“Portofino” by Frank Schaeffer is probably one of the best books to read about the area before traveling there.  It is a novel, told through the eyes of an adult who grew up in the area but is a retrospective about childhood there, offering a dual perspective on the Portofino experience.   Because it is fictional, it is easy to read and offers a fun way for travelers to learn about the area.  More information is available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425... .  The book is part of a trilogy by the author and readers may find that taking the other two books on the trip with them is an excellent way for passing a lazy day during the vacation.

For a more informational travel guide reading approach to learning about Portofino, travelers may want to check out the Eyewitness Travel Guide for the area ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sea... ) or they may want to take along the Insight Compact Guide to the area ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1585... ).  It should be noted that both of these guides are for the entire Italian Riviera region but offer thorough information about Portofino.

Travelers are also reminded that Italian is the first language of many of the people in the area, so picking up an Italian dictionary is highly recommended.   Italian language guides for beginners may also be useful.