The Dream of Portofino.

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    THEDREAMOFPORTOFINO

    The ancient Roman historian, Plinius, called Portofino Portus Delphini, a latindenominationthatcomesfromthefactthatthesurroundingsseawasfrequentedbyalotofDolphins. To navigate is necessary formany people, for others it is a pastime. There arethosewhowork on the sea, thosewho idle, the poor and rich of the sea, thosewho earnmillions andotherswho spendmillions. Immensenoisyports arenecessary for the formerwhilesmallquietinletsaresufficientforthelatter.Withoutdoubt,PortofinoisoneofthemostfamousrefugesinEuropeandoneofthemostadaptedtosheltersportingboats.ThereisnotoneItalian,English,French,BelgianorDutchyachtthathasnotanchoredhereatleastonce.ThedelightfulbayofPortofinoreflectstheperennialgreenofthepinesthatstretchouttheirairybranchesoveritsdeepbluewatersanditisringedbysteeplushgreenhills,serenelyprofiledagainstthesky.Castles,villas,largeandsmall,andcottagesthatcanonlybeapproachedbysteepfoot-pathsperchonhillocksor liehalfway up from the costline: they are half concealed by vine and olive leaves and rest inblissfulcontemplationofthesmallunderlyingportanddistantsea.Alongtheedgesofthebayaremirroredthepalepinkfishermenshouseswhicharetoppedby roof terraces covered with flowering geraniums. These houses border a square whichdeclinesintothewatersoftheport;herethefishermenhauluptheirgozzi(aspecialtypeofdouble-prowedboatusedintheMediterranean)andsmallboatsasifontheshoreofabeach.

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    Underthepointedarchesofthearcadesaroundthesquarethegreengrocers,thetobacconist,barber,carpenterandfancygoodsmerchantsawaitwithindarkshopstoselltheircommerce;themanyboutiquesdisplaythelatestsplendidmodelsinfashion;therestaurantshavetheirtablessetoutsideandattractpassinggourmetscomingfromallpartsoftheglobe.The screaming half-dressed childrenplay on the cobble stoned square and the women,sittingbesidestallsladenwithlacegoods,seemtomakethepillowlacespoolsdancebetweentheir fingers.Portofino is an oasis of peacesituated in a spot of incomparable naturalbeautywherethehousesandmansbelongingsfeignanapparentpovertytopleasetherichdilettanti of the sea. These amateurs, too, in their enjoyment do everything possible tohumiliatethemselves:theygobarefoot,manybaretheirchestsandwearsailortypetrousersor else sit at the restaurants in their shirt sleeves. In this way one can see kings, princes,princesses, famous actors and actresses, artists from all parts of theworld, politicians, etc.pass throughPortofino. There is not one Italian or foreign tourist who does not visitPortofino at least once in his lifetime,SalvatorGotta. In the first picture,Sharondreams inPortofino.HISTORICALOUTLINEOFPORTOFINOAs for many other places in Liguria, it is impossible to indicate the origins of Portofinobecause they are lost in themost remote past. Also, the fact that the village archiveswereburntbyfanaticsduringtheFrenchRevolutionmakesitsancienthistoryevenmoreobscure.Portofino,however,rivals inantiquitywithanyothertownonLiguriansoil. It isobvioustodeducethatinancienttimestheTiguliiLiguriansstartedtoinhabitthelandaroundthebay,probablyenticedbywhattheycouldprofitfromthenaturalportasitwasaneasyshelterforshipsofthosetimesduringstorms.Atthattimetheabundanceoffishwasalsoanattractionfortheinhabitantsofthegulf.As amatter of fact,ashasalreadybeenmentioned,PliniusreferredtoPortusDelphiniwhen he visited the Gulf of Tigullia. It is reasonable to believe that when Liguria wasconquered by the Romans Portofino came under their government and then passed to theemperors of the Holy Roman Empire. It remained in their control until Saint Adelagia,empressandqueenofItaly,cameintopower,andin986shegaveitalongwithotherlandstotheMonasteryofSanFruttuoso(abbeyoftheBenedictinemonksbuiltinacoveatthebaseoftheMountofPortofino).SaintAdelagiawasinspiredtomakesuchapreciousgiftforthesoulofherconsort,OthotheGreat,andforthehealthofherson,OthoII,whoourLordhadsavedfromastormatseadueto the merits of the most holy Fruttuoso and the prayers of his fellow monks.PortofinoremainedundertheBenedictinemonksuntiltheyear1171whenquestionsarosebetweenthemandtheinhabitantsandconsulsofPortofinoandRapallo.AcompromisewasmadebyAnsaldoDoria,RolandoMarino,EliaDaBancaandArmando,priorofSanFruttuoso,andonFebruary18th,1171adecreewasissuedinwhichtheinhabitantsofPortofinopassedundertheciviljurisdictionoftheRapalleseconsulswhohadtopaythemonastery70Genoeselire.

