Do you know them places which you are perfectly aware of because they are super-publicised on the TV and in newspapers but for some reason you can’t place in space? This sometimes happens to me, until the day in which I stumble upon them by chance, and then… then now I’m going to tell you about one such place.
The place in question is Portofino, one of the places I always promised myself I’d visit, and of which I knew two things: that it was found somewhere after Genoa, and that it was not the sort of place I usually like to visit.
Therefore let’s say that, with the certainty that it was très chic pour moi, and the impression that the journey there would be painstakingly long, I always ended up choosing not to go. Also, let’s say it, if I really wanted to throw money away, I’d prefer to do so on a pair of trainers than an aperitif in its small square.
But, one day like any other, whilst wandering along the Eastern Ligurian coast with my friend Simo, I came across a road sign stating ‘Portofino 5km’.
Portofino?!?! 5km?!?!? What shall we do, shall we go!?!?
Obviously the reply was “yes”.
First worry: “Won’t we find a huge queue of traffic on the way?” I said, just to jinx myself.
Second worry (did I tell you I’m a worrier?), well, my second worry was parking but (apart from my luck with parking spaces which I still need to explain) as soon as we arrive there’s a sign for an underground car park alongside the town.
That day, incredibly, there wasn’t any traffic on the horizon, fortune favoured us.
At this point the only problem was that of looking ‘chic’ because, by sheer coincidence, that day I was not dressed particularly well. Despite this, for some incomprehensible reason, as soon as I put my feet into the famous square, I felt an unparalleled elegance immediately. I think it stemmed from the fact we were in such a famous location, frequented by VIPs and suchlike, that, due to some sort of transitive quality (the same sort which turned us into sudden hippies when we visited Bussana Vecchia), my friend and I immediately became two beautiful posers walking around one of the most ‘in’ locations not just of the Riviera, but of the world.
If I promise you that VIPs don’t interest me at all, you need to believe me. I’m one of those people who seek out interesting places, secret beaches, villages between the sea and olive trees, but today, walking here in Portofino, it feels like being in a film. I was walking along cobblestones which, before me, had held the weight of actors, footballers, singers and fortunately also poets, writers and heads of state.
And if you manage to overcome prejudices and see the town not for what it represents, but what it is, you too will recognise a small fisherman’s village with typical coloured Ligurian houses, a splash of green Mediterranean at its shoulders and the bluest sea in which to gaze at one’s reflection… certainly it has some extravagances, hundreds of tourists, elegant shops and restaurants with staggering prices… but we’re not here to get caught up in trivial things!
Well, whatever it takes, but we’re not leaving here without having an aperitif in the piazzetta
This year I don’t need any more shoes anyway…
And just like that, we stumbled upon a bar with an external area on the water (a type of barge) and we jumped in. We sat on the barge, of course, where I felt seasick, but that’s just a minor detail.
I ordered “a beer and an iced coffee” in VIP style from the waitress.
And on the barge (with the seasickness), we stayed for a while to savour our drinks, thinking about the fact that, of all the things they could bring us as an accompaniment, the only thing which we could’ve hated would’ve been amaretti (a type of macaroons), and in your opinion what did they bring us?!? After a reasonable amount of time I got up, still rolling a bit (thanks to the barge) and jumped inside the bar with slight worry, (how strange, me worrying):the moment of the bill had finally come. So, how much would I need to fork out for these fifteen minutes of glory on this wobbly outdoor café in Portofino?!? “So, let’s see, an iced coffee and a beer… eighteen Euros” I opened my flowery handbag and took out twenty Euros with an air of nonchalance, I put the money on the special plate next to the till and then pronounced the three words that I had wanted to say for yearsssssss (together with “follow that car!”), “keep the change”.
Then I left and joined my friend.
“I was expecting worse”
I must admit that it was very pleasant, and that twenty Euros seemed a bearable sum.
We said goodbye to the barge and allowed ourselves one more quick glance at the blaze of colour and tourists then, with quick footsteps, we moved towards the car, the time of the beautiful posers in Portofino was coming to an end. Yes, because a bit like midnight for Cinderella, we also had a time limit, but ours was not due to a fairy godmother, so much as the price of the parking!
Well, everyone has their limit!
Beautiful posers… for an hour – Portofino
Portofino (GE) – Liguria
Article and photographs: Paola (beautiful poser) Faravelli