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Comune di Portofino
Portofino - 2016-06-02 - View from Chiesa San Giorgio - 3284.jpg
Coat of arms of Portofino
Coat of arms
Portofino is located in Italy
Location of Portofino in Italy
Coordinates: 44°18′14″N 9°12′28″E / 44.30389°N 9.20778°E / 44.30389; 9.20778Coordinates: 44°18′14″N 9°12′28″E / 44.30389°N 9.20778°E / 44.30389; 9.20778
Country Italy
Region Liguria
Metropolitan city Genoa (GE)
 • Mayor Matteo Viacava
 • Total 2.6 km2 (1.0 sq mi)
Elevation 4 m (13 ft)
Population (31 December 2011)[1]
 • Total 439
 • Density 170/km2 (440/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Portofinesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 16034
Dialing code 0185
Patron saint St. George
Saint day St. George's Bonfire: April 23rd. Religious Celebration the first Sunday after.
Website Official website
Portofino Lighthouse
Portofino Lighthouse
Portofino is located in Liguria
Location Portofino
Coordinates 44°17′55.27″N 9°13′06.65″E / 44.2986861°N 9.2185139°E / 44.2986861; 9.2185139
Year first constructed 1917
Construction masonry tower
Tower shape square prism tower with balcony and lantern attached to the front keeper’s house
Markings / pattern white tower, grey metallic lantern dome
Height 12 metres (39 ft)
Focal height 40 metres (130 ft)
Light source main power
Intensity 1,000 W
Range main:16 nautical miles (30 km; 18 mi)
reserve: 11 nautical miles (20 km; 13 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 5s.
Admiralty number E1244
NGA number 7636
ARLHS number ITA-131
Italy number 1675 E.F.
Managing agent Marina Militare[2][3]

Portofino (Italian pronunciation: [ˌpɔrtoˈfiːno]; Ligurian: Portofin) is an Italian fishing village and holiday resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors.[4][5] It 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.[6]


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 (it).[7]

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 Portofino was sold to the Republic of Florence by Charles VI of France, but when the latter 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 amongst the more famous English people to make the area fashionable.[8] Eventually more expatriates built expensive vacation houses, and by 1950 tourism had supplanted 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 up towards the sky with open arms in 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.
Panoramic view of Portofino, Italy.
Portofino cemetery
St. Martin

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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."[9]
  • Portofino became famous in the 1950s with the song "Love In Portofino" which was written by Leo Chiosso and composed by Fred Buscaglione, and released on 12 May 1958. Fred Buscaglione was also the first singer to perform it.[10]
  • Portofino is the eponym of Frank Schaeffer's Portofino: A Novel (1992). It was the first of Schaeffer's Calvin Becker Trilogy.[11]
  • Portofino is one of the shooting locations of the 1995 Antonioni / Wenders film, Beyond the Clouds.[12]
  • Andrea Bocelli recorded a concert in Portofino in 2013, which was released on DVD.
  • Ferrari named one of their new V8 sports cars after Portofino in 2017.

Notable residents[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  2. ^ Liguria The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 15 December 2016
  3. ^ Faro di Portofino Marina Militare. Retrieved 15 December 2016
  4. ^ Italy. "Italy: Portofino guide". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  5. ^ Ross, Rory (2007-09-01). "Portofino: a port town that has evaded the uglier side of tourism - Europe - Travel". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  6. ^ Lonely Planet, Portofino Guide, accessdate=2015-03-24.
  7. ^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History, III, VII, 2
  8. ^ De Vere White, Terrence. Introduction to The Enchanted April, Virago: 1991. ISBN 9780860685173.
  9. ^ Headley, Gwyn and Meulenkamp, Wim. Follies: a National Trust Guide Cape, 1986. p.156
  10. ^ Love in Portofino - SHS Second Hand Songs
  11. ^ Schaeffer, Frank. Portofino: A novel. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7867-1716-3. 
  12. ^ "Beyond the Clouds (1995) Filming Locations". IMDB. Retrieved 2013-12-14. 
  13. ^ Hofmann, Paul (1994-06-19). "Portofino, For the Rich And Less So". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-02-28. 

External links[edit]