The Abbey of San Fruttuoso: Liguria’s Hidden Gem
Dating back to the 10th century, the Abbey of San Fruttuoso is a picturesque location for any visitor to the Italian Riviera. Located just 30 minutes from the port city of Genoa, the Abbey is easily reachable by train, then either by foot or boat. In front of the Abbey is small pebble-stone beach, making it the perfect getaway from the busy nearby beaches. Individual restaurants line the beach, offering fresh seafood, and a Genoese speciality – pasta with pesto.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach the Abbey from Genoa, is to take the train from Genoa Brignole station to Camogli, a nearby fishing village. The trains are every 30 minutes, and it costs just under 6 euros for a return trip, 30 minutes each way.
What to Do
Once there, take some time to have a walk along the sea front at Camogli. Small restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops can easily occupy an hour, before you head on towards the end of the port and the ticket office. A return adult ticket to San Fruttuoso costs 13 euros, and the journey takes around 30 minutes too. Boats depart every hour, and the ticket office will tell you the times that they will return (usually every hour too).
The views you get on the way to San Fruttuoso are truly spectacular, displaying the typical image of the Italian Riviera. Brightly coloured houses, luscious green hills and an array of beaches pass you on your way to the Abbey. Then, out of nowhere peeps the little Abbey and its humble sea front, almost as though you are discovering it for the first time.
You can easily spend the best part of a day at San Fruttuoso, spending a couple of hours sunbathing on the beach and a bit of time exploring the Abbey and the Doria Tower. There is lots to be discovered about this unique place – it’s been everything from a Benedictine monastery to a pirates den, hence why 35,000 people visit each year. It also makes a nice stopping off point if you’re on your way to the more famous city of Portofino – you can purchase tickets for here from the ticket office at Camogli too. Ticket prices for the Abbey and the Doria tower vary depending on the season, but are between 6 and 7.50 euros. This also gets you access to the exhibition set up, and children’s tickets are cheaper. However, do check with the boat operators when the opening/closing times will be. The Abbey is open later in summer, but as it is only reachable by boat, it does also depend on weather and sea conditions as to how long the Abbey is open for.
How to Get Off the Beaten Track
If you’re feeling more adventurous, San Fruttuoso is also accessible by following a trail outlined by the park of Portofino. You have two routes to choose from, and follow the signs for around 2-3 hours depending on what path you take and including rest stops. You will be taken through the nearby village of Recco, and through a wooded area offering spectacular views of the Liguria countryside. More information on the trails is available online.
Start Planning a Trip
If you’re visiting the Italian Riviera this summer, San Fruttuoso is a must-see. Whether it be part of a bigger tour of the Cinque Terre, or a day trip from the cities of Genoa or Portofino, you won’t regret including it on your itineraries. Spend a few hours unwinding and relaxing amongst the midst of some authentic Italian architecture, and somewhere that remains a unique location even today.
By Mariah Feria