Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mediterranean Cruise Day 2: Portofino, Italy

Day two, we arrived in Portofino, Italy just before 7:00 AM and we were ready to explore this northern Italian city. Originally a major fishing village for the province of Genoa, it is a popular destination on the Italian Riviera. On Tuesday we arrived in Portofino, an absolutely charming seaside town along the coast of the Italian Riviera within the Liguria region. It is located in the rugged foothills of the Alpines. It is an area referred to as a promontory, with a profusion of cypress, olive and pine trees, with a few palms mixed in as well. This area, along with many other seaside communities were once a target of pirates, who looted the coastline for treasures while many of the men of the villages were off fishing. During the Middle Ages, this area was a major maritime center and one of the wealthiest cities along the Mediterranean. We tendered to Santa Margarita Ligure, and later took a private boat tour of the coast, where we also had the opportunity to visit Rapallo. Both towns were wonderful, with interesting influences from many points in history- starting with the Ancient Romans, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Napolean just to name a few. Each of these left an influence or indelible mark on the area. Since pirates were once such an issue, these towns were designed to create a labyrinth or maze effect, so as to make it difficult for pirates to find their way through the city. Also, many of the exteriors of the buildings were designed to look quite plain, so as not to attract the attention of pirates or to reveal their treasures within. There is a series of stone fortresses and lookout towers along the coast where soldiers would be stationed to watch for incoming pirates. They would use smoke signals to warn others, who would raise black flags to communicate to the locals. It is a fascinating history indeed. I found Portofino to be utterly delightful, and wanted to stay a month in a private villa! I stopped at a local Focacceria to buy some pizza and focaccia, which was delicious. It was the kind of Italian food I enjoy the most. I may not have time to describe all these photos at the moment, so just enjoy these views...

above: Proscuitto hams (cured) hanging in the butcher shop window...mmmm!

above: Fresh made pasta for sale in shop windows!

Above: Our Ship, with the Italian flag flying
-Signore Ricardo Rockhill


Anonymous said...

You know I gotta say, I like your version of Portofino better!

I always tease Hubby Hank that if you sit on the bed (master bedroom), stare out the window through the sheers (after several glasses of wine, of course), and squint real hard, the apartments in the valley look like Portofino, Italy.

Have fun!

Mone said...

I dont think there is a store with fresh made pasta in the window over here, bella Italia :)

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i want to be where you are!

smiles, bee

Seamus said...

What a beautiful place!

kenju said...

They're all just gorgeous! I remember seeing Portofino on TV back in the 80's, on a soap opera I used to watch. I have always wanted to go there!

lime said...

what a fascinating bit of history you share in addition to the lovely shots.


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