The first time we visited Camogli, we missed this fishing village, it is so hidden. The GPS in my car, normally reliable, took us to a hill whereby we could observe a superb view of Camogli and the Ligurian coast but couldn’t spot the way to get there.
After some time driving around we finally discovered that we needed to take a narrow street down towards the village centre. What we then discovered was amazing. Parking may be difficult depending on the time of year you visit but don’t be discouraged. It is really worth your time.
Camogli (Camuggi in Genoese dialect) is a small Italian fishing village and tourist resort located on the west side of the peninsula of Portofino, on the Golfo Paradiso at the Riviera di Levante, south from Genova. The name means “house of wives” ( casa delle Mogli ).
We visited Camogli twice in May and another time in June. Both times the weather was great so people were eating out in the terraces with a splendid view either of the coastline or the tiny but colourful fishing village which bustles with activity. It is said that the fishermen of the village painted the houses in this manner to ensure that they could spot it when they were returning back to the port after their fishing trips. This makes for a great vista as you can see from the photos.
The maritime museum is also worth visiting though not easy to find. For a Maltese, this museum is special because it has paintings of a well known marine artist Nicola Cammillieri, active during the first half of the 19th century who painted beautiful ship portraits both entering the Maltese Grand Harbour as well as in other Mediterranean ports. There are a number of Camilleri’s paintings in the museum, many donated by families from Camogli and most of these are in excellent condition.
Where to eat: Just like in most places in Liguria you will find many Focacceria’s in Camogli. We tried Vento Ariel which overlooks the harbour. The food here was excellent. The menu changes according to the season so you are bound to experience different dishes whenever you go. The children devoured the Ligurian pasta (trofie) with freshly made pesto and I still remember a pate made with cuttlefish and anchovies which are a speciality of the region and the restaurant. The pasta with seafood and fresh fish were also extremely good as was the wine we drank from Azienda Agricola Pino Gino.
Semmu Friti, on the way down to the fishing village is a small takeaway serving, as the name suggests, typical Ligurian deep fried dishes. Here you will find delicious frittelle di baccala, stuffed anchovies and even the traditional ‘farinata’ made with chickpea flour. The deep-fried calamari is also exceptional.
Xodo is another good restaurant and bar serving typical dishes. This is an inexpensive restaurant which is normally packed. On a nice day, you eat outside overlooking the beach. The deep-fried anchovies as starter were excellent as was the fresh seafood black ravioli (using squid ink),
What to do: Just stroll around the seafront, visit the touristic boutique shops and sit and enjoy the sun. Visit the Maritime Museum. Walk on the pebbled beach or take a boat ride to neighbouring Portofino or San Fruttuoso, the latter only reachable by sea. In a recent article in the FT food and drink section Ruth Rogers of the River Cafe mentioned da Laura, on the beach of San Fruttuoso as one of her favourite restaurants in the world. Clearly something to remember for my next visit to Liguria.