Camogli, situated in the north-west Italian region of Liguria, between Genoa and Portofino, is a fishing settlement rather than a beach resort. Camogli’s rather ordinary shopping street a block or so inland from the coast, with the railway station, main bus stop and information office at one end, provides no clue to what is just round the corner. Step out onto the promenade and take a sharp breath. This is as much a hallucination as a view. In one direction, beyond a tottering cliff, the vast wooded cape of the promontory reaches out, crowned at the halfway point by a domed church, looking almost inaccessibly high. During poor weather the upper slopes may be lost in cloud. In the other direction Camogli’s own church stands above a stony beach, backed by a ruined fortification, on a short peninsula. The more distant curve of the Ligurian coast behind it sweeps away to Genoa and far beyond, a visual summary of the Italian Riviera.
Camogli’s little headland is a hill village in miniature, with a few houses as well as the church clustered around a couple of narrow lanes, steps and a vaulted passageway, with the remains of the stone fort guarding them at the back. From here, the landward view is filled by several tiers of pastel-painted tenements six or seven storeys high and very old.
West of the church is the real centre of Camogli, its harbour. There are a few pleasure craft, but fishing boats comprise by far the majority moored here, most of them small and some no larger than rowing skiffs, reflecting a concentration on inshore fishing. Along the quay, nets are hung up to dry – adorned with Valentine’s Day messages when we were there – and on the road nearby there are one or two shops where the daily catch is sold.
There’s not a lot to do in Camogli itself apart from enjoying the atmosphere of the town, loitering by the harbour and enjoying a drink or meal at one of several places along the front. (These aren’t cheap, but the fish will certainly be fresh.) Recommended for artists, photographers and as the start or finish of a walk on the Portofino promontory.
Travel to Camogli
Camogli is on the main rail line between Genoa and La Spezia, although not all trains stop there. A frequent and cheap bus service runs from Rapallo and Santa Margherita. From Camogli’s harbour passenger boat services run up or down the coast during the summer season: the ticket office stands nearby. Out of season, a smaller boat runs several times a day – if sea conditions allow – the short distance round the cape as far as San Fruttuoso.
Report and photographs by AH
From Camogli it is easy to take a day out in the port city of Genoa, a short train-ride away. The railway, which follows the coastline, is useful for touring the various seaside resorts in this area: Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure and exclusive Portofino. The seashore monastery San Fruttuoso makes another good outing, and energetic travellers can spend time exploring the Portofino promontory on foot.
Where to stay in Camogli
Perhaps surprisingly, Camogli has two good little boutique hotels as well as some more traditional accommodation.
The kind of hotel which features in ‘lifestyle’ pages of magazines, the Villa Rosmarino is a smart little boutique hotel with six bedrooms. It is located uphill from central Camogli, with great views along the coast. It has a garden and an outdoor swimming pool. The hotel advertises the fact that footpaths depart from its location, which will appeal to walkers. With good reports from past guests, this is a comfortable as well as a stylish place to stay.
Locanda I Tre Merli
Right in the heart of Camogli, by the harbour, you’ll find the five rooms of the Locanda I Tre Merli, a hip little establishment owned by two architects. Accommodation is chic and modern in style and the comfortable rooms feature tea- and coffee-making facilities and free internet access. There is a jacuzzi looking out onto the boats bobbing in the harbour. Prices are reasonable. Note that the Locanda has no parking nearby.
Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi
A traditional Italian seaside hotel, the Cenobio dei Dogi is situated on the seashore a short walk from the centre of Camogli. It has a terrace with views along the waterfront, and a swimming pool.
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