San Fruttuoso in one of the most fascinating towns in Liguria; tourists can reach it on foot, through paths from Portofino, or via a ship.
What to see in San Fruttuoso
Arriving in the Ligurian town, in front of the eyes of tourists, there is a pictoresque scenario thanks to the abbey dating back to the year 1000 and it's right on the beach. The abbey is also the starting point of the processions of Christ of the Abyss.
The origin dates back to the VIII century, when it was erected because of the will of the bishop Prospero, who took shelter in the bay after escaping Spain. According to the legend, San Fruttuoso appeared in bishop's dreams and pointed him out the place of construction of the church. The place was chosen also thanks to the presence of water and the shore, which was an important defensive element.
The expansion of the complex and the dome, in Byzantine style, happened in the X century and, during the following years, more changes were made to the shape of the building. In the XIII century, the abbey became property of the Genoese family Doria and it acquired the current aspect; the crypt became the burial ground of the family.
Around the XV century, the abbey was abandoned by the monks and a phase of decline started, going on for centuries.
The abbey was damaged during the 1915 flood, which caused the fall of many parts and it was renewed in the 80s, bringing it back to its old spendor. Nowadays, the abbey is a FAI place and tourists can visit the museum, the cloister and the seven tombs of Doria family.
In the rooms of the museum, there are interesting pieces regarding the abbey's history, among which there are some wonderful pottery. They've been casually found in a storage, and they are now kept in glass cases with other valuable finds.
In San Fruttuoso you have to visit also Torre dei Doria, the tower near the abbey. It was built in 1562, on the road that connects the abbey with the houses of sailors, with a defensive purpose for the center and the source of water.
The bay hosting San Fruttuoso is a wonderful place, surrounded with nature and with a pleasant climate, typically Mediterranean, which makes the visit perfect during spring and winter. The bay can be reached by boeat from Camogli, Sestri Levante and Genova.
Christ of the Abyss and the celebration
The statue of Christ of the Abyss was made in bronze and it weights 800 kg. It's 2,5 m tall and it's been put in the open sea in august 1954, 17 m deep. Since that moment, it has been brought back to land in only one occasion, when it had to be renewed.
The ceremonial taking place every year is dedicated to the men who lost their lives in the sea and the origin dates back to 1947; in that year, the diver Duilio Marcante sat on a shore in the abyss to commemorate his friend Dario Gonzatti, who died during a scuba diving.
Every year, in the sea, a priests reaches the point where the Christ is and he blesses the sea and its victims. During the celebration, all the lights are turned off so that the only lighting is given by candles. After this blessing, a laurel crown is immersed, brought by divers, and the priests comes back to the Abbey and he celebrates the Mass.
Christ of the Abyss has open arms and they're in the air. During days in which water is very vivid, it can be seen thanks to small wood ships, called gozzi, which bring you to the statue. During the years, the statue has become a symbol of the passion for the sea and it attracts many divers who want to admire the Christ, in its natural environment. In the Abbey there is a copy of the statue, and it can be admired even by those who can't dive.