I’d like to tell you a story from years ago on this rainy Autumn afternoon here in Melbourne. Back in 2008, my Dad and I were on a day-trip from Florence to Pisa in Italy’s beautiful Tuscan region. It was to be only for a short time that we’d take turns pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa (mandatory for every tourist to the historic site), have lunch somewhere along the Arno River and explore the small, compact city on foot. It was winter and the sun was starting to set. By 4pm we reached the train station ready to catch the train somewhere. I begged Dad to take me to Portofino. I’d seen photos of its incredible harbour with colourful buildings and expensive yachts and had always dreamt of visiting it. I had everything planned out; we’d catch the train to Santa Margherita Ligure and then sit on a bus to Portofino, see it in the dark and return to Florence. I should mention that I was 19 years old at the time, sick with a bad cold and not thinking clearly. Dad declined my offer and made me catch the train directly back to Florence for some much-needed rest. Years passed and I couldn’t help but feel that his resistance that night must’ve been for a reason and that I would see the real Portofino someday, if destiny was on my side, and preferably see it in daylight!
Fast-forward 4 years and my dream comes true. My sister and I were on a holiday in Italy and I made it my mission to finally get to that irresistible part of the world, that is Portofino. My sister stayed in Pisa for the day. I remember clearly that it was the day before our flight back to London that I managed to take the train from Pisa to Santa Margherita Ligure and then a picture-perfect boat ride to Portofino. The views over the Gulf of Tigullio were breathtaking, as is expected from the Italian Riviera.
Everything was gorgeous! I don’t know how else to describe what I saw that fateful, hot summer’s day. I arrived in Portofino in the afternoon under the scorching hot sun. I was greeted by those very same luxurious yachts I’d seen in postcards placed against the backdrop of beautiful architecture and lush, green hills further in the distance. I was finally there and although I only had 2 hours to explore the town (S. Margherita Ligure looked too beautiful not to walk around so I went back on the return boat-trip earlier), I’m proud to say that every single minute there was pure bliss.
As the rain falls ever-so gracefully on the window outside my studio, I am reminded of that summer day when I was young, fearless and free.
Here’s a photographic overview shown in the order Portofino unravelled for me:
Here’s Santa Margherita Ligure… (now you see why I had to explore it, right?)