Monday, January 10, 2011

Ligurian Gems: Camogli...

At the edge of the large promontory and nature reserve known as the Portofino Peninsula, there is the ever-charming Camogli. Its multicolor “terratetto” houses, the deceptive trompe l'oeil frescoes, and an impressive seawall dating back to the 17th century makes this little seaside harbor village just as (if not more) beautiful than its nearby neighbor, Portofino, but without the “pomp and circumstance”.

There is some terrific hiking from the village via the hamlets of San Rocco, San Niccolò, Punta Chiappa and Ruta. They may not be as popular as those just an hour south (you all know what I am talking about!) but they are bursting with beautiful nature and fantastic views. On a clear day you can see the French Alps!

You can also take the local ferry boat to San Fruttuoso Abbey - a great place to swim, snorkel and even enjoy lunch on the beach.

For a great meal, I am fond of Vento Ariel which serves traditional seafood dishes (some of the best spaghetti alle vongole around!) on a nice position in the old port. My other favorite is the more-chic but still excellent dining at SoHo which has seating literally over the water.

For overnight stays, there is 4-star Cenobio dei Dogi, just as you enter the seaside promenade which overlooks harbor, peninsula, and sea. But my personal YES would be the Villa Rosmarino. This small boutique hotel is a recent addition to the beautiful Camogliese hillside. A 10-minute walk from the seaside village, you can enjoy the tranquility of its well-manicured gardens and welcoming pool. The villa retains its typical Ligurian style with an exterior of rose paint and green shutters, yet the interior is chic, contemporary, and comfortable.

Camogli located on the main line between Genova and Rome. I do not recommend a car unless your accommodations come with a parking space. The train makes it very easy to visit the surrounding area including Genova, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Sestri Levante, Le Cinque Terre and more.

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