Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Portofino: from small fishing town to luxury marina

Few Italian towns demonstrate generational contrasts like Genoa’s Portofino. What was once a sleepy fishing town has been transformed by its popularity as a place to drop anchor by sailors, drawn by the charms of the Italian Riviera. 
It’s not hard to see why. The picturesque harbor is surrounded by brightly colored houses, most commanding views of the ocean, where dolphins can be spotted frolicking in the tranquil blue waters. 
Tourism is big business here, but it’s not all luxury boutiques and expensive restaurants. Ancient secrets of the town can be discovered at the 12th century San Giorgio Church, housing relics brought back from the crusades. It’s just one of the many historic sites worth a visit, but perhaps the most remarkable attraction is in the harbor itself. 
Hidden 17 meters below the water is the haunting Statue of Christ of the Abyss. Originally submerged as a talisman to protect fishermen and scuba divers, the bronze statue looks up at the sunlight from beneath the water, arms outstretched in worship. If you’re a qualified diver, he’s well worth escaping the hustle and bustle above the water to visit, where you can join him for a few precious moments in his tranquil underwater home.