Portofino, a small fishing village located on the Italian Riviera south east of Genoa, is one of the favourite destinations of the rich and famous. It's tiny, picturesque, natural harbour is packed with superyachts during the summer months, and its attractive harbour-side restaurants, cafes and bars are full of celebrities and the inevitable paparazzi. The prices charged are not for the faint-hearted and the top Designer Label boutiques jossle for position among the other quaint, harbourside buildings.
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Portofino - Photo: Michal Osmenda
Nearby Santa Margherita Ligure and Rapallo are also popular seaside towns with attractive harbours, but are less exclusive than Portofino where 'A' list celebrities are happy to pay a small fortune to moor up their superyachts in one of only 14 berths. That is seriously exclusive! Portofino was popular with the Romans, who named it 'Port of the Dolphin's (Portus Delfini) due to the large number of dolphins that were seen in the area. Throughout the Middle Ages, Portofino was passed around between the Republics of Genoa and Florence, eventually becoming part of the Kingdom of Sardina in the early 19th century.
Santa Margherita Ligure - Photo: Michal Osmenda
The town's popularity grew during the late 19th century when it became a favourite destination for European aristocrats. Hollywood film stars of the 50s and 60s began to holiday there and in the 1960's it became an essential part of 'La Dolce Vita' and Italian High Society. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor became engaged on the balcony of the Hotel Splendido in Portofino. In fact, Elizabeth Taylor took all four of her husbands there... at different times! More recently, Madonna celebrated her 51st birthday there; Rihanna has been photographed eating ice cream there and British footballing royalty, Wayne and Colleen Rooney were married there!
Castello Brown, Portofino - Photo: Stan Shebs
In 1992, Portofino was imortalised in a movie, 'Enchanted April'. The movie was adapted from a book written by Elizabeth von Arnim in 1922 of the same name which was based on a month long holiday she had enjoyed at the 'Castelo Brown' in Portofino.
Population density: 176.1 per square km
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