San Fruttuoso di Camogli: the paths, the abbey and the beach

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi
@ainapratblasi
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Italy is just a wonderful country! We have places (like San Fruttuoso precisely) that they are truly embarrassing beauty and every time I go there I hardly believe they are true.  The small seaside village of San Fruttuoso di Camogli is a real gem and it is a perfect place both for those who love walking and for those who simply want to relax and bathe in a dream bay. It is a trip that can also be done in a day from Milan, but, if you can, I recommend you stop and sleep too: there are some very nice places and there is no shortage of things to do and see in the surrounding area (GenoVa, Portofino, Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, etc.). 



How to reach San Fruttuoso 

On foot 

San Fruttuoso can be reached on foot from Camogli, San Rocco, Portofino or Santa Magherita Ligure. The trails are different, with different degrees of difficulty and of different length. The choice obviously depends on how trained you are, how much you want to walk and if you want to do a circular path or not. You can always decide to do half the path and return by boat (if the sea allows it). I opted for a circular path starting from San Rocco (No. 2 in the list below). These are some of the more "classic" trails: 

1.Camogli-Pietre Strette-San Fruttuoso

This path starts from the town of Camogli (which you can reach from Milan either by train or by car); the path begins in Via San Bartolomeo and continues with about 800-900 steps until it reaches the center of San Rocco. From here you will then have to follow the signs first for Gaixella and then for San Fruttuoso. This path it is just over 5 km long and is not of great difficulty. It will take you about 2h-2h 20 'to get to San Fruttuoso. As for all the other paths I will tell you about, once you arrive in San Fruttuoso you can then decide to go back by walking (through the same or another path), or use the boat (if the sea is not too rough - in some cases it does not stop because it would have difficulty in docking). 



2.San Rocco - Batteries - San Fruttuoso - Pietre Narrow - San Rocco

I have chosen this circular path that starts and returns to San Rocco, the small village located above Camogli. The path starts from the Church of San Rocco, passes close to the Bar Dai Muagetti (highly recommended for an aperitif!) before reaching one place called Batterie, where there are i remains of bunkers dating back to the Second World War. The view along the path is magnificent! After the bunkers the path becomes more challenging and in several places there are chains to help the passage. I wouldn't call it a dangerous path, but you certainly won't have to suffer from vertigo because in some places the rocks are overlooking the sea. Before arriving in San Fruttuoso you will then have to face a climb and then, finally, the descent to the beach and the Abbey. It will take you about 2h and 30 'to get to San Fruttuoso. To go back, follow the signs for Portofino Vetta until you almost reach the antenna. Just before the antenna, sharpen your view because on the left you will find a ladder with a 'indication for S.Rocco / Valle dell'Acqua Fredda. It is not a very beaten path, but it is very beautiful, and it will take you straight to the S.Rocco car park. For the return it will take another 2 hours and you will have to face a difference in height of about 600-700 meters. The whole round, round trip is about 12 km. 


3.Camogli-San Fruttuoso-Portofino

For the first part of this walk you can decide which path to take to reach San Fruttuoso (eg passing through Pietre Strette or the Batterie .. see above). From there then there is the path that leads to Portofino. It is a fairly easy and very scenic path, made up of various ups and downs. The first place you meet is Base 0, a military post of World War II (which today is a panoramic stopping point), then Vessinaro (from which you can reach, if you wish, the beautiful inlet of Cala degli Inglesi), before arriving finally in Portofino. From San Fruttuoso to Portofino it takes about 1h 45 '


On a boat

If you don't want / can walk, you can also reach San Fruttuoso by boat starting from Genoa, Recco, Camogli and Portofino. Find all timetables and information on boats on this site. Check before leaving because, if the sea is too rough, the boat does not stop in San Fruttuoso because it would have difficulty docking. 

What to see in San Fruttuoso

As soon as you arrive in the inlet of San Fruttuoso, the first thing that will catch your eye is there beautiful Abbey dedicated to the homonymous saint, bishop and Catalan saint of the third century, whose ashes are kept inside. The church was founded in the XNUMXth century AD on the spot where there was a source of fresh water, before being rebuilt in the XNUMXth century as a Benedictine monastery. From the thirteenth century the Abbey intertwined its fortunes with those of the Doria family who changed its layout, building, among other things, the loggia with two orders of three-mullioned windows and transferring the family burial ground here. In 1983 they then decided to donate the entire complex to FAI, which now manages it. Find all the information about the visit on this site. Next to the Abbey you will see then tower  named after Andrea Doria by his heirs, Giovanni, Andrea and Pagano; erected in 1562, it served to defend the village and its famous water source. 


In front of the abbey there is then a small piece of free beach which are overlooked by 3-4 restaurants and a few fishermen's houses. In the sea, in the center of the bay there is the famous statue of Christ of the abyss, placed there in 1954 on the seabed and restored in the nineties. This bronze statue was commissioned by the diver Duilio Marcante who dedicated it to his friend Dario Gonzatti, who died during a dive in 1947. 


Where sleeping in San Fruttuoso

If you want to enjoy the beauty and peace of this bay without the tourists ... know that you can! In San Fruttuoso there are several structures where it is possible to sleep. 

  • Guest house of the Abbey: FAI manages this small 4-bed apartment which is located right in the village, next to the abbey. It must be booked for a minimum of 2 nights, well in advance. 
  • Agririfugio Molini: this is probably the best solution in my opinion. This cute agririfugio is located just above San Fruttuoso, along the path that goes towards Pietre Strette. Although not really in the village, it has a beautiful terrace from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the bay. 
  • From Giovanni: the highest rated restaurant on the bay also has 6 rooms for rent as a bed & breakfast. The prices are high (like everywhere else in the area), but definitely worth it.
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