Camogli, the city of a thousand sailing ships
Today we want to write about Camogli, and never like before is it difficult to break the taboo of the blank page and start filling it with digital ink. Indeed, it is about telling about a place absolutely richer than all the others, where the inhabitants have lived more on the sea than on land. To brush in words that old sea wolf den, the one that had the first school in Italy to train captains, seafarers, professional fishermen of the sea. It is not an easy task, but surely it is the most intriguing one.
It is also difficult to write about Camogli because we have been there too many times, and on too many occasions, to be impartial. How can you grasp its unique identity, when you have seen it under a thousand aspects and experienced it under two thousand moods?
Camogli, for every Genoese, will always be linked to different, and always wonderful, memories. The wedding of a best friend, the first time you took the boat to San Fruttuoso and Punta Chiappa with the family. The ice cream on Sunday, the rum drink on Saturday night. That afternoon at the beach with the books before the university exam that you can't pass, the first date that when you don't know where to go, Camogli always goes well. And then the queues and queues at the fish festival, the stop in Recco for focaccette on the way home.
Going to Camogli is to take home that multi-coloured palace, that little port and those fishing nets, and the whole coast of Golfo Paradiso that you can see running from Camogli all the way to Genoa as if it were paradise and you would need nothing else to be happy from here to eternity.
Camogli beach is one of the most famous and photographed in all of Liguria. One of those, and indeed perhaps the most of all, which is in fact something more than just being a beach.
Often, the beach of Camogli even goes beyond being one of the symbols of Liguria and goes further: we have seen it appear as a symbol, not infrequently, even of all of Italy. The reason is easy to guess: just see it when you look out over the promenade of Via Garibaldi for the first time. A blue crescent of sea that embraces a church, built with almost cinematic wisdom in the background, placed right there, where the sea ends, where the great blue begins. Not only that: the pictorial perfection of the Camogli beach creates an impossible gradient of color ... which first dissolves in the facade of the church and then lights up in the row of colored houses that rises and returns towards our eye, creating a whole capable of remaining printed in the retina for a long time, if not forever.
Camogli beach is quite extensive. The first part, the one that suddenly begins at the beginning of the pedestrian street that then descends to the church, is free, with free access, and made of pebbles mixed with rough sand. On the left looking at the sea, under the two 8-storey high-rise buildings - characteristic and beautiful - planted with their feet on the sand, a handful of boats stacked in bulk, umbrellas and an immediately inviting shoreline.
The Camogli beach, as you get closer to the church, becomes more and more popular and full of life, especially thanks to the three bathing establishments one in a row that bring order, cleanliness and joy. The sailing club also provides the bather with one more option: rubber dinghy and pedal boat rental.
After the establishments, the Camogli beach becomes free again. We are now next to the church of Santa Maria dell’Assunta, and it is here that Andrea and Katerina usually come to the sea in Camogli. Next to a comfortable concrete plate, where you can also play football, there is in fact a patch of beach where the entrance to the sea is so close that you cannot refuse. Here you can also comfortably sunbathe on the churchyard, at the back of it.
Up to now we have talked, with too much detail, about the main beach, which deserves it. But the sea of Camogli is also something else.
- We can say that it is good for everyone, it does not make too many distinctions: it will please families, who will have the convenience of the backyard and all the services of the shops just behind to feed the little ones - and also the parents - with cheese focaccia and ice creams. For couples, the romance rate is always high in Camogli. For them, the slightly more secluded part just at the beginning of the walk, going down the stairs.
About the Camogli beach we can immediately notice that it is both free and equipped with two bathing establishments, Bagni Lido and Bagni Miramare. It can also be visited with dogs (which can be found in the stretch between the Cenobio dei Dogi hotel and the roundabout called “Sorelle Avegno”). It is a sandy beach but mixed pebbles and pebbles, beautiful, frequented all year round by tourists as well as by locals.
- The beach of Camogli is not in general a calm sea, sheltered from the wind: in these parts the autumn storms are epic, when the sea blows with all its strength and the spray and the wind find opposition only in the church, standing there as if to say, I will always be in your defense .
- Immediately beyond Camogli, there are a couple of other beaches to report, even if they are not really part of the town. After passing the inhabited center, in fact, the sea becomes unreachable, and you enter the territory of the Portofino park. The first beach you meet, if we really want to call it such, (better to say cliff with access to the sea) is Punta Chiappa , which can be easily accessed by boat.
- Beyond Punta Chiappa, the next stop is the magnificent bay and beach of San Fruttuoso and this is 100% one of the most beautiful beaches in Liguria.
