Portofino has luxury designer shops, big boats and 5 euro coffees – Cinque Terre it’s not!
Avoiding the Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Dior shops along the waterfront, and refraining from indulging in 5 euro coffees, Tony Page wanders past million dollar cruisers and climbs up above Portofino to give you an overview of this famed Ligurian resort on the Italian Riviera, much favoured by celebrities like Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Madonna and Sting
“Here we are in Portofino where the clouds have parted – yes, it was pretty cloudy – and we’ve got a spot of sunlight, so I’ve taken the chance to climb up to the church (Chiesa di San Giorgio) to get an overview of the harbour. As you can see, there are plenty of “small” boats in at the moment…
“This is not known as a luxury place for nothing. If you look at some of the shots in the gallery, you’ll see Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Dior, all small shops running alongside the harbour. Not quite the run-of-the-mill shops we’ve been used to in Cinque Terre, for example.
Guarded by a Rhinoceros and
“And down here, if I zoom in, you can see, guarded by a rhinoceros – yes, rhinoceros – a sculpture garden. Pink meercats they look like, but your guess is as good as mine, and they seem to be guarding the sculpture garden. I don’t know anything else about it at the moment, I’m sorry about that, but there we are. (Ed: It’s the Museo del Parco with about 120 sculptures by international artists.)
Not so gaudy as other places on the coast
“So, let’s look at the place itself. Actually I really like it, we’re here quite early in the morning and it’s very peaceful and it’s not so gaudy as the other places along the coast, like for example, Monterosso. Maybe an indication of that is the size of the boats and the character of the shops as you walk down the main street.
“But it’s really very attractive along here. We just drove along from Santa Margherita Ligure, which is sort of the next big town along and the whole of the hillside is actually covered with Umbertino-like villas. It’s quite extraordinary, like an out-take from the “Garden of the Finzi-Continis”.
An out-take from the “Garden of the Finzi-Continis”
“I’m not sure if I can get one (of the mansions) – this one here, for example, is absolutely typical of those that you see along this coast. Yes, amazing, really. Certainly very elegant and although the weather’s not been brilliant for us, I’m sure it makes a nice contrast if you have the money to afford it.
“I’m told that a coffee at the cafe where Ava Gardner sat in the “Barefoot Contessa” would cost you about 5 Euros, but as it’s closed at the moment, I can’t tell you exactly. Obviously people here are used to sensibly getting up a little later.
“Okay, well I’m going to wander down, by the way, it wasn’t a big hike up here so you might like to try it yourself.”