Portofino - Is Seeing Really Believing?! | Designer Travel

Portofino, on the Italian Riviera, is a must-see port of call for many cruise ships…and was indeed how I came to visit it some years ago….

Originally known as Portus Delphini, because so many dolphins inhabited the sea around it, Portofino was once just a small Italian village. Since the 1950’s it has become a very famous (and pricey)resort. Nevertheless it has lost none of its natural beauty, it has a wonderful picturesque harbour, interesting trails to explore, the Church of St. Martin and the Castello Brown hilltop fortress. Then there are the Designer shops, art galleries, sumptuous restaurants and great cafes from which to watch the world go by.

For me though, the ‘icing on the cake’ are the wonderful wonderful pastel-coloured ancient buildings, which are often not quite what they seem!

Portofino has an absolute plethora of amazing Trompe-l’oeil, the art of ‘tricking the eye’, which I found fascinating! Look up at the windows..how many are actually real?…and what about the pillars and ornate arches, the balustrades and lintels? So much of what you think you are seeing is actually not there at all! Purely the creation of ingenious and skilled artists I was in awe of their ability to convince me that not only were there shuttered windows in the topmost floors of the delightful houses, but that they were open! Or that those alcoves and recessed gateways were in fact just creatively painted onto flat walls! Confusing, deceptive and magical…I could have stayed there for hours…but I would have missed the boat!

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