Basilica visit

April 27, 2009 / Places
camoglibasilica1Soar over the forested promontory of Portofino on the Golfo Paradiso, past the craggy Aleppo pines that cling to the rocky coast, and land upon the edge of the Ligurian village of Camogli, a riot of color against a green hillside.

Meander through the ancient carruggi (Ligurian for alleys) and step onto the sun drenched Via Garibaldi, the seafront thoroughfare. Follow the scent of salt and weathered wood through an archway and stand in Piazza Colombo.

Glance to the left and ascend the stairs to the entrance of the 12th century Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta (Our Lady of the Assumption). Stoop to run your palms over the churchyard’s bumpy risseu (Ligurian for, literally, “stone embroidery”) beneath your feet, large black and white pebbles in geometrical patterns.

camoglibasilica2Enter the nave and stand in awe in the hushed semi-darkness that has held the dreams and fears of the people of Camogli for eight hundred years, as well as the remains and relics of the town’s two patron saints, San Fortunato and San Prospero. Marvel at the Baroque interior, lush with marble and gilt.

Drop coins in the plain square box at the back of the church and stand transfixed as the fifty plus crystal chandeliers come to life and shower you with God’s light. Wish and pray that you could stand there forever.


— Contributed by Susan Pohlman, a freelance writer who lived for a year in Liguria with her husband and two children. Her book about the experience, Halfway to Each Other, will be available Sept. 1.

14 Responses to “Basilica visit”

  1. Peggy Corrao

    Beautifully written! I can’t wait to read the book! Thank you!

  2. Frances McCauley

    I tried to “SEND” this today but page about the Basilica Visit could not be found…….could that be fixed as I know someone who would love to see it. Beautifully done. F.McC.

  3. hebegb

    Dear Frances, I got the “send” function working again now. Thanks for point that out, appreciate it!

  4. Camogli will definitely be one of the towns the women and I visit as I teach the La Dolce Vita Italy Workshop in September. There is so much beauty and history in the Italian Riviera area–well, okay really beauty in all of Italy! I’d like to spend the rest of my life discovering all regions of Italy. Thanks for your wonderful articles!

  5. Richard Garlini

    I grew up in Camogli before emigrating to the USA and this article took me back to a part of my life filled with joy. The Ligurean region and the small towns that dot the coast are the most picturesque sites in the world,certainly a must see part of Italy.

  6. Your note took me back to Camogli, a town that I love, and I remember not being able to walk at all on the “risseu”, but it really is beautiful, isn’t it? Your writing is lovely…

  7. Truly lovely! I could feel myself transported there with your words! Congratulations on getting your book published. Brava!

  8. When I purchase the book September 1st will I find it under fiction or non-fiction?

  9. I’ve had the opportunity to read a prepub copy Susan’s book, Halfway to Each Other, and I loved it–absolutely loved it. Be sure to read her book–it is a treasure.


Leave a Reply