Italy
Story
Medieval

San Fruttuoso

A lonely magical abbey stands isolated and hidden on the rocky Ligurian coast.
Ptolemy
28 August, 2022
(Summering2018, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
(Summering2018, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)

Once upon a time, Spain was a territory of expansion of Moorish kingdoms overspreading from North Africa. The Christian rulers were powerless against this intense invasion that occupied the entirety of the Iberian Peninsula except for a small mountainous area in the northwest that managed to hold out. Tarragona is a coastal town located on the coast south of Barcelona and, like the rest of Spain, was conquered by the Muslim armies.

NACLE based on ImSpanish invasion (NordNordWest, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
NACLE based on ImSpanish invasion (NordNordWest, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
Pressed by the inevitable Arab expansion, Prospero, the bishop of Tarragona, left the city by boat with a handful of men, bringing along the sacred relics of St. Fruttuoso, considered the first bishop of the Iberian town.

The legend

According to tradition, during the voyage to Italy, Saint Fruttuoso appeared to Prospero in a dream and showed him where his relics were to be deposited. The location was this same cove, hidden by the coastal vegetation and rich in freshwater, thanks to a unique spring. Here, the small group of adventurers built a small church to protect the saint's relics.

It was so that between Camogli and Portofino was established the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, built in the IV century CE and inherited in our time.

In the 10th century CE, the abbey was rebuilt as a Benedictine monastery and later received the influence of the noble Doria family, who ordered the construction of the adjacent tower to protect the village from the Barbary pirates that raged in the Mediterranean Sea at that time.

The noble family maintained its hegemony over the place until 1893 CE.

Doria's tower (Lucianoro1, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
Doria's tower (Lucianoro1, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
Today the abbey is a sought-after destination for tourists, sightseers and hikers. The site can be reached by boat from the nearby Portofino and Camogli or by following a scenic path through the typical Mediterranean setting, which connects the two villages.
(Lucianoro1, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)
(Lucianoro1, CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons)