Dawn ’til Dusk in Portofino

Portofino is a pretty spectacular place to wake up.

A little jewel nestled in the rocky Italian coastline, the deep inky blues of the sea dance and change to pale turquoise in the blink of an eye, and back again.

The green hillsides seem to sway in the breeze, trees dancing around golden villas, peeking out into the landscape.

Yachts bob in the bay and little Fiats race along the winding costal road.

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We looked out over breakfast, and watched the gulls bothering the local fisherman, trying to catch a breakfast of their own.

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We stayed at the Splendido hotel, which has incredible views over the bay.

I’m not sure I’d stay again, but it’s a very pretty little spot to grab a bite to eat and feast your eyes on that view.

And we did have a marvelous time having breakfast together in our pjs!

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Later we popped downstairs for a dip.

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And planned our assault on the pretty little seaside town.

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I slipped into a silk dress and we stepped out in search of an adventure.

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Meandering down the hill, through fragrant gardens, and snaking along the coastal road, heading for the town.

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Stopping off to lust after villas along the way.

Naturally Julia bagged the pink one, so I’ll settle for the ochre.

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Each keen to explore different sides of the town, we put our heads together and decided to go our separate ways for a little while.

Promised to keep an eye on the time,

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and meet again later for rosΓ© and gelato.

When in Rome Portofino!

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While Jules and Thomas headed for the cliffs, keen to get a bird’s eye view of the town, my chap and I made for the water.

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Strolling out across the cobbled port, to look back and see Portofino in all her glory.

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Portofino is all about understated luxury.

The very high-end hand in hand with life’s simple pleasures.

Pretty little flags dance in the sea breeze, circling yachts and wooden fishing boats.

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They sit happily along side each other and neither looks out of place.

This same sense of relaxed inclusion extends to the people of the town, the visitors and the understated style seen around the town.

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Like a simple navy dress and straw basket, worn with a marvel in timepiece engineering.

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The IWC Portofino watch is timeless, classic, and beautiful, without being flashy.

Much like Portofino itself…

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…it has nothing to prove.

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Navy shirt dressslightly shorter version (30% off)

Basket (from a French market – similar) // Leather sandals

Long necklace // Stacked bangles

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IWC Portofino Watch

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I put a lot of thought into what sort of “grown up” watch I wanted to invest in.

When I saw this Portofino with its navy blue strap in the shop in Venice, it was love at first sight.

A few little hints of diamonds, pearl face, moon-phase display, not too bling, not too plain. Something to wear forever and hand on one day.

The fact it’ll always remind me of this trip and this place

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…well that’s just priceless.

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We saw off the afternoon at Winterose, a beautiful little wine bar on the harbor.

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Here we could people watch, boat watch and generally enjoy the comings and goings of the funny little town.

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Nibbles arrived.

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Shortly followed by the others, who must have sensed them!

This one can sniff out an olive from a mile away.

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Two doors down there’s a little gelato place, so you can double your pleasure.

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Julia’s hat

Cream jacketshorts // Striped top

Black handbag // Chanel loafers

As the sun began to set, we too set off.

This time ready to explore a few of Portofinos’ famous shops!

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As night fell, the town slowly twinkled into life.

Like all of the very best ladies I know, she’s a butterfly in the day and a firefly by night.

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We took a table at Strainer for supper.

A little restaurant at the far side of the port, it’s the perfect place to watch the town from afar.

A video posted by Rosie Londoner (@rosielondoner) on

Especially as we happened to have turned up on the night of San Giorgio (the dragon slayer).

Once every spring the town fishermen come together to build a bonfire in the main square.

For days it grew and grew, made of fishing boats, saplings, fences and drift wood. Finally lit as the church bells rang out.

Flames climbed high into the night, sending a cloud of glittering smoke up into the stars.

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The firelight danced across the water and we could hear the sound of drums beating, the crowd cheering and singing out, drifting across the bay.

Drawn like moths to a flame we went to join in.

A vast crowd surrounded fisherman at a grill, serving up free fish to the hungry revelers.

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The intense heat from the fire filled the square, pushing people away towards the edges.

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We felt it prickling our cheeks as we stood and watched in a sort of primal awe.

Children ran through the square, couples danced and old men stood back, staring into the dying flames.

Portofino, you stole a piece of my heart at daybreak and swept away the rest by nightfall.

What a magical place!


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  • Breakfast with a view is the best! Lovely photos!

    LEACH | theleachlife.com

    • Rosie

      Doesn’t it make such a difference?! Everything tastes better with a view, especially coffee! x

  • Now that’s the kind of place that I’d never want to leave! I love walking by the waterfront, it’s so calming!

