Cinque Terre and Portofino Coast Photo Workshop

Manarola, Cinque Terre By Drake Busath

The coastal town of Camogli is the base for our Cinque Terre and Portofino Coast Photo Workshop because it’s the perfect blend of charming fishing village and great beach town. And best of all, it’s relatively undiscovered, so we get very local feeling here.  Italian photographer Luigi Barbano introduced me to Camogli, on the Ligurian Sea, and I’ll always be grateful.

We stay in one of my favorite hotels, Cenobio dei Dogi, with it’s own private beach and rooms looking out onto the Mediterranean, where we have a little piece of paradise. From our pool at the hotel, we look out onto the most beautiful view of the town, and we’re just steps from good restaurants and gelato.

From Camogli, we can day-trip south to the Cinque Terre. These five towns have become uber-popular for the hiking trails that connect them, but they’re also a great place to photograph because with few or no roads, they have kept much of their centuries-old flavor.  We typically lay out an itinerary for our guests to visit three of the five towns, concentrating on a few jaw dropping vistas and a wonderland of harbor still life photography.  Dinner with a spectacular view usually tops off our visit to the Cinque Terre.

Another day, a ferry takes us to the ancient monastery of San Fruttuoso (reachable only by boat). There you can make a great afternoon with a hike up the hill, a swim in the crystal clear lagoon and a hearty meal of  seafood and Liguria’s famous pesto.

A little further south, we visit the most picturesque port in Italy, Portofino.  There, we hang with the rich and famous for a few hours and do some people watching.  For me however, Portofino is about still-life images in the back streets and taking the hike up to the hill for views over the harbor and seascapes.

These day trips accent a restful stay in Camogli, where each day we review our images on the big screen. Workshop members invariably comment that these reviews are critical to the learning experience, because they’re able to see what others are photographing and get meaningful feedback from the instructors.