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

Igor Karpekin (5 months ago)
A Mecca for people liking diving and snorkeling, Jesus of Abbys is waiting for their handshake in the entrance to the harbor. Nice place to swim and have a lunch in 1.5h walk from Portofino. There is also ferry service from Rappallo and Camogli, but till 16:00 -17:00.
María Lucila Abal (6 months ago)
Exelent visit. Dive and find the underwater Christ. Enjoy the walk from Camogli oR Portofino that have exciting views!
Fifi CH (7 months ago)
The Abbazia should be more interesting out of season and not in August. To many herds of tourists brought at 10 min intervals making it totally impossible to move on the tiny beach! Public boats roaring up every 10 disturbing who is at anchor, and those on the beach. One male & female WC for the mass. The bay it's self is extremely narrow and dangerously organised, as people were swimming very close to the large vessels. In all a total confusion on the beach. Don't go in August!!! The Abbazia it's self was my interest and thought our ticket covered entrance, in which it didn't. No one was around to sell a ticket, a mess. Poor organisation.
Crus - Karimov (8 months ago)
very pretty but also unexpectedly crowded. the sea is fine but very much confined in a steict space. you can arrive ONLY by boat or by walking your way for 1h+. the scenery while walking is spectacular but the trekking may be very engaging for some.
Hanna Elisabet Rydén (8 months ago)
Very nice beach! We took the earliest boat here from Rapallo at 9 am and hired sun beds for the day! I would recommend to get here early as it gets busy during the day and the beach is not very big. A few good places to eat and was not too expensive.
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