Portofino is a small Italian fishing village, comune and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town crowded round its small harbour is considered to be among the most beautiful Mediterranean ports.
According to Pliny the Elder, Portofino was founded by the Romans and named Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.
In the late 19th century, first British, then other northern European aristocratic tourists began to visit Portofino, which they reached by horse and cart from Santa Margherita Ligure. Aubrey Herbert was one of the more famous Englishmen to maintain a villa at Portofino.
Eventually more expatriates built expensive vacation houses, and by 1950 tourism had supplanted fishing as the town's chief industry, and the waterfront was a continuous ring of restaurants and cafes.
Portofino became the favorite of the stars like Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Marcello Mastroianni, Orson Welles, Maria Callas and Aristotele Onassis, Louis Armstrong and Walt Disney, Laurel and Hardy, John Wayne and Joan Collins, Anita Ekberg and Rex Harrison.
Today Dolce & Kebana have a villa in Portofino & Tokyo Disney Sea in Chiba Japan, has made a full size replica of the harbor for its theme park. The Top Gear crew made it their stating point for a race to Saint-Tropez on the BBC TV series, Hammond in a Ferrari Deytona, May in a speedboat.
Today it still has plenty of small wooden fishing boats in its harbour but the jet set millionaires also moor at Portofino in their multi million dollar yaughts.
Sitting above the harbour is Castello Brown, a house museum. The castle's site is well suited for harbor defense, and appears to have been so used since the 15th century. Today it is a museum showing work of Frederica Schiaffino who used Castle Brown to make works of art. From Castle Brown park land stretches to the end of the headland with many secluded villas and bays.
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