San Fruttuoso abbey

San Fruttuoso, Italy

The Abbey of San Fruttuoso is on the Italian Riviera between Camogli and Portofino. The abbey is located in a small bay beneath a steep wooded hill. It can only be reached by sea or by hiking trails, there is no road access.

The abbey is dedicated to Saint Fructuosus, a third-century bishop of Tarraco (now Tarragona in north-east Spain) who was martyred under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Valerian. In the eighth century the relics of Fructuosus were moved here by Greek monks. St Fructuosus's ashes are still kept at the abbey.

The abbey was founded by the Order of Saint Benedict and most of its buildings date to the tenth and eleventh centuries. The original tenth-century church tower had a Byzantine-style spherical top; this was later replaced by the present octagonal tower. The cloisters are twelfth century and were modified in the sixteenth century by Andrea Doria. The building facing the sea was built in the thirteenth century to a similar design to the noble palaces of Genoa.

The abbey contains tombs of members of the noble Genoan Doria family dating from 1275 to 1305, along with other tombs and an ancient Roman sarcophagus. The Doria tombs have black and white stripes, typical of Ligurian architecture of the period.

Above the abbey stands Torre Doria, a watchtower erected in 1562 by the family of Admiral Andrea Doria (1466–1560), who defended the abbey and its supply of fresh water from Barbary pirates.

In the 17th century the abbey went into decline, and parts of it were used for keeping sheep. In 1730 Camillo Doria restored the abbey, and returned the church to liturgical use. Some of the buildings were damaged by flooding in 1915, these were restored by the Italian state in 1933. In 1983 the Doria Pamphili family donated the San Fruttuoso complex to the heritage organisation Fondo Ambiente Italiano.

The underwater statue Christ of the Abyss was installed in the sea off San Fruttuoso in 1954, at a depth of 17 metres.



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Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Scot S (7 months ago)
Great place to visit but only accessible by ferry boat or a trail from a parking area. Don’t know how long the hike in or out is because we took the ferry from Camogli, which took 30 minutes. Makes for beautiful photos and there’s a nice restaurant right on 1 of the beaches.
C P (10 months ago)
This place is claustrophobic and overcrowded, and we were at a time when tourism was only just starting to pick up thanks to the lifting of some restrictions related to COVID-19. I don't want to imagine how it feels in August during a normal year. The restaurant refused to serve us drinks a full hour before closing in the afternoon. The scenery may be spectacular but all in all it's a place you want to just leave and forget about.
Mario Troppmair (10 months ago)
Great hiking opportunities around the area and a great spot to experience and enjoy
Vahid Hasanaliyev (11 months ago)
One of the best place in the world. The beach is delicate. For now, visitors should be careful about beach ticket. Visitors should priory buy ticket for beach from the ticket offices for ferry. They are not selling ticket in San Fruttuoso.
Alpine Stocks (11 months ago)
Beautiful run: SantaMargherita - Portofino - SanFruttuoso - Portofino - SantaMargherita. Total timing 2h30-3h DETAILS: - SantaMargherita - Portofino 4.3km, flat (~22 min) - Portofino - SanFruttuoso 3.9km, quite hilly (~50-60min)
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