Camogli is a tiny fishing village in the Ligurian Region. It is located on the Gulf of Paradise, just south of Genova. The town was a large seaport town in the late middle ages, but today is primarily a resort town.
The Dragonara Castle was erected in the 12th century to defend the tiny town, which was destroyed several times over the centuries. The Castle and the main Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta still stand proudly marking the ancient heritage of the small village.
During October, the village is quiet with few tourists but everything is still opened. There are wonderful bars, restaurants, and shops along the beautiful boardwalk that run along the seaside. The town has done a wonderful job of highlighting the incredible views of the sea from many vantage points throughout the town.
Camogli is not easy to reach from Florence. We had to change trains three times and it takes about 4 hours, but it is definitely worth it. The scenery from the train is spectacular as you pass many other famous villages like the Cinque Terra, Santa Margherita, and Portofino.
There are boats to take you to a variety of other ports along the shore. These do not run year round and some of the routes had already been discontinued for the season when we were there in mid-October.
This palazzo was built by the Davizzi family in the mid 14th century and later on purchased by the Davanzanti family whose coat of arms still hangs out front.
In 1910 the palazzo was purchased by Eli Volpi and opened as a museum in the style of the original Palazzo (according to his interpretation). In 1951 it was bought by the State and operated as a museum until 1995 when it had to be closed for restoration. It was reopened in its entirety in 2012 as a model of a wealthy Medieval Florentine house.
The furnishings in the house are not original but were accumulated over the years to represent what things might have looked like during this time period. It is a remarkable place to visit and let your imagination soar with how things might have been during that time period. It is one of the best values with entrance fees of only 6 euro. It is opened, from Monday to Sunday from 8:15 until 1:50 with some closings on the second and fourth Sunday and the 3rd and 5th Mondays of the month.
While in Umbria recently, we visited Panicale. Panicale is a tiny walled village that dates back to Etruscan times. It is north of Orvieto and on the south side of Lake Trasimeno. It is in the Province of Perugia. It doesn’t seem to be reachable by train, so you would have to check on a train (maybe from Chiusi or Chianciano Terme) then a bus, or come by car as we did this day with a friend.
We came specifically to visit the Chiesa di San Sebastiano. This church is located up the hill, just outside the gates into the city. We found the church easily, but it was locked up tight! Fortunately, there was a sign indicating that you should ask at the information center to visit.
The information center is well marked in Piazza Umberto when you enter the city gates. The tickets cost 4 euro and you get the pleasure of having someone come along and tell you all about the two important paintings there. We were alone for most of the visit and then two other people joined us.
The church itself is not much to see, but the fresco located at the far end of the wall is spectacular. It is called the Martyr of San Sebastian and is by Pietro Perugino. It was painted in 1505 and has recently been beautifully restored. Pietro Vannucci (1446-1524) was called Il Perugino and is best known for being the teacher of Raphael.
Additionally, there is a fresco by Raphael of the Madonna and Child with instruments.