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 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.
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! 🙂
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.
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 (Booking.com)
Read other Velvet Escape posts on Italy:
- Picture perfect Portofino
- A day trip to Capri
- Enchanting spots: Palazzo Ducale Mantua
- My velvet escape travel tip: Tuscany
- Breathtaking Positano
- The faces of Pompeii