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

    • Rosie

      Me too Laura, there’s something so grounding about the sea. x

  • Jeannie C

    Every corner of this place looks like an overly photoshopped post card, it seems too pretty to be real!


  • Jennifer Howze

    Absolutely stunning. Can I come with you next time?

    • Rosie

      Let’s all go!

  • oh my, it looks wonderful πŸ™‚ And your dress suits the scenery just right!

    • Rosie

      Thanks Matz! Bummed that it sold out so fast, fingers crossed they’ll bring it back!

  • Portofino looks so picturesque! Love the timepiece you are sporting.


    • Annabel

      Me too! The watch is amazing!!
      It’s my 21st next month and I was going to ask for a Rolex but honestly I dont think I can live without that Portofino now thank you rosie!!! xxx

      • Rosie

        Happy Birthday for next month! What a gift! Send me a pic when you get it x

  • Ah love these photos! X

  • What a charming town! I never thought to visit until reading this πŸ™‚
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    • Rosie

      You really should, Angie! It’s beautiful. Maybe try for St George’s celebrations next year? x

  • What a lovely town! I’ll add it to my bucket list for my next time in Italy πŸ˜‰


  • This place looks so nice. πŸ™‚

  • Love your outfit Rosie, perfect for Italy!


  • it looks incredible there! I don’t think you could get me to leave πŸ˜›
    The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog

  • Looks wonderful!

    • Rosie

      It really is a magical place!

  • Portofino looks beautiful both by day and by night. Reading this on a rainy day in Yorkshire is making me very jealous!

  • Such a beautiful place. The views, the food, that dress and watch! They all compliment each other πŸ™‚


    • Rosie

      All of the blues! πŸ˜‰ Thanks MG! x

  • Little Miss Notting Hill

    This looks heavenly! We did this coast last year, and stopped off in Cinque Terre, but didn’t make it to Portofino – have added firmly to the list πŸ™‚



    • Rosie

      Certainly deserves a trip! x

  • Ballets&Bows

    The view is magnificent! You always have some of the best photos! Happy Tuesday!

  • Annie

    I’ve always wanted to visit Portofino! What beautiful views. And topped off with wine, cheese and gelato? I couldn’t imagine a better day, hope you ladies had a great time.

    Annie – http://discoveringyourhappy.com

    • Rosie

      A girl after my own heart, Annie! x

  • Hau Nguyen Van

    Very Nice! Thank for sharing πŸ™‚
    hosting gia re

  • I want to wake up in Portofino with that beautiful view! πŸ™‚ Your navy dress is a total minimalist dream and it looks so great on you and that watch – could it be any cuter? :))


    • Rosie

      Thanks Matea! x

  • Such a beautiful place to have captured delightful moments to cherished for life. Simply fabulous … Viva Italia! πŸ™‚

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

  • Portofino is just gorgeous isn’t it! I love all the coloured houses and the gorgeous restaurants. I might be going back this summer so I’d be interested to know why you wouldn’t go back to Hotel Splendido. We’re due to stay there and it’s meant to be spectacular but then some friends of mine loved it, some thought it was just ok. Hope you have a minute to reply x

    • Rosie

      It was just such a bump back down to earth after Villa Feltrinelli!
      The staff were all of the mindset that the customer is wrong, we had to complain to move rooms (which involved me being shouted at by 4 members of misogynistic staff – quite bewildering!), along with a a few other silly issues, it all just came together to be not a very nice experience. On top of that it cost more that Villa Feltrinelli, which just seemed crazy.
      We still had a nice time and the view is lovely, but I would never stay again and wouldn’t recommend it to a friend. I do see my readers as friends, so can’t in good conscience recommend it.
      I’m sure other people have had better experiences, so if your friends loved it I would take their advice over mine! x

  • This looks amazing!! πŸ™‚


  • Fay Murray

    Photos look amazing, when would you recommend to go?

    • Rosie

      This is a lovely time of year, but as you can see from some of the pics, the clouds do come and go and the weather can be a bit changeable. I imagine september, early october would be pretty magical!
      Skip mid-summer for sure.

  • Seriously Rosie your Italy posts have just been so good – I am completely addicted to your blog yet again! The photos and the scenery are just perfect. xxxx

    • Rosie

      Lovely to hear, thank you Soph! x

  • Such a wonderful article about Portofino! Definitely makes me want to hop on a plane and head there~ Thank you so much for the presentation.

  • This looks lovely and that bonfire is SO cool! You travel so much (and to so many cool places) and I would love to see a post about packing tips/products! Can’t wait for the pics of Greece xx

    • Rosie

      Hmmm… a packing post, you don’t think it would be a bit dull? What sort of stuff would you like to see covered? x

  • Portofino looks so stunning Rosie. I’m loving these blog posts on that part of Italy. Keep ’em coming !