- On the Genoa side, however, starting from the center, there is an almost secret Camogli beach, which is located along the road to Recco. It is no coincidence that it is called Beach of the Genoese, as if only the locals knew it. It is a small cliff, complete with an adjoining beach, which can be accessed from Via Romagneno, just before the Camogli cemetery. This beautiful cove is almost always uncrowded! In addition, it also enjoys a shower. The most comfortable place is to lie down where the boulders are thickest, just above the surface of the water.
This corner of Liguria is a perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway. When it comes to finding a hotel in Camogli, and in general in the entire Paradise Gulf, there is no destination more perfect for an escape for two from the daily grind.
This is why at This is Liguria we have selected our hotels in Camogli with this criterion in mind, that of love and passion, but without forgetting good value for money, because the old motto two hearts and a hut always applies. We have chosen the best b&b's in Camogli to support the local economy and to experience San Fruttuoso, the Ruta and the Portofino park like true Camoglini. You can search for dates directly on this page, in the box above: just select the dates you are interested in, and off you go!
Parking in Camogli is a problem, as always in Liguria and the surrounding area, but luckily it is also true that things only get really difficult at weekends and on public holidays. There are, in fact, ample spaces available just off the streets in the centre - which are all pedestrianised, or with limited access (such as the road coming into Camogli from Recco down to the harbour, which is protected by a ZTL gate).
In order not to walk too far, to find parking in Camogli it is a good rule to go at least as far as the nautical institute, at the first hairpin bend downhill. Here, in fact, is the first and largest pay car park (but not too expensive, about €2.50 per hour, daily rate €15) built next to the railway pavement. Continuing on, another hairpin bend leads to Piazza Matteotti, which then becomes Via Ferrari: these two streets are the Camogli car parks to use, and indeed, the ones closest to the seafront.
How to get to Camogli
Getting to Camogli is like going to Genoa, but only a little further. In fact, Camogli is only 23 km from Piazza de Ferrari, two motorway exits or about ten regional train stations from Principe, the main station of the Ligurian capital.
Getting to Camogli is like going to Genoa, but only a little further on. Camogli is in fact only 23 km from Piazza de Ferrari, two motorway exits or a dozen regional train stations from Principe, the main station of the Ligurian capital.
- For to reach Camogli by car , we recommend using the A12 motorway and exit at Recco. If you come from La Spezia, Emilia or Tuscany, you could also exit at Rapallo, from here go up to the Ruta: halfway down the descent towards Recco, there will be a crossroads that allows you to get directly to Camogli.
- Camogli is not located in a thoroughfare, and it is only marginally crossed by the Aurelia: the road that reaches it ends once in the center of Camogli.
- You can obviously, and often it is the best option of all, choose to get to Camogli by train . Camogli has its own station, which Trenitalia calls Camogli - San Fruttuoso . In Camogli only regional trains in transit on the Savona Genoa - La Spezia line stop, and this means that Camogli has almost no direct connections to Milan and Turin, for which 99% a train change in Genoa is needed. The travel time to get to Camogli from Genoa is about 40 minutes, taking the Genova Brignole station as a reference.
- There are also some options for getting to Camogli by bus , with the local ATP company. With this means of transport there are races to Rapallo, la Ruta, Santa Margherita and Recco. These are lines 71 and 73 and of which you can find the timetables here .
Camogli has a long history. A history of power and importance, which ill accords with the etymology of its name: a 'house of wives' who waited at home for their husbands returning from who knows what long voyage across the oceans.
Already in the Middle Ages, in fact, Camogli was a town that counted, an important junction for ships and trade. The historic core developed immediately around Castel Dragone and the church, which we will discuss in more detail below, and it did well: the rise of the town lasted for many centuries. Strengthened by the Basilica of Santa Maria dell'Assunta, its bastion of faith stretching out into the sea, Camogli enlarged its port and its fleet, so much so that it earned itself a not bad nickname: it had by then become the 'City of a Thousand White Sailboats', and we were in the middle of the belle epoque, in the period between the end of the 19th century and the Second World War.
When we take a stroll around this tourist resort today, which seems so small and delightful, it is a strange sensation to think that Camogli, in a time not too long ago, with almost 3,000 sailing ships, 'used to beat up' the most renowned ports in northern Europe, including Rotterdam and Antwerp. Like her, we are reminded of two Greek islands that we loved very much on our travels: Andros and Syros, which were also, quietly, more powerful and feared in Greece than the port of Piraeus itself!
