Well, no, I didn’t. Sadly. I obviously wasn’t here long enough; you’d have to look far and wide for a more romantic place to find love. Just ask Bogie and Bacall, or Dolce and Gabbana, or Madonna, or Elizabeth Taylor, or George Clooney.

As you might have guessed, Portofino is one of the world’s glamour spots. But on this balmy spring day at least, the little Ligurian fishing village is blissfully free of celebrities and their hangers-on.

Andrea Bocelli found love in Portofino – or, at least, he sings about it rather beautifully. Have a listen while I show you some pictures and tell you about a lovely local project.

Restore, reuse and revamp in Portofino

Niasca Portofino is a group of local women working to restore local traditions, reuse abandoned land and revamp decaying buildings. I’m at their HQ in Via del Fondaco for an olive oil tasting, in which, admittedly, I have only a middling interest. However, I’m in for a delicious surprise.

We begin our visit with a wander up in the hills above Fondaco, past vines and groves of lemon and olive trees. My nose is happily sniffing the flowers, the aromatic herbs and spices. We walk over to a villa with a terraced garden and a cavern used for wine and beer production. Hens roam around. Best of all, from up here, the view of Portofino is pure fairytale.


Back at headquarters, we’re taught the art of creating pesto, a Ligurian specialty…

All the makings of Pesto Genovese


Making pesto properly is manual work, with a pestle and mortar

and boom, on the plate in a matter of seconds

…then’s we’re treated to a vegetarian feast. That’s right, this is one place in Italy where vegetarianism is not considered an exotic disease. In fact, one of the young women behind the project is a vegetarian herself.


In addition to a wide array of tastings and cooking courses (veg or non-veg), Niasca also offers guided tours in and around the hills of Mount Portofino.

Disclosure: I was in Portofino as a guest of Turismo in Liguria. As always, I retain complete freedom to write about all or nothing, whatever takes my fancy, good or bad… you know.