In the sun-kissed embrace of the Ligurian Sea lies a coastal treasure waiting to be discovered: Camogli.
Tucked away like a precious secret, this vibrant Italian village captures the heart with its pastel-painted houses, serene coves, and timeless allure.
Camogli is a testament to the authentic essence of Italy. This picturesque fishing village remains a well-kept secret, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of mainstream tourist destinations. Its charming streets, tranquil harbours, and delectable cuisine provide a glimpse into the Italian way of life that has enchanted travellers for generations. Here are ten unmissable Camogli experiences:
Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta
Admire the stunning 12th-century church with its intricate facade and climb the bell tower for panoramic vistas. The church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and features a richly decorated interior with paintings, sculptures, and a marble altar. The bell tower dates back to the 13th century. It is the highest point in Camogli and offers a breathtaking view of the village and the sea.
Castello della Dragonara
Immerse yourself in history as you explore the medieval castle perched above the village, offering captivating coastal views. The castle was built in the 15th century as a defensive fortress against pirate attacks and later became a prison and a customs house. Today, it hosts exhibitions and cultural events and is open to the public. From its terrace, you can admire the scenery of Camogli and the Portofino Peninsula.
Witness the bustling heart of Camogli at its picturesque harbour, where fishing boats and vibrant facades reflect in the calm waters. The wharf is the oldest part of the village and preserves its fishing tradition and atmosphere. You can stroll along the promenade, watch the fishermen at work, and enjoy the colourful houses that line the shore. The wharf is also the starting point for boat trips to nearby attractions.
Bask under the sun at the village's inviting beaches, perfect for relaxation. The beaches in Camogli are mostly pebbly and have clear blue water. You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas or find a free spot and enjoy the sun and the sea.
Festa della Stella Maris
Photo by Welcome Camogli
Join the annual sea festival with boat processions, music, and fireworks, celebrating Camogli's deep maritime roots. The festival takes place on the first Sunday of August and honours the Madonna of the Sea, the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. The festival's highlight is the procession of boats decorated with lights and flowers, which carry a statue of the Madonna from the church to the sea. The procession is followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the water.
Camogli's Maritime Museum
Delve into the village's seafaring heritage at the museum, where captivating exhibits bring history to life. The museum, located in the former palace of the Doria family, showcases the maritime history and culture of Camogli from the Middle Ages to the present day. You can learn about the shipbuilding industry, the naval academy, the fishing techniques, and the life of the sailors and their families. The museum also displays models of ships, nautical instruments, paintings, and memorabilia.
San Rocco di Camogli
Embark on a scenic hike through lush landscapes to reach this hilltop sanctuary, where stunning vistas await. San Rocco di Camogli is a small hamlet located about 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mount Portofino. It is famous for its church, which houses a painting of Saint Roch, the protector of plague victims. The church also offers a panoramic view of Camogli and the sea. You can follow several hiking trails from San Rocco that lead to other attractions, such as Punta Chiappa and San Fruttuoso.
Camogli is an excellent base for exploring the wonders of the Portofino Peninsula by boat. You can take a ferry or a private boat and visit the San Fruttuoso Abbey, a 10th-century monastery in a secluded bay surrounded by nature and history. You can also visit the Abbey of San Giorgio, a Romanesque church that stands on a cliff overlooking the sea near Portofino. Both abbeys are rich in art and history and offer amazing views.
Sunset at Punta Chiappa
Be captivated by the mesmerizing sunset views from Punta Chiappa, a serene spot accessible by boat or hiking. Punta Chiappa is a rocky promontory that juts into the sea at the end of the Portofino Peninsula. It is a popular destination for nature lovers, offering a peaceful and scenic environment with clear water and diverse marine life. You can reach Punta Chiappa by boat from Camogli or hiking from San Rocco. The best time to visit is at sunset, when you can witness the sky and the sea changing colours and creating a magical atmosphere.
Camogli vs. Portofino - A Tale of Two Coastal Charms
Camogli (top) and Portofino. Photo by Pixabay and Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash
Camogli invites you to savour its unspoiled authenticity. Enjoy a tranquil atmosphere, interact with friendly locals, and indulge in Ligurian delicacies without the fanfare. The village's accessibility and serene charm make it an ideal base for exploration.
Portofino is the realm of luxury and elegance. Portofino will enchant you if you seek a glamorous atmosphere, upscale shopping, and a taste of high life. The iconic harbour, framed by colourful buildings and luxury yachts, creates a stunning backdrop for upscale dining and chic adventures.
As you navigate the stunning Ligurian coast, consider embracing the hidden allure of Camogli for an authentic Italian experience while reserving a day trip to Portofino for a taste of Mediterranean sophistication.
To reach Camogli, fly into Genoa's Cristoforo Colombo Airport. Jump on a train for a scenic ride along the coast.