Abbey of San Fruttuoso & Christ of the Abyss

A day trip to the nearby town of San Frattuso offers a chance to discover the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, a medieval fortification built by monks in the 10th century. Situated in a deep inlet on one of the only true beachfronts in Portofino, the abbey was built to protect this small fishing village from intruders, and remains today accessible only by boat or hiking trail. The monestary, cloisters, Chapter House and church can all be visited along with the Doria tombs, which are preserved here. Perhaps one of the most renowned pieces on display here is Christ of the Abyss, an eight-and-a-half foot bronze sculpture of Jesus Christ underwater, with his head and hands reaching up towards the sky. The statue was submerged in the early 1950’s to protect the sea and divers of the area.

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Castello Brown

A short walk from the piazzetta in Portofino’s harbor sits Castello Brown, a castle originally built in the Middle Ages and later restored. Privately owned until it was opened to the public in the 20th century, the castle boasts medieval relics, lovely gardens and stunning views over the coast. As one of the most well known sites in the area, Castello Brown makes for a terrific photographic opportunity and a seamless introduction to the historical and cultural significance of this maritime republic. The castle and its grounds also make for the perfect location for a special private event. Contact Indagare’s booking team to learn more.

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Church at Church of San Giorgio , Portofino, Italy - Courtesy Davide Papalini

Church of San Giorgio

Located at the top of Portofino’s promontory with sweeping vistas over the bay, this church dates back to 1154 and houses the relics of San Giorgio, which were brought to Italy during the Crusades. A short walk along the narrow pathway from the piazzetta leads to the church, which features a lovely courtyard and spectacular views over the sea. Along the way, souvenir stands sell local crafts and laces for those looking for examples of Ligurian artisanship to take home.

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Cinque Terre

Just 40 minutes south of Portofino by car is the well-known Cinque Terre, or the five lands, famous for their medieval architecture and narrow colorful houses built into the cliff side. Hikers enjoy the rolling vineyards and sweeping coastal views from the trails above and between the towns. Visitors can also experience the Cinque Terre from the sea by private boat, seeing the bright homes and Gothic churches lining the coast. We recommend the latter, as visiting the towns by land can be a headache – they are overrun with backpackers and tourists. Instead, break up a day on a boat with lunch overlooking the water at a local restaurant like Belforte in Vernazza.

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Museo del Parco

This open-air sculpture museum nestled into the terraced cliffs at Castello Brown, above the Portofino harbor, contains work by artists like Man Ray, Arman, Alberto Burri and Cucchi. Throughout the museum’s grounds and grottos, works of contemporary sculpture are on display in complete harmony with the wild and natural setting of the park. Strolling through the Mediterranean flora while observing the pieces on display with the glistening sea as background makes for a charming afternoon for both art and nature lovers.

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Natural Regional Park

Extending along both sides of the Promontory of Portofino is a protected coastal area known as Portofino’s Natural Regional Park. With a unique combination of wild, rural and rocky coastal settings, the park allows for scenic hiking that varies in length and difficulty. Both the avid hiker and those looking for a nature stroll can enjoy the many panoramic paths throughout the promontory, which lead between the several municipalities that make up the Portofino peninsula. Offering a variety of plant and wildlife species and significant architectural vestiges, hiking through Portofino provides a great platform from which to see the coastline and experience the area’s natural environment.

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Paraggi Beach

Though Portofino and its surrounding towns are all on the waterfront, none have a true sand beach, which is why visitors to the area flock to Paraggi. This small stretch of sand is located in a cove on the road between Santa Margherita and Portofino. While the beach is a hot spot for locals and visitors to Portofino’s surrounding, less exclusive towns, do-it-yourself traveler types and beach lovers alike will appreciate a leisurely afternoon at Paraggi and lunch at a local restaurant in town. Expect crowds in the high season.

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Indagare employees walking up stiars

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