San Fruttuoso was a Benedictine monastery and then over the years, it was also a pirates’ cove and a fishing village. Located in a stunning bay with breathtaking views attracts many tourists every year. Is it worth to visit it? Absolutely yes!
How to reach San Fruttuoso?
There is no road that leads to San Fruttuoso. The only way to reach it is to take a ferry or arrive there on foot.
– by ferry – the ferries depart from Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. More info here and here and here.
– on foot – there are several trails that lead to San Fruttuoso they are quite steep and it takes about 2 h walk to reach it. More info here.
San Fruttuoso – bishop and martyr
The abbey is dedicated to Saint Fructuosus, a III century bishop of Tarragona in north-east Spain. He was martyred under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor. In the VIII century the relics of Fructuosus were moved here and they are still kept at the abbey.
Why Peninsula of Portofino?
Because of the very inaccessibility of the site and the presence of a source of fresh water. In the VIII century, it was an ideal location for the foundation of a church. It is said that it was the martyr St Fructuosus himself who chose the bay. He appeared in a dream of St Prospero, Bishop of Tarragon, who was fleeing Spain to escape the Moors. In that dream, St Fructuosus had indicated the small bay of peninsula of Portofino as a perfect place for safeguard his ashes.
Construction of the abbey
The abbey was founded by the Order of Saint Benedict and most of its buildings date to the X and XI centuries. The cloisters are XII century and were modified in the XVI century by Andrea Doria. The building facing the sea was built in the XIII century to a similar design to the noble palaces of Genoa.
Tombs of Doria Family
In the XV century, the noble Genoan family Doria purchased the whole abbey and they use it as a place where to bury their ancestors. In fact, the abbey contains tombs of members of Doria family dating from 1275 to 1305, along with other tombs and an ancient Roman sarcophagus. The Doria tombs have black and white stripes, typical of the Ligurian architecture of the period.
Above the abbey stands Torre Doria, a watchtower erected in 1562 by the Doria family. Nowadays the tower is still a house of some descendants of the fishermen that lived here in the past.
Decline and rebirth
In the XVII century, the abbey went into decline, and parts of it were used for keeping sheep. In 1730 Camillo Doria restored the abbey and returned the church to liturgical use. Some of the buildings were damaged by flooding in 1915, these were restored by the Italian state in 1933. In 1983 the Doria Pamphili family donated the San Fruttuoso complex to the heritage organisation FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano). Restoration of the buildings started in 1985 and was completed in 2017.
Cristo degli abissi (Christ of the Abyss)
It is a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ that was placed in the Ligurian Sea, close to San Fruttuoso Bay. The statue was immersed in August 1954, at approximately 17 metres depth. It was placed near the spot where Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use scuba gear, died in 1947. The statue of Christ is dedicated to all scuba divers and it is offering a benediction of peace and fortune to all of them.
Is open all year round with the following opening hours:
January, February, March, October, November and December: 10am – 3.45pm
April, May and the second half of September: 10am – 4.45pm
June, July, August and the first half of September: 10am – 5.45pm
Last entry: 45 minutes before closure
The opening hours may be subject to change based on the weather and the sea conditions, and are also dependent on the hours of the scheduled boats to and from Camogli.
The abbey will be closed to the public on non-public-holidays Monday in the months of January, February, November and December.Extraordinary opening on 24th and 31st December. Closed on 25th December.
• Adults: €7
• Reduced (aged 6-18): €3
• Children aged 0-5: free entry
• Students aged 25 or under: €3
• National Trust members*, those with disabilities + 1 companion: free entry
• Family: €17. Allows entry at reduced rates for family groups composed of 2 adults and 2 children (6-18 years of age). Free entry for any additional children in the family group.
• School students: €3 per student
Absolutely the place to be!
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2 Replies to “San Fruttuoso – a monastery and one of the most beautiful beaches in Liguria!”
So very very interesting and I thank You from the bottom of my heart
I’m so glad you like it and that you find it interesting! Thank you Sven!