Today, Camogli is famous for being the small hub for ferries and boats leaving for the beauty of the Monte di Portofino park, including the spectacular bay of San Fruttuoso and its abbey. The Golfo Paradiso shipping company is in charge of the service, and connects Recco (which only becomes the terminus from April to September, in the other months it only leaves from Camogli) to San Fruttuoso, passing through Camogli and Punta Chiappa. Accompanying us on what they themselves call 'a little trip in the most beautiful waters of Liguria, during which it will not be difficult to spot bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, and dolphins'.
Prices for the boat from Camogli to San Fruttuoso are €14 return for adults, and €11 for the shorter journey from Camogli only to Punta Chiappa.
Things to do in Camogli
Camogli is the city of a thousand white sailing ships, and the splendor of the old Camoglina trading power is still visible today among its things to see, which make it a unique village in Liguria and in Italy .
- The first attraction we will come across, probably, will be the magical row of high-rise buildings overlooking the sea in via Garibaldi . What is striking, even having experience of other villages in Liguria, is their mighty size, the statuesque height: some condominiums even have 8 floors, as if they were real skyscrapers of the sea!
The colors of these buildings, well, are those of the order. Canary yellow, magenta, pink, bright orange. Explosion of paint and stains of paint that guided the sailors towards home and whose illuminated windows, today, shine as far as Genoa. In the evening, we only need a few steps to get to the Corso Italia seafront and we see them down there, looking to the left ...
Speaking of these beautiful stately and seafaring palaces, Andrea and Katerina also find the street parallel to Via Garibaldi, via della Repubblica splendid: certainly one of the most majestic streets of our Ligurian towns: do not miss it, even if it has no view sea.
Basilica of Santa Maria dell’AssuntaThe Basilica of Santa Maria dell’Assunta in Camogli cannot be described in words. Only the photos, or his live visit, can do it justice. A church that is not on the sea but "inside" the sea, a place where you can breathe a timeless atmosphere. She is enough to explain, without speaking, the beauty of Italy. The interiors, needless to say, are magnificent, richly decorated: a feast for the eyes and the soul.
Castello della DragonaraCastello della Dragonara is by far one of the most important things to see in Camogli. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, and like so many other castles found along the entire arc of the Ligurian Riviera, it was born to defend the city from the assaults of Saracen pirates. The castle, slightly raised and almost a single body with the Basilica of the Assumption, offers a wonderful view along the entire Golfo Paradiso. Over the years it was also used as a prison, and more recently, as an aquarium, before the one in Genoa opened. Today it hosts exhibitions and events, and above all it makes the imagination fly, with its cannons always loved by children .. From here, probably, you will have the best photographic opportunities on the whole of Camogli and on all its marina.
The marinaThe small port of Camogli is the heart of the town. Its access is already incredibly spectacular, immediately outside some low and narrow arcades at the end of via Garibaldi. You walk, stroll, and so, at a certain point you find the water in front of your feet. And they are immediately fishing nets, bollards, moored fishing boats and fishermen who sell you cones of freshly caught fried directly from their boat. The small port of Camogli has this taste of the sea which - even in a seaside region like Liguria - is so difficult to feel on the tip of the tongue. As beautiful in the evening, as in the day, as at sunset: come and walk on the pier towards the lighthouse, and you will discover that it will be an almost mystical act.
Church of San Nicolò di Capodimonte
- Among other things to see in Camogli, you can move away from the center, and set out to discover the Church of San Nicolò di Capodimonte, which you meet by walking down from San Rocco towards Punta Chiappa . It is an ancient monastery, but no longer as such since 1440, when the monks left the property to local fishermen. Today, it is a fabulous oasis of serenity to which we recommend paying a small visit among olive groves and old sea "creuze".
Civic maritime museumCamogli, proud of its past, could not fail to create a place to honor and pass on its origins. And then there is no better place to get to know them than the civic maritime museum , named after its founder, Gio Bono Ferrari. That the museum page itself informs us that we are one of the best known scholars of the history of the Ligurian and, obviously, Camogliese sailing navy. The museum hosts many things to see in Camogli that can only be seen here: paintings, photographs, ship models and documents donated by Camogliese families. A vivid memory of the " 2,900 and more sailing vessels that the Camogliese owners acquired, and captains and sailors armed, in the period betweenthe Napoleonic Wars and the First World War ”.
