Portofino is an Italian fishing village and upmarket resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity visitors. It is a comune located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is crowded round its small harbour, is closely associated with Paraggi Beach, which is a few minutes up the coast. Other nearby beaches include Camogli, Chiavari, Lavagna, and Sestri Levante.According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.In the late 19th century, first British, then other Northern European aristocratic tourists began to visit Portofino, which they reached by horse and cart from Santa Margherita Ligure. Aubrey Herbert was one of the more famous Englishmen to maintain a villa at Portofino. Eventually more expatriates built expensive vacation houses, and by 1950 tourism had supplanted fishing as the town’s chief industry, and the waterfront was a continuous ring of restaurants and cafés.
Castello Brown is a house museum located high above the harbor of Portofino, Italy. The castle’s site is well suited for harbour defence, and appears to have been so used since the 15th century. According to the Record Office of Genoa, cannon batteries were constructed on the site in the early 16th century, and military engineer Gian Maria Olgiato drew up plans for a full fortress circa 1554. The resultant castello was completed by 1557, and in 1575 was instrumental in turning back an attack on the town by Giò Andrea Doria. From 1622 to 1624 the structure was enlarged, and in this form it survived for a century and a half, until a 1798 attack by the English (during Napoleon’s reign) destroyed its little tower. The fort was then abandoned after the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
In 1867 the structure was purchased for 7,000 lire by Montague Yeats Brown, then English consul in Genoa. Under his direction the fort was transformed to a comfortable villa without substantial alteration in its general form. His descendants held the property until 1949, then sold it to an English couple, Colonel and Mrs. John Baber, who restored several ruined sections, until they in turn sold it in 1961 to the City of Portofino.
Christ of the Abyss
Christ of the Abyss is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ, the original of which is located in the Mediterranean Sea off San Fruttuoso between Camogli and Portofino on the Italian Riviera. It was placed in the water on 22 August 1954 at approximately 17 metres depth, and stands c. 2.5 metres tall. Various other casts of the statue are located in other places worldwide, both underwater and in churches and museums.
The sculpture was created by Guido Galletti after an idea of Italian diver Duilio Marcante. The statue was placed near the spot where Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use SCUBA gear, died in 1947. It depicts Christ offering a benediction of peace, with his head and hands raised skyward. Due to increasing amounts of corrosion and the growth of crustaceans, the statue was removed from the water and restored in 2003. A hand that had been detached by an anchor was also replaced. The statue was returned to the water with a new base on 17 July 2004.
Paraggi is a bay between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. A few minutes drive along the coast, you will find the wonderful Paraggi beach, which has to be one of the best beaches in Italy. A known hotspot, where the locals go to top up their golden tans. Remember your sunscreen as the sun is deceptively strong at this beach. This secluded stretch of sand has a special romantic atmosphere where couples can relax away from the hustle of the nearby towns. For an intimate escape outside Portofino, Paraggi beach is perfect.
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