A few kilometres from Genoa lies a small seaside village of a thousand shades: Camogli. Discover it with us!
Camogli, with its characteristic harbour, is one of the most beautiful villages in Liguria. It is located about 20 kilometres away from the "Superb" city of Genoa and will immediately impress you with its colourful buildings.
Camogli is a typical seaside village, known as "City of a Thousand White Sailboats". The centre of the village occupies the valley to the west of the Portofino mountain and overlooks the Golfo Paradiso, along the Riviera di Levante, to the east of Genoa.
If you are thinking of spending a few days in Liguria, you should not miss this beautiful gem. Its images, with its multi-hued palaces built side by side along the beach and the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta overlooking the sea, are an emblem of Liguria.
Come with us to discover more!
Camogli: historical notes
Camogli seen from the sea
The village of Camogli has prehistoric origins. This is proven by historical artefacts found after a series of excavations in the 1960s and 1970s. The finds date back to the 16th and 13th centuries BC. Other artefacts found in the same area date back to the 2nd century B.C., in Roman times.
With the rule of the bishops of Milan, around the year 1000, "coastal and maritime Camogli" began to form and Camogli began to be mentioned in texts of the time where it appears under the name Vila Camuli. In the 12th century, the Dragonara Castle was erected to defend the seaside village, which is still visible today.
In 1853, Camogli reached its greatest moment of glory, owning a fleet of over 500 boats, thus earning the appellation "City of a Thousand White Sailboats".
The Dragonara Castle
The Dragonara Castle
Among the historical buildings there is the Dragonara Castle. The fortress was erected in medieval times in defence of the village and the coast, destroyed several times but then always rebuilt by the inhabitants of Camogli. In the 16th century, the castle was abandoned as a defensive post and was eventually used as a prison.
During the 1970s, after several decades of neglect, the manor was recovered and used to house the Tyrrhenian Aquarium. The aquarium included several tanks containing seawater where specimens of marine fauna typical of Camogli's waters could find their natural habitat: a kind of ancestor of today's Aquarium of Genoa. In fact, when this small "aquatic museum" closed, the fish and crustaceans present were transferred to the Aquarium of Genoa.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
The Basilica's frescoed vault
The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta stands on the ancient island, a large rock once detached from the mainland, where the original core of Camogli was concentrated. The castle also stands perched here.
The Basilica dates back, according to historical sources, to the 12th century, and inside there are three naves in Baroque style covered with precious gold stucco and polychrome marble, with a frescoed vault from the late 19th century.
Things to do and see in Camogli
Camogli by night
The historical centre of Camogli is characterised by tall houses (reaching up to six floors in height) attached one to the other to take advantage of the little space available behind the mountain. The buildings along the seafront have the most varied shades of colour, a typical feature of many seaside villages to make it easier for fishermen to recognise their homes.
Along the beach, close to the tall buildings there is the beautiful Garibaldi promenade, lined with shops, restaurants and bars with outdoor tables. The promenade leads to the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta. Going further on, you reach the characteristic small harbour of Camogli, nestled between the colourful buildings, where fishermen's boats are moored.
Furthermore, Camogli is an excellent starting point for those who want to visit the Riviera Ligure di Levante, from Genoa to the Cinque Terre. From here you can also set off on various excursions into the Monte di Portofino Natural Park, a true paradise for all nature and hiking enthusiasts, with over 80 km of trails.
In Camogli, we also recommend a trip to the Bay of San Fruttuoso and its Abbey. The Abbey of San Fruttuoso is a Benedictine monastery dating back to the year 1000 and is located in a unique position in the woods of the Portofino promontory.
It can be reached on foot via the paths from Ruta di Camogli, but the route is only suitable for experienced hikers. The most convenient way to reach San Fruttuoso is by boat from Camogli.