The giant frying panThe legendary frying pan of the fried food festival, which in the days of the festival managed to feed up to 100,000 people. It can be seen hanging all year round on a wall not far from the railway station. It remains well impressed in the memory: it weighs 26 quintals and has a diameter of three meters and eighty centimeters. Souvenir photo required!
Camogli and surroundings
The nice thing about Camogli is that Camogli isn't the only city. Coming here means diving headlong into one of the most "sensational" areas of Liguria, full of places of interest and fabulous views, all in the immediate surroundings.
The bay of San Fruttuoso, with its famous abbey, is the classic excursion that everyone should do once in Camogli.
Portofino, more a place of the imagination than a real seaside village, does not need many presentations. This is one of the classic trips from Camogli, which can be done on foot starting from San Rocco, or more comfortably by boat, or even more simply by car, via Santa Margherita.
Punta Chiappa, through its port Porto Pidocchio, is a place of the heart. With its taverns, its rocks, its thousand steps on the path to San Rocco, it is wonderful.
San Rocco is a splendid hamlet of Camogli, reachable by car via a detour from the Aurelia just before the tunnel which begins the descent towards Rapallo. San Rocco is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages we know of. There are 3-4 taverns, a view needless to say magnificent, and the beginning of many paths that lead into the Portofino Park.
La Ruta is the hamlet that climbs, along the Aurelia, along the hill above Camogli. Natural amphitheater full of villas
You cannot finish a list of Camogli and its surroundings without mentioning Recco! In other words, its eternal neighbor, the home of cheese focaccia and the world capital of water polo (but don't remind the Camoglini anyway). Different twins, but still twins!
What to eat and do in the evening
Camogli, in times not of pandemic, has always been a little gem where you can spend evenings in company with friends, and socialize. A perfect destination to do something different chosen by every Genoese to escape a little from the usual routine. Camogli, for example, has two fantastic “ronerie”, and is a very perfect place to pretend to be Saracens for a night, and indulge in a good drink as if we were in Caracas. In short, a village with a good nightlife, sophisticated and adult, but without clubs where late or rather very late. and no tunz tunz. More a place for friends who haven't seen each other for a while or "couples" than anything else, but that's actually the beauty.
A popular place to eat in Camogli is also the Mexican restaurant just behind the marina, but certainly those who come here are primarily hungry for fish. Fried fish, Ligurian style and in all the sauces and variations preferred by chefs, by the sea or in the hills. And the focaccia? Well sure .. we are still in Liguria .. it cannot be missing, with ovens at every corner where you can stock up on carbohydrates and stracchino.
By the way, you can come for a walk in the evening in Camogli, or have an ice cream, even if only after having dinner in one of the many and very good farmhouses in the area, especially along the Ruta, in both sections, including the one that goes down to Santa Margherita and Rapallo.
Festival of communication
Among the events that "put the name of Camogli on paper" in the world, there is certainly also the organization of the Communication Festival. Since 2014, this festival is the first dedicated entirely to communication, where the best journalists of the Web and print media, bloggers, youtubers, IT communicators of our country attend.
Every year, in September, the communication festival in Camogli brings together “ the world of companies with presidents, managing directors and together with economists, jurists and lawyers; historians, semiologists, linguists, sociologists and psychologists; great names in literature, philosophy and anthropology; leading figures in physics, geology, mathematics and bioengineering; musicians, directors, writers and artists come together to face a common thread from multiple perspectives. Andrea and Katerina often attended as spectators. Good last speech by our favorite Alessandro Barbero, the only one who tells the Middle Ages as if it were the final of the Champion's League! & Nbsp;
After nourishing the intellect with the Camogli festival, we can stuff ourselves, at least virtually, with another event that attracts visitors from Camogli from near and far lands. We are talking about the fish festival, which turns out to be the largest fried fish in the world. All thanks to a pan of 3 meters in diameter, which contains at least 3000 liters of oil, capable of frying about 20 quintals of fish, enough to feed more than one hundred thousand people who flock from all over Liguria on this day of celebration. Good times those before the coronavirus, when the word gathering had positive connotations, and when you could huddle for hours and minutes with strangers, exchanging jokes while waiting for the much desired packet of squid. Sometimes, even 1 hour wasn't enough!
The Camogli fish festival is certainly something that should be experienced once in a lifetime, and it has been like this since 1952. Feel the atmosphere of the whole village that sizzles and boils with the desire to be together , enjoy the whirlwind chaos of confusion .. We really hope you will come back as soon as possible and that you are no longer forced to live one in a virtual version as it was in 2020! The date on which it is organized is usually on the weekend around May 10th.