INSTAGRAMMERS TAKE OVER PORTOFINO
Easy Escapes: Portofino, Italy
This is the time to slip away to Liguria for a little 'Dolce Vita'...
This is the time to slip away to Liguria for a little ‘Dolce Vita’…
Why go?To be reminded how near and beautiful the Italian Riviera is. 23 miles east of Genoa, Portofino is hidden away in the corner of a steep-sided headland that is a national park framed by astonishingly clear waters. Once a remote fishing village, it was made fashionable in the 1950s by the actor Rex Harrison, who had a villa here, and its tiny harbour, lined with multi-coloured houses, is insanely pretty. Today Portofino is a byword for Italian glamour with celebrity residents that include Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. Wayne Rooney got married at the nearby abbey of La Cervara (cervara.it) and Madonna celebrated her 50th birthday at its iconic Hotel Splendido. It’s so gorgeously Italian, in fact, they’ve even recreated it at the Universal Orlando theme park (loewshotels.com) in Florida…
Splashing out in style: the infinity pool at Hotel Belmond Splendido© Genius Loci
When:Today! Portofino has just opened for the season and the wisteria is in full bloom. Go soon before prices rise and the summer crowds arrive – hotel rates are highest between mid-June and mid-September. It’s not just about saving money, though. In high summer the coastal roads here get jammed with weekend traffic and the quayside is mobbed with trippers arriving by boat.
You really must:Take a stroll around the harbour, which is best done in the early evening after the last ferries have left. What was once simple fishermens’ homes are now glitzy boutiques selling luxury brands such as Gucci, Pucci and Loro Piana. There’s nothing youmustsee – at heart this is a place to have an indulgent and romantic time enjoying Portofino’s top class hotels and restaurants.
When you fancy some exercise, there’s rewarding hiking inland on the well-signposted trails of the Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino (parcoportofino.it). A good one to do is the two-hour walk over to San Fruttuoso, a tiny port only reached by boat or on foot. There’s been a church here since the 7th century, and you can visit its restored Benedictine Abbey (fondoambiente.it) dating from the 10th-13th centuries. Have lunch on the terrace of Da Giovanni (dagiovanniristorante.com), where you can savour freshly-caught local anchovies (£8) and featherlightlasagne al pesto(£9), all washed down with some local white wine, Vermentino Corsi di Luni (£14).
Video: The Homes of Vogue Italia's Late Franca Sozzani | Architectural Digest
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