Marilyn Geary

Journeys Illuminating the Old Ways

Marilyn Geary

2014 April Day21 – Rapallo and San Fruttuoso


After a leisurely breakfast, we decided to take a ferry to the Abbazia di San Fruttuoso, an abbey in a small cove on the rugged Portofino peninsula that can only be reached on foot or by boat

The weather was blissfully mild, and the sea calm.

On the way the boat stopped at Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.

Castles dotting the coastline were built to defend against the pirates that trolled the Ligurian seacoast.

The Doria family owned the abbey for many centuries, had alliances with the ten or twelve Benedictine monks who lived there, and arranged for Doria family members to be buried in the abbey.

The abbey included an exhibit of stones, including fossils.

On returning to Rapallo, we headed for the Museo di Merletto, the Lace Museum. This part of the Ligurian coast is renowned for its lace-making tradition. Women used to sit out by the seaside making intricate lace using padded cushions, pins, and bobbins.


We made it to the lace museum just in time to avoid a torrential downpour which surprised us given the beautiful sunny morning. We were stranded in a good place, as the museum is housed in the Villa Tigullio, original home to the aristocratic Spinola family.

The museum comtains drawers and drawers of exquisite lace, some from the 15th century. Some exhibits included the drawings that guided the lacemakers.



The drawing and the lace.
This particular photo shows how an artist used old lace fragments to create something new.

Theses lace linen shoes particularly caught my attention.

Imagine wearing such delicate footwear. Only for those special occasions.

The Villa Tigullio houses an international library along with the Lace Museum. A very comfortable place to hang out during the rain storm.

Once the rain stopped, we headed back to the center of town and passed a woman, Señora Saturno, cutting up an old table cloth to save the vintage hand-made lace.


She sells many old lace samples in her store, Antichita Saturno, but I passed on them all, as I already have enough projects to last several lifetimes.


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