Portofino, Italy
April 4, 1999

Sunday, April 4th: Easter in Genoa, Trip to Portofino

"We were surprised to find that Easter wasn't as consumed by religious activities as we had expected. Franca and Zio Gino went to church in the morning, and, by 10 am, we had joined a large number of Italian tourists in exploring the Mediterranean Coast.

We started by driving south to a town called Camogli. Camogli was overrun by tourists. It took Dad and Enrico about half an hour and a little bribery to get a parking spot for the big blue machine. As soon as they arrived, we boarded a ferry for San Fruttuoso.

Information from "Eyewitness Travel Guides: Italy", page 232: "Built on a pinewooded slope, Camogli is a fishing village where seashells adorn the pastel-painted house walls, and the smell of frying fish wafts out from the small restaurants into the streets. Near the pebble beach and fishing port is the medieval Castello della Dragonara, a castle now containing the Acquario Tirrenico, which displays 22 tanks of sea creatures. Camogli celebrates its famous festival of the Blessing of the Fish on the second Sunday of May, when sardines are fried in a huge pan 13 feet in diameter. The fish is distributed free to all."

Ferry Ticket

View of the Camogli port from the ferry

Mike and Zio Gino, while on the ferry
Mike Zio Gino

In San Fruttuoso, we stopped for lunch at the restaurant with the slowest service I have even seen. I believe it took nearly three hours to complete lunch - even Franca complained.

The lunch was very good - we had bread, white wine, lasagna noodles in pesto, fried fish, and Mike had fried shrimp. The problem was that they could not get everyone's food to us with ten to fifteen minutes. For each course, half the food would arrive, and the other half would arrive at least 15 minutes later. Service aside, the food was good.

Information from "Eyewitness Travel Guides: Italy", page 232: "The Abbazia di San Fruttuoso is named after a 3rd-century saint whose followers were shipwrecked here, and, according to local folklore were protected by three lions. The white abbey buildings, set among pines and olive trees, date mostly from the 11th century, although the imposing Torre dei Doria was added 500 years later. You can take a boat to try to locate the Cristo degli Abissi, a bronze statue of Christ that sits in the seabed near San Fruttuoso, acting as a protector of sailors."

View of the San Fruttuoso from the ferry
San Fruttuoso

Postcard of San Fruttuoso
Postcard of San Fruttuoso

Lunch in San Fruttuoso, from left to right: Me, Mom, Enrico, Zio Gino, Franca, Mike
lunch in San Fruttuoso

Mike and I escaped during dessert to buy some post cards. We found one for "The Christ of the Abyss" - a statue at the bottom of the harbor. We bought post cards for Jarl and Shawn because we thought the name was cool.

Well, then we began the process of boarding a ferry for Portofino. We all went to the landing the original ferry had docked at to learn that we needed to go to another landing. And almost everyone got there - but Mom stopped at the gabinetto. Zio Gino and Enrico held up the ferry for ~ 5 minutes while waiting for her, but they couldn't hold it long enough. Then, Enrico, Franca, Mom and Dad decided to go visit the Abby, so we missed the second boat. By this point, Zio Gino was venting at me in Italian. [the key here is that I don't speak Italian] Finally, we made the third boat.

Pictures of the Italian Coast between San Fruttuoso and Portofino

We got to Portofino with a half hour to spare before the last boat left to go back.

The port in Portofino

Mom and Zio Gino

We returned to Genoa with fewer problems, and had a light dinner followed by a lot of dessert at the Serena residence. Dessert consisted of an Easter cake (sweet bread) and a chocolate egg filled with pieces of fudge from the store that was once owned by a friend of Grandpa Buzzo's.

Buona Pasqua!