Friday, December 2, 2011

Camogli, Italy

I wish I could describe to you how magical Camogli is.  No matter what I say it just won't do it justice.  You should just go.  Right now.  Close your computer and go. Well read this first and then go.

By the time we arrived, we were in much need of relaxation.  We had just spent three glorious, lazy, peaceful days in Bellagio, Lake Como, hopped in the car and then shot every single one of our nerves in the face.

Have you ever driven in Italy?

Those people are either flying around drunk or are just insane.  It took about three hours to go from point A to point B.  During those three hours, my life flashed before my eyes, rewound, played again in slow mo with Italian subtitles, and then I dry heaved.

Our conversation went like this:

Are we going the right way? I don't see a speed limit. What's the speed limit?   I'm car sick.  How fast are we going?  I can't read kilometers. I might throw up.  How many kilometers in a mile?  Check your phone.  I don't have service in Italy.  Did that guy really just pass us? Are there cops in Italy? Is that a donkey or a horse?  Can you pull over?  I can't pull over or we'll die.  OMG is this a road?  It can't be a road.  People are dining al fresco three feet in front of us, HOW CAN THIS BE A ROAD?  And so on.

So by the time we arrived, you can imagine our jubilation.  We survived.  Or, we died and went to tropical heaven.  We weren't totally sure.

My husband and I agree that the biggest surprise on our trip was from this quaint little seaside town.  It was gorgeous - absolutely breathtaking.  I wish I could be there right now, sitting on a lawn chair, listening to the waves crash, drinking far too much local wine, munching on my fourth serving of cold cuts and packing focaccia into my lower lip.  Sigh.

One of our readers, Danielle, contacting me with lots of great questions on Italy.  I thought now was a better time than ever to share one of our stops during our two week tour.  Today, I'll show you our time in Camogli. 

Every color under the sun can be found in this photo.  The bright vibrant colors from the village contrast beautifully against the green mountainous back drop.  Each house is painted a pastel color for a reason.  When this fishing village was in its hay day, the bright colors helped fisherman find their way home from sea.  Isn't that cool and romantic?

This is a view from the promenade, one of two major streets, overlooking the village's cathedral.  This is from the street that is actually right next to the water, lined with restaurants, bars, and cute little shops.

Shot from the pool deck from our hotel, Cenobio Dei Dogi, overlooking the village and promenade.   The hotel was in the perfect location.  See what I mean?  Love.  Can we talk about the color of the water?

This is the actual pool deck.  That's right.  They have a pool that overlooks the ocean. It was too chilly for us to go into the ocean or the pool.  They don't heat the pool and despite my polite requests, wouldn't heat the ocean.  I mean, it was October after all. 

Camogli has one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.  The other most beautiful sunset is in Harspwell, Maine.  Anyway, we would sit on this patio for 3 hours every night just watching the sunset.

Ah, palm trees.

Snacks and drinks.  I drank Moscow Mules the entire time I was here.  Random, right?

Yup.  That's right.  Here is a shot of the sun setting behind France.

Another look at sunset from another night, at a restaurant.  Don't worry, we sprinted back after dinner to see it from our special spot on the hotel patio. 

So, let's talk about the food for a minute.  Camogli is about 30 minutes east of Genoa.  As in Genoa Salami.  As in the holy land.  Every bar we went to brought us a spread like this FOR FREE just for ordering a drink.  Every place you go to will have a cover charge of usually a couple of bucks per person, perhaps to cover this, but who cares.  We were sitting here for a few hours and were brought several plates like this, but different and fresh each time.  Here we had salami, mortadella, focaccia spread with herb cream cheese, carrots, and...ummm.... mayonnaise.  I don't usually use mayonnaise as a dip unless I'm eating French Fries, because that makes much sense than carrots. 

Here is another example of our drink snacks.  I think we only went out to dinner in Camogli once.  We would just fill up on yummy appetizers like this throughout the day.  Sort of how I prefer to eat, anyway.

So here is one thing about Camogli that I should mention.  Because it is a fishing village, all they basically serve is seafood.  I don't mean half the menu, I mean everything on the menu.  Think clams stuffed with anchovies, over noodles made with pureed scallop row, in a squid ink sauce.  Charlie, not a huge seafood fan, always found something to eat, but it wasn't easy.  Here was one of our favorite meals.  Spaghetti bolognese and clams with linguine in a white sauce of olive oil, wine and garlic.  Now that was good.

This was our view at breakfast every morning.  This hotel had an AWESOME free breakfast.  Every day I'd  make two five minute eggs and then eat them with focaccia.

So I had no idea, but focaccia is to Camogli as deep dish is to Chicago.  Besides pesto and seafood, this is their thing.  Focaccia in the states sucks compared to this.  This is chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  It's basically a sponge with olive oil baked into it.  Absolutely AMAZING.  I have yet to try to make this but I will. 

On one of our walks on the promenade, we found a bakery that served cookies (I don't care) and FOCACCIA.  Like rows and rows of all of these different kinds.  The more basic the focaccia, the more I liked it.  This one had a super sharp wet cheese.  I have no idea what the cheese was, but it was almost as if you blended goat and ricotta.  It was good, but not my favorite.

Ummmm yes.  Focaccia with olive oil and onions.  

Just to give you an idea of WHERE we ate this. 

The only thing we haven't really talked about yet is the pesto.  Pesto originated in Genoa in the Luguria region of northern Italy.  So, the kind we had apparently didn't have cheese.  I like cheese on my cheese, so this was a different variation for me and one I wasn't too crazy about.  I asked for cheese  and the waitress sort of frowned and then said, well try it without the cheese first.  Excuse me?

This is how we spent our last evening in Camogli.  We got the coveted table we had been sniping the entire visit - the singular table for two on the point of the balcony.  The balcony was so far out, the waves crashed right below us.  Simply magical. Stay adventurous and stay hungry my friends!


  1. This looks absolutely stunning! I've been to italy a few times for business, but only to Florence. I would love to go for pleasure and see the coast!

  2. The coast is amazing. I would also try the southern coast as well if you get a chance. Positano is to die for.

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