Liguria, in North Western Italy, is a huge rocky arch that stretches from Tuscany to the border with France.
Almost at its middle, upon a small promontory, lies Camogli, a real gem: today a tourist destination, few decades ago a fishermen village and earlier an important trade harbour.
The tiny harbour was once – around the end of Middle Age – one of the most trafficked in Europe.
Camogli was called the “city of a thousand white sails” because of the many ships that were always cruising through its port.
Today there aren’t many sails anymore but still the view from the seaside is amazing, especially at sunset: a row of high yellow buildings ornate with baroque façades.
But when you pay a bit more attention, you realize it’s just a trompe l’ oeil: everything (even some of the windows) is painted over the masonry. At the end of the game, those were just poor fishermen’s houses.
But still they are a great photo opportunity, for both, general views and close ups.
Behind the first row of buildings you find narrow lanes, hidden corners, small arches: an enchanting background for everyday life, and a perfect set for your street photos.
In ancient times the village and the harbour were defended by the massive Dragonara Castle.
Built on a tiny island just out of the harbour, today it is linked to the mainland by a small bridge that overlooks the port and hosts the dehors of a couple of cafés.
If you walk through the steep and narrow lanes of the castle area you’ll find many beautiful corners and panoramic points of view.
A heron isn’t at all one of the most common encounters you can have at Camogli and in general in all urban areas in Italy.
But there is a heron that’s a common visitor of the harbour: nobody harms it, and it gets fish for food either in the sea or in the fishermen’s nests.
From Camogli, you can get a ferry and after about 30 minutes of scenic sail you’ll be rewarded by the view of San Fruttuoso, a medieval abbey nestled at the foot of sloping mountains, and built at the edge of the land, directly on a beach.
The lowest arches of the building host fishermen’s boats and nets, and the whole area is surrounded by lush vegetation and deep silence.
San Fruttuoso can only be accessed by a challenging hiking trail (more like an old mountain goat path) or by ferry connection during the high season.
Built before year 1000, it has been in the ages abbey, pirates shelter, fishermen’s house, deposit, and then, for centuries, the property of the Princes of Doria.
Hidden in a tiny cove, it welcomes the visitors coming from the sea with its gothic façade directly above the small pebbles beach.
The interior is also worth a visit if you like Gothic atmosphere and stone buildings.
If you’re fit enough, follow the path that links San Fruttuoso with the nearby villages, at least for a while It’s a great hike in the nature, where you will smell the Mediterranean scent and enjoy wonderful views.