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Comune di Portofino
Panorama of Portofino taken from Castello Brown.
Panorama of Portofino taken from Castello Brown.
Coat of arms of Portofino
Coat of arms
Location of Portofino
Portofino is located in Italy
Location of Portofino in Italy
Portofino is located in Liguria
Portofino (Liguria)
Coordinates: 44°18′N 9°12′E / 44.300°N 9.200°E / 44.300; 9.200
ProvinceGenoa (GE)
 • MayorGiorgio Devoto
 • Total2.53 km2 (0.98 sq mi)
4 m (13 ft)
 • Total401
 • Density160/km2 (410/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0185
Patron saintSt. George
Saint dayFirst Sunday in April
Panorama of Portofino taken from Castello Brown.
Portofino's small harbour.

Portofino (Ligurian: Portofin) is a small Italian fishing village, comune and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town crowded round its small harbour is considered to be among the most beautiful Mediterranean ports.


According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.

Portofino bay.

The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttoso 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 Florentine 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 (1880–1923) was one of the more famous Englishmen to maintain a villa at Portofino. 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

  • Statue of "Christ of the Abyss", put underwater on August 29, 1954 in the small bay at a depth of 17 meters. This statue was placed to protect fishermen and scuba divers and in memory of Duilio Marcante. Sculpted by Guido Galletti, it represents a benedictory Christ who is looking up towards the sky with open arms as 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.


Portofino has even been recreated in detail around the harbor at Tokyo DisneySea in Chiba, Japan, and to a much lesser extent, the Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, USA and the Gulf Harbour development on the Hibiscus Coast, New Zealand.[4]

Twin towns

See also


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ All demographics and other statistics: Italian statistical institute Istat.
  4. ^ Gulf Harbour Portofino Model[1]

External links