The ancient Roman historian, Plinius, called Portofino “Portus Delphini”, or port of the dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian gulf.
The bay of Portofino reflects the green of the pines that stretch out their branches over its deep blue waters. Castles, villas and cottages that can only be approached by steep footpaths perch on the hills, or lie halfway up from the coastline. they are half concealed by vine and olive leaves and rest in contemplation of the small underlying port and distant sea.
in the small village, houses border a square which declines into the waters of the port. here the fishermen haul their gozze and small boats as if on the shore of a beach. Set back from the square lies the church of Divo Martino, with its striped façade, built in the XII century in Romanesque Lombard style and renovated in the eighteenth century.
ON THE WAY FROM SANTA MARGHERITA TO PORTOFINO, A SMALL UPHILL ROAD – RIGHT BEFORE PARAGGI – TAKES YOU TO THE CERVARA MONESTARY THAT RESTS ON A STEEP CLIFF OVERLOOKING THE SEA. A SMALL GROUP OF BENEDICTINE MONKS FOUNDED THE MONASTERY THERE IN 1361 AND DEDICATED IT TO SAN GIROLAMO.
WHAT WAS ONCE THE GARDEN OF THE BENEDICTINE MONKS IS NOW THE ONLY MONUMENTAL GIARDINO ALL'ITALIANA – ITALIAN RENAISSANCE STYLE GARDEN –PRESERVED ON the ITALIAN RIVIERA. IT DIRECTLY FACES THE SEA and offers unobstructed views of THE GULF OF TIGULLIO, AND THE INLETS OF PARAGGI AND PORTOFINO.