Western Living Magazine
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Designers Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds share their Italian itinerary.
Each year after attending Salone del Mobile in Milan, we take some R&R time, often in Camogli—a fishing village that’s between Genoa and Portofino on the Ligurian coast. Just two hours from Milan, it has a relaxed pace that makes it a perfect place to unwind after an inspiring and stimulating week at the world’s most important furniture design event. Hilltop views, winding walking paths down to the shore and incredible food always draw us back here—as does one of our favourite hikes along the coast.
We discovered Camogli because of a review of Villa Rosmarino by Tyler Brûlé, founder of Monocle and Wallpaper. This boutique bed and breakfast is in a 19th-century house on Mount Portofino and overlooks the village below. The Terrace Room is our favourite, with views north all the way to Genoa. Host Mario and his small team make us feel like we’re staying in a home rather than a hotel. Breakfast in the garden and loungers by the pool instantly transform us to the slower pace of the Italian countryside. villarosmarino.com
On a walking path overlooking the Ligurian coast, at the top of San Rocco di Camogli, is a small cave where a bartender serves up traditional aperitivo drinks. There are only a handful of tables along the cliffs, but each has a spectacular view of the water. We head there to catch the sunset before dinner at Nonna Nina.
Think of your dream Italian Grandma’s cooking, and eating it in her dining room—that pretty much sums up dinner at Nonna Nina. Fresh ingredients, simple dishes and lots of options with fish and seafood: this is the spot where we indulge with multiple courses, including gelato and grappa. Then we walk it off on the 30-minute path down from the village of San Rocco di Camogli and then back up to Villa Rosmarino. lacucinadinonnanina.com
Only 25 minutes by car—but a world away—is the famed village of Portofino and its luxury shops, hotels and restaurants. The more-is-more vibe may seem like it’s from another time, but it still has a slow seaside pace and is a fascinating place to people-watch. Head to Puny Restaurant for the seabream on a bed of salt—a favourite of ours, right in the centre of all the action. punyportofino.com
There are no roads to the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso, a Benedictine monastery established in the 10th century, situated at the end of a bay in Portofino Regional Park. We hike in along a nine-kilometre trail with incredible views of the coast; it passes through San Rocco di Camogli and a Second World War battery. The hike is fairly moderate, with only one section where you have to hold onto chains to stop yourself from careening down the cliffs to the water below. A beer on the beach and dip in the turquoise water is a perfect reward before taking a 30-minute boat ride back to Camogli. fondoambiente.it/abbazia-di-san-fruttuoso-eng
Getting There and Around
The easiest option is to hop on a train that goes directly from Milan to Camogli, then take short taxi rides to travel in and around Camogli or Portofino. Our other favourite option is to rent a car and make a few extra stops along the way, in Genoa or Cinque Terre.
This story was originally published in the November/December 2023 print issue of Western Living magazine.
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