It once lured the likes of Winston Churchill, Princess Grace of Monaco and Ava Gardner, but times have changed in Portofino – and so has the comportment of visitors.
Faced with the invasion of hordes of day-trippers whose behaviour often leaves a lot to be desired, the chic resort town on the Italian Riviera has introduced a raft of new regulations in an attempt to restore decorum.
Wandering around the harbour barefoot or without a shirt is now prohibited, as is snacking on the front doorsteps of the port’s pastel-coloured houses.
Lounging around in the town’s parks and piazzas is banned, as well as playing loud music after midnight.
Breaking the rules will mean a fine of up to €300 (£265).
The crackdown will also target tourists who heave their suitcases or other bits of luggage onto public benches, denying the space to others.
“It is forbidden to occupy benches, stairways, porticoes and public buildings or their steps,” the regulations state.
Surrounded by olive groves and umbrella pine trees, and with its harbour crammed with mega yachts, Portofino remains popular with celebrities to this day, from George Clooney and Robert De Niro to Madonna and Denzel Washington.
The neighbouring towns of Rapallo and Santa Margherita have introduced similar ordinances in an attempt to rein in uncouth behaviour by tourists.
The mayors of the three towns said that “with the increase in the number of tourists arriving during the summer period” it was necessary to impose greater “discipline” on visitors.
“We were responding to the complaints of locals,” said Paolo Donadoni, the mayor of Santa Margherita, which is located just a few miles along the coast from Portofino.
“There were people urinating in the streets and outside the theatre,” he told La Repubblica newspaper.
The population of the three resorts triples during the summer, with long-suffering residents complaining of anti-social behaviour by some holidaymakers.
“We are prohibiting people from going around the town bare-chested or barefoot – until now it was allowed,” said Matteo Viacava, the mayor of Portofino.
The rules are similar to measures adopted in Venice, where stewards have been deployed to keep an eye on unruly tourists in hotspots such as St Mark’s Square, the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge.
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The stewards, nicknamed by the Italian press “angels of decorum”, also suggest to tourists alternative routes to reach St Mark’s Square and other popular attractions, avoiding the usual congested rat-runs.
Like Portofino and Venice, Florence has a love-hate relationship with tourists, welcoming the revenue they bring in but finding itself appalled at the sheer number of visitors and their sometimes uncouth behaviour.
Last summer the city authorities adopted a policy of hosing down the steps of historic churches in order to stop tourists from sprawling on them, frequently while eating slices of pizza or licking ice creams.
"The historic centre of Florence is a World Heritage site, an open air museum — it’s not a place for impromptu picnics,” said Dario Nardella, the mayor.