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Abbey of San Fruttuoso

The enchanting thousand-year-old abbey of San Fruttuoso occupies a picturesque little bay at the southern foot of Monte di Portofino. The only way to get there is on foot or by boat, dozens of which shuttle backwards and forwards from almost every harbor along the coast.

On summer weekends, both the tiny harbor and the church may be uncomfortably crowded. Out of season, however (or at twilight, courtesy of the occasional night cruises), San Fruttuoso is peaceful and an excellent place for relaxing.

The Abbazia di San Fruttuoso was originally built to house the relics of the third-century martyr St. Fructuosus, which were brought here from Spain after the Moorish invasion in 711.

It was rebuilt in 984 with an unusual Byzantine-style cupola and distinctive waterside arches. In later centuries it became a Benedictine abbey; the Doria family took over in the 16th century.

Explore the small, elegant church, with its compact little cloister and half-dozen Doria tombs, and wander to the heartland, where a 1954 bronze statue known as the Cristo degli Abissi – Christ of the Depths – rests eight fathoms down on the seabed, honoring the memory of divers who have lost their lives at sea and protecting those still working beneath the waves.