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The beach in Camogli

Camogli is a fishing village at the foot of the Monte di Portofino (Portofino Mountain) in the heart of the Italian Riviera. Located about a 2.5-hour drive from Milan and a short distance away from Genoa, Camogli (map) is a favourite weekend getaway for many Italians in this part of the country. Hemmed in by the steep slopes of the Monte di Portofino and the bright blue Ligurian Sea, it’s a stunning town with impressive multi-coloured houses, a picturesque harbour and a little fortress at the top of a rocky promontory. The name Camogli, roughly translated, means either houses packed closely together or houses of wives – the latter meaning probably refers to the wives of the fishermen who made their living in the village while their husbands were at sea.

My good friend Simon (@1step2theleft) chose Camogli as her ‘Velvet Escape‘ and insisted I visit this village on my recent trip to Italy. I’m really glad I did. When you arrive in Camogli, the first thing that draws your attention are the colours: the brilliant pastel hues of the houses and the cheery fishing boats in the harbour. The weather was gorgeous on the day I arrived. The sun shone brightly and the houses and the harbour simply sparkled.

The map of Camogli at the train station
Camogli’s colourful houses

Focaccia and more colourful scenes

Following Simon’s recommendation, I stopped by the famous Revello focacceria for some focaccias. I found a bench along the promenade and downed the delicious focaccia filled with melted goat cheese. The promenade is a great place to people-watch, especially on a Sunday afternoon; from camera-toting tourists to families frolicking in the sea and elderly ladies enjoying their afternoon cocktails. The word “colourful” kept popping into my mind! šŸ™‚

Focacceria Revello
Cheese focaccia
Families frolicking in the sea at Camogli
Camogli’s main square
Camogli = houses packed closely together!
Camogli’s colourful harbour

Camogli’s fishing traditions

When you’re strolling around, look out for signs of the village’s centuries-old fishing traditions such as religious statues, ships in a bottle and various symbols made of seashells embedded in the walls of houses. In the 17th century, Camogli was a rich fishing village, with the only Tonnara (tuna trap) along the Ligurian coast. Only men were allowed to work on the tonnara and the villagers received stocks of free tuna. The tonnara is currently operated by the local fish cooperative in accordance with traditional fishing techniques. Every year, the village’s fishing traditions are celebrated in the second weekend of May during the annual fish-fry. The villagers use what must be the world’s largest skillet (about four meters across!) to fry fish donated by the fish cooperative.

Attributes of Camogli’s rich fishing tradition

Getting to Camogli

Camogli is located along the Ligurian coast, about a 2.5-hour drive from Milan or a short hop from Genoa. If you love driving through tunnels, you’ll love this drive! The coastal highway is perched high up in the mountains and winds its way through countless tunnels. When you’re not in a tunnel, the views of the imposing mountains and the stunning coast far below are absolutely stupendous! Camogli is also accessible by boat, bus or train from other towns along the Italian Riviera such as Genoa, the Cinque Terre (or La Spezia), Portofino and Santa Margherita. Read about exploring the Italian Riviera.

Search for hotels in Camogli.

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14 Responses

  • […] Camogli is a fishing town at the foot of the Monte di Portofino. Famous for its colourful buildings and annual fish-fry, Camogli also has a popular beach and a picturesque harbour. Spend some time here exploring the fortress, the narrow alleyways and the centuries-old fishing traditions. And stop by the famous Revello focacceria for some delicious focaccias. The beach in Camogli Camogli's charming harbour […]

  • Camogli is our go-to beach for a day away. It’s about an hour and a few minutes from us, and makes for a complete change from the wine country where we live. I always find it relaxing there, and to me it’s very authentic and sweet. I often direct our inn guests there for a day rather than Portofino as Camogli is a working fishing village and one can get a sense of the life of normal people there. It’s truly lovely.

  • Thank you Lara. When Simon wrote about Camogli as a guest post on my blog, I knew I had to visit it one day. I got my chance last summer and it was fantastic. It’s such a lovely place and the colours are absolutely stunning!

    Glad you liked this post.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • Camogli is a favourite spot of ours – we spent some time there when writing a Northern Italy book. It has some of the best eating and drinking on the coast and we actually prefer it in many ways to the Cinque Terre towns close by. Glad you included it!

  • Camogli is such a cute name.. and a gorgeous place! I had never heard of it till now! I really must LIVE more! šŸ˜€ (gr8 post dear keith)

  • Thanks for the advise. I’ll definitely go and visit it, looks like such a magic place. Fish fry festa sounds good too..

  • Thanks for your comment Marco. You have to visit Camogli. When I was there I heard lots of great stories about the annual fish-fry. Sounds like a fun festival!

    Cheers,
    Keith

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