Portofino - Photo Gallery 01 Gallery 02 Gallery 03
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the Italian Rivieras and Italy every month.
Portofino, Province of GENOVA
This favourable natural position attracted very early human settlement, and we learn from Pliny that "Portus Delphini" was already known in Roman times. After being under the dominion of the Abbey of San Fruttuoso for almost two centuries, it was taken into the Republic of Genoa in the twelfth century. The Republic built a fortress there in the seventeenth century which is now known as Castello Brown, after the British Consul who bought it in 1870. The church of San Martino stands in the oldest part of the town and dates back to the twelfth century, while the Oratorio dell'Assunta was built in the fourteenth century.
The tourist harbour can berth up to 300 boats and has hosted the most prestigious leisure craft in the world, since it attracts the most exclusive type of tourists. So many of the most famous names of twentieth-century history and art have visited Portofino that even a partial list of names would be difficult to draw up. All kinds of sea sports can be practised here, especially sailing and windsurfing. The reef is a paradise for divers: certain parts are extremely interesting, such as Punta del Faro and the wreck of the "Mohawk Deer". The Portofino Diving Centre is open all year round. The Mediterranean vegetation of Monte di Portofino Natural Park is another favourite tourist spot: the pines and olive trees stretch right down to the sea, alternating with a variety of shrubs and bushes such as gorse, thyme, erica, myrtle, saxifrage and strawberry trees. However, botanists have so far identified over seven hundred species, and their work is not yet finished. As you go towards the mountain the excursions become a little more arduous, although the park itself is crossed by a network of hillside paths that are very easy to walk along.
Note: The above is an extract taken from the official web-site of the Regione Ligure, Agriculture and tourism department - Tourist section.
Travel Hint: Travelling along the Italian Riviera to visit Liguria's coastal towns and cities is recommended by train - they are frequent, comfortable and generally on time. They also take you into the resort centres and give you an additional perspective and 'flavour' of Italian life. The car by contrast is not quite as practical and ideal as first appears. There are basically two roads along the Riviera, the 'autostrada' and the 'Aurelia'. Italian 'autostrada' can be fairly stressed environments and the coastal road (via Aurelia) is pretty in parts but very slow, passing through every little seaside town. Additionally, parking in most Ligurian coastal towns is not in abundance and can take much longer to find a space than ever imagined - during most of the year, not just in summer. With car-hire, petrol, motorway tolls and parking charges, the car soon becomes an expensive and less than ideal way of getting around - and more often than not, slower overall than the journey by train.
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