Province of Genoa
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Portofino ([ˌpɔrtoˈfiːno]; Ligurian: Portofin) is an Italian fishing village and holiday resort famous for its picturesque harbour and historical association with celebrity and artistic visitors. It is a comune located in the Metropolitan City of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is clustered around its small harbour, and is known for the colourfully painted buildings that line the shore.
Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79) referred to Portus Delphini (Port of the Dolphin) as on the Ligurian coast between Genoa and the Gulf of Tigullio.
The village is mentioned in a diploma from 986 by Adelaide of Italy, which assigned it to the nearby Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte. In 1171, together with the neighbouring Santa Margherita Ligure, it was included in Rapallo's commune jurisdiction. After 1229 it was part of the Republic of Genoa. The town's natural harbour supported a fleet of fishing boats, but was somewhat too cramped to provide more than a temporary safe haven for the growing merchant marine of the Republic of Genoa.
In 1409 Portofino was sold to the Republic of Florence by Charles VI of France, but when the latter was ousted from Genoa the Florentines gave it back. In the 15th century it was a fief of families such as the Fieschi, Spinola, Adorno, and Doria.
In 1815 it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia and, from 1861, of the unified Kingdom of Italy.
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 and Elizabeth von Arnim were amongst the more famous English people to make the area fashionable. 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.Statue of Christ of the Abyss, placed underwater on 29 August 1954 in the inlet at a depth of 17 metres (56 ft). This statue was placed to protect fishermen and scuba divers and in memory of Dario Gonzatti. Sculpted by Guido Galletti, it represents Christ in the act of blessing while looking up towards the sky with open arms in sign of peace.
Castello Brown (16th century).
Church of St. Martin (Divo Martino, 12th century).
Church of St. George, housing some saints' relics.
Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta, in Gothic style.
Portofino is often thought to be the inspiration for Sir Clough Williams-Ellis' Italianate village named Portmeirion, built between 1925 and 1975, in north Wales. However, this was repeatedly denied by the architect. He stated only that he wanted to pay tribute to the atmosphere of the Mediterranean. He did, however, draw on a love of the Italian village, stating "How should I not have fallen for Portofino? Indeed its image remained with me as an almost perfect example of the man-made adornment and use of an exquisite site."
Portofino became famous in the 1950s with the song "Love In Portofino" which was written by Leo Chiosso and composed by Fred Buscaglione, and released on 12 May 1958. Fred Buscaglione was also the first singer to perform it.
Portofino is the eponym of Frank Schaeffer's Portofino: A Novel (1992). It was the first of Schaeffer's Calvin Becker Trilogy.
Portofino is one of the shooting locations of the 1995 Antonioni / Wenders film, Beyond the Clouds.
There is a full-scale replication, in authentic detail, of the Portofino Bay at Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, USA, which opened in September 1999.
Portofino inspired in 2001 a recreation of the seaside town around the harbour at Tokyo DisneySea in Chiba, Japan.
Portofino was also featured in 2008 for the television series Top Gear (Episode 5, Series 12). Richard Hammond, in a Ferrari Daytona raced James May in a carbon fibre powerboat from Portofino to St Tropez in France.
Andrea Bocelli recorded a concert in Portofino in 2013, which was released on DVD.
Ferrari named one of their new V8 sports cars after Portofino in 2017.
Richard I of England (Oxford, 1157 - Châlus, 1199), King of England, in 1190
Pope Gregory XI (Rosiers-d'Égletons, 1330 - Roma, 1378), in 1377
Henry Herbert (London, 1831 - London, 1890), IV Earl of Carnarvon
Guy de Maupassant (Tourville-sur-Arques, 1850 - Passy, 1893), writer
Guglielmo Marconi (Bologna, 1874 - Roma, 1937), engineer and inventor of radio
Giuseppe Amisani (Mede Lomellina, 1879 - Portofino, 1941), Italian painter
Michele Cascella (Ortona, 1892 - Milano, 1989), Italian painter
Rex Harrison (Huyton, 1908 - New York City, 1990), actor and his wife Lilli Palmer