Discover music and magic in San Fruttuoso, Portofino, with a private concert organised from Belmond Hotel Splendido or Belmond Splendido Mare.
THE ABBEY OF San Fruttuoso could hardly enjoy a more idyllic setting. Reached only by sea, or by hiking over the thickly forested mountain, it nestles in a secluded bay between Camogli and Portofino. In front of the Romanesque monastery a beach leads into tantalisingly clear turquoise waters. Further out, hidden beneath the waves, the submerged bronze statue of Christ of the Abyss reaches skywards, his robes carpeted in algae.
The Benedictine abbey was built in the 10th century to house the ashes of St Fructuosus, a Catalan bishop martyred in the year 259. The complex has been variously used by fishermen, ransacked by pirates and for centuries was owned by the aristocratic Doria family of Genoa, who sensitively restored it and enhanced features such as the Upper Cloister. Today, both the pale stone abbey and nearby 16th-century watchtower are in the care of the Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian National Trust.
The acoustics in the abbey courtyard are exceptional and concerts are staged here in the summer. However, Belmond Hotel Splendido guests looking to enjoy an out-of-this-world experience can have a bespoke concert arranged, especially for you, in this unique venue. The style of music is your choice—classical, jazz, swing, a string quartet or an Italian folk band: just name your preference and we’ll do the rest.
Your visit begins after hours, when the day visitors have left. After arriving by private boat, you’ll have an hour to tour the abbey. Admire the beautiful cloisters, the Chapter House and captivating views over the bay, explore the vaults with the grey-and-white marble tombs of the Dorias, and learn about the monks’ everyday lives. Or simply relish the tranquil ambience, the silence interrupted only by chirping cicadas.
Until the music begins. Gather in the magically lit courtyard for cocktails before taking your seat for the 90-minute concert. Prepare to feel shivers down your spine as the notes fill the timeless space, resounding round the ancient walls and spilling into the starlit sky. After the encores, a romantic sail back to Belmond Hotel Splendido or Splendido Mare awaits.