    • Rosie

      Will do, Nat! x

  • Ami Hastings

    Gorgeous photos! Your trip looks fabulous! We are heading to Croatia this week…can’t wait!

    • Rosie

      Oh Croatia is BEAUTIFUL! Have an amazing time, take lots of pics! x

  • Both you and your friend have such beautiful photographs <3 I love your outfit and your watch is so beautiful! I hope you guys keep having a wonderful time and I can't wait to see what you blog about next.


    • Rosie

      Thanks Thays x

  • Jen

    I thought that was a Montblanc at first. Beautiful!


  • Kari Guastella

    What a gorgeous little town and its SO cool that you got to be there for the festival!

  • What a beautiful blog post. Lovely words and stunning snaps. Portofino looks magical at night! Immy x


    • Rosie

      Thanks Immy, I so appreciate that you comment so often. It means the world xx

  • Wendy

    this might be my favourite post from you ever. Thanks for the savings inspiration. I first heard of Portofino in the movie Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels and now it is on the list of things to pin and pine about.

    • Rosie

      Thanks Wendy, great to hear! x

  • Wow, photos are amazing as always. Sounds like a lovely day. Your hair has so much VOLUME!! Xx

    Nikki | http://www.nikkibstyles.com

    • Rosie

      So does yours going by your profile pic, Nik!

  • wow these photos are insane!


  • Style hue

    Beautiful pictures πŸ™‚ You both look so happy and relaxed!
    I so want to visit Portofino and Italy, and you were so lucky with the bonfire day !


    • Rosie

      I’m very pleased to hear that, because I was indeed very happy and very relaxed! xx

  • Your dress is stunning Rosie, and I love the authentic and characterful look of the town – again, on the dream road trip list!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • sophie

    Wow that trip looked amazing!! I want a holiday now β˜€οΈ Your photos are always stunning!!


    • Rosie

      A holiday is always a good idea, Soph! x

  • Wow, the photos are absolutely beautiful! Seriously – the photos of you + the city in the background – swoon! I would love to visit Portofino one day <3 Looks like you had a great time!


    • Rosie

      You absolutley should, D! x

  • I love seeing your perspective of Portofino and Julia’s, it’s great that you guys split up for a little while so there are different views of this charming little town. I looks like a beautiful place!

    xo Bryn

    • Rosie

      We had so much fun travelling together, it’s great to be with friends who can go off and do their own thing and then all come back together to compare notes! x

  • S. Merchant

    Looks amazing! If you don’t recommend the Splendido, do you have a place you would? (never been!)

    • Rosie

      The trouble is that there are so few hotels in Portofino, which was why we ended up staying there in the first place!
      I’ll ask around and see what I can dig up x

  • Megan Ashplant

    Rosie where is your ring from? it’s a magpie’s dream

  • I can’t believe how perfect your photography, hair and outfits are. Reading your blog and looking at your photos is like a fairy tale to me! x


  • V

    Beautiful pictures and beautiful girls of course! Rosie – Do you have the exact name of the watch by any chance? Thank you! xxx

  • Portofino looks absolutely stunning! Would love to visit one day, and wine and ice-cream is where it’s AT! πŸ™‚ Love Andrea xxx

    Andrea’s Passions

  • Not made it to Portofino yet but I’d love to go! It seems like the perfect place for a relaxing weekend. Beautiful watch, I want one! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

  • Your writing is incredible! Great story you put here, it was as if I was with you that night in Portofino πŸ™‚ Lovely atmosphere… Thanks for that.

  • Portofino is one of my fave places on the Italian Riviera. You mentioned you wouldn’t stay at the hotel again, just wondered why? Is there anywhere else you would have preferred to stay?
    Hugs Adele xoxo

  • Priya A. Joseph

    You have such gorgeous hair! Where do you get your hair cut?

  • You’re visits all around the world all seem so amazing! The scenery, atmosphere and food! Just Ugh! <3

    Victoria | icryclouds.blogspot.com

  • Sophie Crowhurst

    Rosie, these photos are amazing. I am going to Sarzana, just further on from Cinque Terre, so will definitely swing by Portofino. Any recommendations in that region? I know going on to Tuscany you must have passed through. Follow your London recommendations all the time, so anything in Italy is much appreciated!

  • Sana

    Hi Rosie is it advisable to go to Portofino with a two year old?

  • Carla

    Hi! I’m doing some research on hotels for an October honeymoon in Italy (Rome, Florence, and another destination, possibly Portofino or Lake Garda). The Hotel Splendido looks incredible, but I’m curious as to why you mentioned that you might not stay again in your post. Any advice or other hotel recs would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!