Italy - Portofino

by Chris Thompson


Portofino first seduced Evelyn Waugh in the 1930's along with many of the English aristocracy. Today it is home to the likes of Dolce & Gabbana (fashion designers, not ice cream makers!) and super yachts participating in the Wally yacht races.

I must confess to being rather seduced myself!  This beautiful little port has a stunning setting on the Ligurian coast and is understandably one of Italy's premier resorts.  The harbour is surrounded by alfresco restaurants and bars plus some of the smallest outposts of Pucci, Dior, Gucci, Hermes, get the picture? This is a seriously wealthy area. One of the most famous buildings in Portofino is the hotel Splendido, famous for its fabulous setting and equally fabulous celebrity guests.  Although the Splendido has a sister property in the port I strongly recommend you stay in the main hotel as the rooms are very small at Splendido Mare.

I enjoyed some good walking with the exception of a nervous encounter with a family of wild boar and think this would be a perfect place to stay as part of a walking holiday.  You can also enjoy numerous shared or private boat excursions along the coast. These will give you a superb view of the many villas with historic (Mussolini) and famous (Berlusconi) connections.

Portofino also makes a perfect twin centre option.  Lucca was my choice as you will read from my article.