San Fruttuoso's bay is a fascinating inlet between Camogli and Portofino. Between the woods and the blue sea of eastern Liguria stands the Benedictine abbey dating back to the year 1000, which since 1983 has been part of the Fai heritage. The small inlet can be reached only by sea or on foot through an itinerary among nature and breathtaking landscapes.
San Fruttuoso's Abbey
San Fruttuoso's Abbey was built in the middle of the 10th century by Greek monks and was later entrusted to the Benedictines, but over the years it has also been the home of fishermen and the property of the Doria family. The great tower was built by Andrea Doria to ensure greater protection. The loggia with two orders of three-mullioned windows was built in the thirteenth century thanks to donations from the Doria family. The upper cloister was rebuilt in the sixteenth century by the will of Admiral Andrea Doria. Still today it is visible on the two facades facing the sea the coat of arms of the Doria family depicting the imperial eagle. In 1983 the Doria Pamphilj family donated the abbey to the Fai (Fondo Ambiente Italiano). According to tradition, it was the martyr Fruttuoso himself who choose the bay as a place to bring his relics to safety, indicating it in a dream to Prospero, bishop of Tarragona in flight from Spain. Today the relics of the martyr are collected in a small silver casket on the main altar.
A tour of the small town
The small inlet between Camogli and Portofino can only be reached by sea or by a one-hour walk and is always a fascinating discovery. A visit to the small fishing village is a plunge into history and nature, as it is immersed in the Portofino Regional Natural Park. The village offers thirty-three hectares of Mediterranean scrubland which, thanks to the difficult access, are intact. There are daily boat trips to the beautiful bay from Camogli, Portofino, Chiavari, Rapallo, Lavagna and Santa Margherita Ligure as well as a direct boat trip from Genoa. As well as visiting the Benedictine abbey, you can dive into the crystal clear sea that holds the statue of Christ of the Abyss and admire the Doria Tower. The large bronze statue of Christ, with his arms stretched upwards, was placed in the bay in 1954 in memory of those who died at sea and those who have dedicated their lives to the sea. The bronze statue is 2.50 m high and weighs 260 kg. To admire it, if visibility is good, it is possible to see it from the surface with a bathyscope, i.e. easily by apnea. Every year, at the end of August, an evocative ceremony takes place with the blessing of the waters, the procession by torchlight, and the immersion of divers who reach the Christ and lay a laurel wreath on it. A copy of the statue was made and since 1974 it can also be admired in the chapel of the Church of San Fruttuoso. In the halls of the monastery complex there is a museum dedicated to the history of the abbey, in which the ancient Romanesque structures have also been brought to light. Tableware discovered in a monastery storeroom is displayed in several showcases, all of various geographical origins.
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