Portofino throughout the Three Seasons.
As glamorous as these things sound, you will be in awe just how effortlessly Portofino’s simplicity blends in with these occasions, making them no less important, but a lot more special. It is as if this village were to remind us that true luxury lies in the simplest of things …
True Human Assets
I’ve mentioned the Portofinesi a few times throughout, but it my obligation to emphasize that they truly are what makes Portofino what it is. It really does feel like coming to a village and meeting locals as if no one in the world has heard of their hometown before.
The Portofinesi promote a “come as you are” philosophy and welcome you to be part of their community, where they will certainly learn who you are but never push the invisible borders of your privacy. You will encounter individuals who shape the present and future of Portofino; and you will find courtesy, respect and a helping hand when you need it.
Portofino is a world-famous tourist destination. It attracts everyone from Hollywood stars to Japanese groups, although I have often wondered how many of them took the trip just to be able to say they had done it.
Those who really ‘get’ Portofino and the experience it provides, make it a frequent destination throughout the year. Alone the picturesque road that leads you to Portofino is soothing for your soul everytime you return. There isn’t anything much more fulfilling than taking a walk in great company to the Faro di Portofino (the lighthouse located on the very tip, as shown on the picture above) and enjoy an “Aperitivo” over sunset together … when you’re ready to visit, let us be your guide in setting foot in the village and becoming a part of it.