While researching places to visit in Liguria beyond the famed Cinque Terre and Portofino, I stumbled on images of the seaside abbey of San Fruttuoso. I was immediately struck by its unique beauty and decided Emily and I simply had to visit. It turned out to be a great decision.
San Fruttuoso was a remote medieval Greek monastery turned Benedictine abbey. By the 20th century the abandoned abbey had become property of the noble Italian Doria Pamphilj family who later donated it to FIA, a historic preservation society, who renovated and now protect the monastery and the small village that surrounds it. Today, San Fruttuoso is only accessible by boat or two hiking paths.
The town is small and remains dominated by the abbey. You can tour the church and abbey, enjoy the crystal clear blue water, indulge in a delicious pesto or fresh seafood meal, or explore the rugged hiking paths that wind through the protected nature park. But as you can see from the photos, the beach and water are the real draw. The easiest way to get to San Fruttuoso is by public ferry, which departs from Portofino every hour in the summer.