When visiting Liguria, having someone that is more than a tour guide can make the difference between a pleasant journey and an unforgettable, superior experience.
Qualified insiders help you save time and avoid tourist traps, and they make the destination come alive with local anecdotes and expert access. Our interviews provide a unique occasion to have tips and opinions on the territory by a local expert!
Today we meet Francesca, one of our insiders for the area of Portofino. Born in Genova, she has a degree in geology and is an expert of local rocks, plants and fish. Her big passion? To bring together nature, traditions and food when exploring the trails and hamlets of the Italian Riviera.
Which trail do you love the most and why?
The path I love the most is certainly the one that connects Toca/Semaforo Nuovo to Pietre Strette, because it offers panoramic views of San Fruttuoso, the rocky conglomerates and the beautiful vegetation of Portofino’s Natural Regional Park, very unique!
What are the top 3 tips you would give to trekkers that visit Portofino for the first time?
I would suggest enjoying the 3 main villages of the promontory – Camogli, Portofino and Santa Margherita – because they are similar to each other and yet they have very different souls. Then, I would recommend admiring the unique vegetation of the Natural Park, as it’s on a mountain that overlooks the sea. And finally, to swim in the sea of San Fruttuoso where the water has a magnificent turquoise colour!
What are the things that remain in the hearts of the visitors you accompany?
The breath-taking views, the stories about the traditions of local fishermen, and how ancient these villages are.
What do tourists ask you the most?
The most frequent question regards the origins of the fame of Portofino, which everyone expects to be bigger and more ostentatious! It’s always nice to tell its story, about how the foundation of the Natural Park before the war saved this small fishermen’s village from excessive constructions, while after the war it became a pearl of the Mediterranean, attracting visitors from all over the world, also thanks to the intervention of a very intelligent and incredibly generous Scottish writer.
We know that you are a good cook: which Ligurian dish do you prefer cooking?
I love cooking: I have a passion for vegetables, which I choose according to the season in the markets where I find local farmers. Vegetable pies are my favourites: I make “pasta matta Genovese” (Genoese crazy pasta) and then I go all out with egg fillings, vegetables and cheese!
The village you care most for in Portofino’s Natural Park is…
The village I love the most is Camogli, in particular during clear winter days.
A photo to take home along the trekking trails?
The cliffs and the rocky conglomerates where the plants struggle to take root, but where the birds of prey nest because they look like fortified strongholds!
Share with us some advice as a local
Try the handmade ravioli with local herbs at Agriturismo “Il Monte”, the food takes you back in time!
Thank you, Francesca!
Do you want to explore Portofino with one of our insiders?