The colours of the sea fill your eyes and soul, the perfume opens your lungs, the wind ruffles your hair happily and salt gets inside the skin warmed by the sun. The light, reflected from the water, forces you to squint or to hide behind big sunglasses. Once left the port of Camogli with its colourful houses and Golfo Paradiso, the boat goes around the promontory of Portofino Natural Park and enters the homonymous Marine Protected Area. From the hordes of tourists in August to the solitude of winter crossings with dolphins accompanying the boat bouncing happily in the waves: the meetings that you make are never commonplace.
After 30 minutes of journey by sea, a small creek opens the rocky coast, getting closer you spot first the Doria tower and as you enter the Bay you see all the tiny hamlet of San Fruttuoso set between the sea, the mountains and the Mediterranean: one treasure chest! The ancient Abbey with its tower overlooking the sea draws immediate attention. An abbey with a beach, what a surprise! This enchanting place today belongs to the FAI which, after receiving it as a donation in 1983 by Frank and Orietta Pogson Doria Pamphili, has recovered it, restored and opened it to everyone.
Once you leave behind the small beach and any swimmers you enter the abbey where silence reigns – even today. These walls of the X-XIII century tell the story of a typical bustling seaside town: a Benedictine monastery, safe shelter for pirates, then for centuries the property of one of the most influential families of Genoa, the Dorias, becoming makeshift home of settlers who lived there up to the donation to the FAI.
Today the simple structure can be visited throughout the year together with the church dedicated to San Fruttuoso. Indoors we can arrange events for a maximum number of 120 persons seated in the living rooms with large windows overlooking the bay. The cloister is ideal for receptions or private concerts. The inner garden of the Abbey, overlooking the sea, can be set up for private functions such as engagements or symbolic weddings. Couples who wants to get married in San Fruttuoso may use the Church for their religious celebration.
Very special and very romantic is the stay in the guesthouse located in the seaside village, which can accommodate up to 4 people, now managed by the Landmark Trust and English. Here you fall asleep lulled by the sound of the sea and by the calls of nocturnal animals of the forest. A return to the past!
The abbey, as well as by sea, can also be reached on foot through several trails that cross the promontory of Portofino. The shortest walking takes nearly one and a half hours before arriving at destination, but the effort is fully compensated by the breath-taking views.
Thanks to its wide green spaces shaped by man with the typical terraces, here you can also organize days dedicated to active team-building for corporate groups.
The visit to San Fruttuoso is always a unique and unrepeatable experience where the approach is an integral part of the experience. Here nature still reigns. When the sea is rough the boats cannot sail and the Saint receives only those who come on foot.
On December 24th the Abbey celebrates Christmas Eve with a Mass, made most impressive by the performance of a vocal choir, toasts of good wishes with mulled wine and Genovese sweet rolls. The boat, reserved for guests, leaves Camogli at 22.40 hours. Those who want to participate in this special celebration may book at phone number 0185 772 703.
Abbazia di San Fruttuoso, Camogli (GE)
Tel. 0185 772703 – firstname.lastname@example.org