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    In1414theFrenchtyrannizedLiguriaundertheprotestofprotectingituntiltheGenoesebecame tired of this and threw off the french yoke. Thus the French, seeing themselvesobliged to abandon Liguria, sold various Ligurian castles, among which Portofino, to theFlorentines.TheGenoeseaskedtheFlorentinesforanexplanationofthisabuseofpowerand,not being given reason, declared war which came to a friendly end in the same yearandPortofinowasreturnedtotheGenoese(AmmiratoScipione:Dellestoriefiorentine).In1425TommasoofCampofregosohadtoliberateGenoafromtheruleofthedukeofMilanand attacked many holdings, including Portofino which he took possession of, under theGenoese Republic. But the Fregoso family held Portofino for only a few years and asGiustinianiwritesinbookIVofhisannals, in1430itwasrecoveredbytheGenoeseleadbyFrancescoSpinola,sonofOttobono.Infact,AndreoloPrato,ownerofapartofPortofinoandacting as its representative, swore fidelity to the Genoese Republic in the same year. (F.Federici:Scrutiniodellanobiltaligustica).TherepublicaddedPortofino to the territoryofRapalloandincludeditinthesocalledquarterofPescinowhichcomprisedin1642theparishesofSantaMargherita,Corte,SanSiro,NozaregoandPortofino(FromtheregisteroflandedpropertiesinthearchivesoftheGenoesegovernment).The republic ruledPortofino as a feudal estateandeveryyeartheysentagovernor,chosenfromapatricianfamily, there: thisgovernorresidedinthefortressonthepeninsula and also commanded the garrison troops. There were only two of this type ofgovernmentinLiguria,oneatPortofinoandtheotheratVentimiglia:theiradministrationwasentrustedtofourconsuls(SummaryoftheGenoesehistory).Thissystemofgovernmentonlylasted for fourteen years, thenGiovanniAntonio Fiesco,whowas atwarwith the republic,occupiedPortofinobutafterashorttimehesurrenderedittotheGenoese.In1459thecastleandportwereseizedbyPietroFregoso,butsoonafterGiovanniCosciaorCossa retook these two positions in the name of the Genoese Republic as pointed out inGiovanniSimonettashitsoryofFrancescoSforza,dukeofMilan.Inthisarticleonecanread,Nevertheless at Genoa orders were issued to recover Portofino moreover a fleet of tengalleys and two shipswith Giovanni Coscia in commandwas prepared and alongwith theinfantrytheyreconqueredPortofino.In 1513 the Adorno and Fieschi families, backed by the duke of Milan and the Swiss,attemptedtoseizeGenoa,declaredwarontherepublicandtookPortofino. InthissituationGenoawasinneedofprovisionsandthedoge,Antoniotto,andtheeldersofthecitydecidedtoreconquer Portofino in order to have a port fromwhich supplies could reach Genoa. TheyentrustedthisactiontotwothousandmercenariesandthesamenumberofGenoesecitizens.However,AndreaDoria,whohadhisgalleysintheoffingofPortofino,wasadvisedofthisactionintimeandhedisembarkedFilippinoDoriaandGiambattistaGrimaldiatthecommandofeighthundredfoot-soldiers.TheyjoinedupwithFilippinoFieschi,whocommandedthefortress,andattackedthearmysent by the Genoese Republic (Varese: Storia della Repubblica di Genova). The bravery oftheseinvincibiledefendersofPortofinolastedforaveryshorttimebecauseasGiustinianisays, in headlong flight they had to abandon Portofino which was retaken by the doges

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    men.Intheyear1527,AndreaDoriareturnedtotheGulfofTigulliaandafteralongstrugglehetookpossessionofPortofinoandplunderedtheshipsanchoredintheport(A.Giustiniani:AnnalidiGenova).Portofinowastakenpossessionof,surrenderedandretakenbytheFrench,English,SpanishorAustriansandthiswasitslotuntil1815whentheGenoeseRepublicwascededtothekingofSardiniabytheCongressofVienna.tocontinuereadingtherestofthearticle,pleaseclickhere:http://www.portofino.it/the-dream-of-portofino/.Portofino.it2016