03 Jul FORBES – “HERE ARE 5 WAYS PORTOFINO CAN SEDUCE YOU FOR LIFE”
Here Are 5 Ways Portofino Can Seduce You For Life – of Catherine Sabino – PORTOFINO (GENOA), 2018 – FORBES – Full article here
While the Romans frolicked in what is now Portofino, one of the most enchanting seaside settings in the world, it wasn’t until the 1950s, when bold-facers were called jet-setters, that the little hamlet became a must stop on the see-and-be-seen circuit. The biggest names of the day, like Winston Churchill, Gianni Agnelli, Grace Kelly and Liz Taylor soaked up the the sun on the terraces of the Hotel Splendido, sailed along the coastline in Riva and Baglietto yachts (Agnelli owned boats from both) and whiled away their evenings at quayside watering holes with the paparazzi in fervid pursuit.
In recent times Portofino has been a requisite stop for billionaires, among them Paul Allen, David Geffen and Steven Spielberg, who travel the Mediterranean on their mega-yachts in summer. Why the enduring appeal? “Portofino maintains much the same feel that drew celebrities and Italian industrialists in the 50s and 60s,” says Alexander Coles, owner, CEO and senior broker with Bespoke Yacht Charter, who has been arranging yacht charters here and in the Mediterranean for over 15 years. “The main draw is its stunning beauty.”
But Portofino isn’t only for billionaires. The village’s relaxed chic and discreet workaday life (there are about 500 residents) make for an easy mixing of people from all walks of life. Local fishermen still ply their trade and share the harbor with visiting yachts; day visitors descend from ferries; pristine luxury shops shimmer on the ground floor of centuries-old palazzi and houses where laundry flutters stories above. However you travel, whether in luxe splendor or in less lavish ways, Portofino is sure to seduce with its natural beauty and sophisticated, elegantly rustic maritime style. Here are five reasons it will.
1. The uber-glamorous yachting scene. There are few better ways to say you’ve arrived—or confirm you are still at the top of your game—than to have your yacht drop anchor in Portofino harbor. The marina’s 16 highly coveted berths are “like gold-dust,” says Alexander Coles, “needing to be booked months in advance and are very expensive.” Even with the expense and high demand, Coles, who typically charters large motor yachts (100-250 feet in length) to a clientele that comes primarily from the financial world, along with families from the Middle East and royals, says yachting in Liguria (the Italian region where Portofino is based) is no more expensive than anywhere else in the Mediterranean. “Charter yachts tend to move around to where clients want to be, and a yacht on charter in Portofino will often have started her cruise in the south of France,” says Coles. Other charters may have begun in the city of Genoa, close to Portofino, as “a lot of large yachts are based there,” notes Coles (who also recommends yachters spend time in this often lesser known city). Typical destinations for a yacht anchored in Portofino would be nearby resorts like Rapallo and Santa Margherita Ligure or farther south, the Cinque Terre. ”On a fast motor yacht, Portofino is only four hours cruising from Monaco,” says Coles. (Rates at Bespoke Yacht Charter range from around $45,000 per week for an 80-90-foot motor boat with four cabins that can sleep up to eight, with a three-to-four-member crew. Superyachts (250 feet) that sleep as many as 36 guests, usually with a similar number of crew, are priced in excess of $500,000 per week. Charter fees are just for the yacht—local taxes, fuel, dockage fees and food and wine are extra.)
2. The alluring mix of timeless simplicity with big-time dazzle. If you’re sipping an Aperol Spritz in the piazzetta (Piazza Martiri Dell’Olivetta) overlooking the harbor, you may want to focus on seeing who rolls off the mega-yachts that just came into port. But as you get a glimpse of the fishing boats that share space with these yachts, you can’t help but think of Paul Coelho’s Brazilian classic, The Fisherman and The Businessman, a parable about ambition, where a PhD in business management lays out a plan for a simple fisherman toiling in a seaside village to become rich. But the fisherman keeps questioning the businessman about what he will gain, since he already has the life he would ultimately reward himself with when successful.
3. It’s heaven for a wide range of sports. There are over 80 kilometers of hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty on the Portofino peninsula, a protected National Park. The dramatic views of the rugged coastline trimmed with coves and glittering bays awash in green or deep blue seas will provide endless fodder for your Instagram feed. The waters around the promontory are part of a marine reserve [Marine Protected Area of Portofino]. Biologically diverse they include popular dive sites filled with red and other varieties of coral and many species of fish. Top dive destinations include the mystic Christ of the Abyss, a statue roughly 56 feet beneath the sea near San Fruttuoso, and a number of ship wrecks in the area. Kayaking tours along the Park’s coastline are available from different outfitters.
4. You can have a buzzy lunch or dinner in the piazzetta or dine Slow Food-style in the hinterlands. Classics like Da Puny, long a celebrity favorite, and Taverna del Marinaio are perfect for taking in the endlessly fascinating harborside scene. These restaurants offer great fish (try the salt-baked bronzino at Da Puny). and if you want pesto with a twist order the Taverna’s pappardalle with pesto “corto”—made with basil and tomato. For a very different kind of Portofino dining experience, head into the promontory to the Mulino del Gassetta, an ancient mill, where you can sample local dishes and home-grown products. (The Mulino is also a museum and information site.)
5. You can shop for global luxe or local chic. Portofino is a designer label mecca, but there are plenty of local shops, too. Many of the designer brands offer items exclusive to their Portofino (or seaside resort) stores, so shopping here won’t echo what you just saw in Milan on your way to the Riviera. Prime shopping spots are–you guessed it–around the piazzetta or along the narrow streets leading away from the square, where you’ll find Dior, Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Emilio Pucci, Missoni, Ferragamo and Balenciaga among other brands. Local shops offer smart linen and summer-weight cashmere sportswear and haute boho-style beachwear. Among the places to check out are La Vela Portofino, which has men’s and women’s clothing, and for footwear, the Calzoleria Mingo Portofino, where Gianni Agnelli shopped for moccasins. The French label Victoire with outposts in resorts like St. Tropez and Biarritz, has a stylish collection of French and Italian brands for men and women, ranging from casual to dressier pieces.