Hotel Portofino Filming Locations: Portofino, Opatija, Lovran and More

Article by Jane

February 2nd, 2023

Explore the beautiful Hotel Portofino filming locations of Portofino Lighthouse, Angiolina Park, Castello Brown, Opatija’s Small Harbour, Piazza Martiri Dell’Olivetta, and Lungomare Promenade. Here’s where the Hotel Portofino, harbour and garden scenes and more were filmed.

In 1920s Italy, Bella Ainsworth (Natascha McElhone) has opened the Hotel Portofino in the stylish resort town. But behind the scenes of the resort, she’s contending with local politics, blackmail and the rise of fascism. Local politicial Signor Danioni (Pasquale Esposito) knows everything that goes on in Portofino, and wants to let the newcomers know it.

Bella’s husband Cecil (Mark Umbers) is embroiled in his own financial troubles. They’re joined by their son Lucian (Oliver Dench) and daughter Alice (Olivia Morris). Grand guests like Lady Latchmere (Anna Chancellor) make the hoteliers prove their worth. And just like ITV’s Downton Abbey, the series introduces us to staff including Betty (Elizabeth Carling).

Hotel Portofino is not based on a true story, but it does drawn on historical events. It was created by Matt Baker, and is shown on ITV, BritBox and PBS. And if you thought you detected a hint of Agatha Christie in the mix, you might be right. Baker revealed to Drama Quarterly that a classic crime influence did slip in during the writing process.

Where Was Hotel Portofino Filmed?

Hotel Portofino
Hotel Portofino was filmed in Portofino near the city of Genoa, Italy, and Opatija, Rovinj and Lovran inPrimorje-Gorski Kotar County, Croatia.

Executive producer Walter Iuzzolino grew up the area, and was aware that Portofino has a “very specific look that is very hard to replicate”. Some scenes could only be shot in Portofino if the ITV show wanted to capture that distinctive look and feel.

However, it’s also a sought-after destination among Italians. As a result, it wasn’t practical to shoot the entirety of the 1920s drama in Portofino – so the Italian Riviera and Opatija Riviera are blended together to form the show’s sunny resort.

Hotel Portofino Filming Locations

The Piazza

Hotel Portofino’s Italian piazza location is Piazza Martiri Dell’Olivetta. Some of the coastal streets in the ITV period drama belong to Croatian coastal towns, but this one opens out onto the real Portofino’s harbour.

Portofino Lighthouse

Lighthouse Portofino Lighthouse Portofino. Stefan Schäfer, Lich, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
The real Portofino Lighthouse appears in the ITVX series - in fact, it appears across the episodes. We see it at various times of day, with shots of the white building gleaming in the sun and glimpses of the light shining in the twilight.

You might be wondering if Portofino Lighthouse was only lit up from Hotel Portofino? Not at all - it really is a working lighthouse. Though there’s no lighthouse keeper switching it on each evening, it’s automated and controlled by the Italian Navy.

Chiesa del Divo Martino

Chiesa del Divo Martino has been a feature of Portofino for 800 years. The distinctive striped church stands on Portofino’s Salita della Chiesa, which stands above Via San Sebastiano’s millionaire villas. It appears midway through the series, along with glimpses of the winding streets that surround it.

The Promenade

Lungomare Promenade Lungomare Promenade. Marie Thérèse Hébert & Jean Robert Thibault from Québec, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
The coastal path location in Hotel Portofino is Croatia’s Lungomare Promenade. This walkway reaches along the coast from Lovran to Lovosko, covering 12 kilometres of coastline. On one side the land rises up, and on the other the rocks lead down to the crashing waves. It’s known as a highlight of Lovran, and has been a tourist attraction for over a hundred years.

Old Harbour

The old harbour location in Hotel Portofino Episode 4 is Opatija’s Small Harbour. Opatija’s Small Harbour, or Portić, is the oldest port in the city. In the scene, the police search the harbour’s storage sheds before another officer calls them away on another trail.

Hotel Portofino

The Hotel Portofino location is in Lovran in Croatia. Director Adam Wimpenny shared a few shots from the hotel filming location, giving a glimpse behind the scenes on the period drama.

Lovran sits alongside Opatija, on the Kvarner Riviera which became a popular resort at the end of the 19th Century.

Like Portofino, the local buildings are a blend of medieval churches and century-old hotels and squares designed to host its stylish guests. This part of Croatia is known as the Kvarner Riviera, and Opatija attracted comparisons with Nice.

Castello Brown

Castello Brown Castello Brown. Davide Papalini, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Castle Brown is the hilltop castle in Hotel Portofino. It became an important part of the show’s look, and is used throughout the series.

“All of the landscape shots and some of the key branding imagery was shot from Castle Brown, one of the most beautiful buildings in Portofino, to which were able to gain exclusive access”
Walter Iuzzolino, Executive Producer

Castello Brown is located on Via alla Penisola and looks out over the Tigulline Gulf. It dates back to 1425 and was privately owned for many years, but now Castello Brown is looked after by the Municipality of Portofino.

Now to the decidedly English name... Castello Brown was a fortress for centuries, guarding Portofino’s residents through attacks, invasions and occupations. By 1867 those days had passed, and the castle was decommissioned. It was bought by English Consul Montague Years Brown, who had the building restored and shaped the castle’s gardens.

The English connection doesn’t end there. Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel The Enchanted April was written and set at Castle Brown. While the plot differs from Hotel Portofino’s, both follow British holidaymakers looking to refresh or reshape their lives in the Italian sun.

The Gardens

Hotel Portofino’s garden location is Angiolina Park in Opatija, Croatia. It’s one of the most famous parks in Croatia and is known for its camellias - the symbol of Opatija. The elegant villa at the back of the gardens is the Villa Angiolina, which houses the Croatian Museum of Tourism.

These lush gardens can be found on the route of the Lungomare Promenade - also known as the Franz Joseph Promenade.

The Gazebo

Hotel Portofino’s distinctive gazebo with bands of coloured glass is the Angiolino Park bandstand. It can be found within the same gardens that appear in shots throughout the series. Look out for the bandstand later in the series, as truths start to come to light.