Italian Splendour at Portmeirion

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThrough the gateway into the village

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Bridge House [1959] the second gateway to Portmeirion

Portmeirion, a stunning Italianate village, was brought into being by Clough Williams-Ellis [1883-1978], who had it built on his own private peninsula on the coast of Snowdonia National Park.  Clough was deeply committed to the conservation of rural Wales, and spent much of his time campaigning for the protection of the environment.  His motto was: “Cherish the past, adorn the present, construct for the future.”

250,000 visitors come to Portmeirion every year and the admission fee [currently £10.00 adult] contributes to the upkeep of the village and gardens.

Please take a stroll with me around this fabulous wonderland.

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The Round House [1959]

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The Dome, and Loggia [1963] which houses a Buddha

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Statue of Buddha, salvaged from the relics of a film set.

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The Bell Tower, also called the Campanile [1928] embodies stone from the twelfth century castle of Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of North Wales.

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The Fountain Pool in the Piazza

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The Gloriette [1964] behind the fountain in the Piazza

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The Bristol Collonade, designed by James Bridges c.1760, rebuilt here 1959.

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Angel holding scroll, in the style of French or Netherlands fifteenth-century sculptureSDC13715-001-2View of the estuary and Bell Tower from high up in the woodlandsSDC13720-001-2

View of the village from high up in the woodlands

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Statue of St Peter near the entrance to the village

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The Gothic Pavilion [1965] A gift from Nercwys Hall, Flintshire

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A Wishing Well, adorned with a group of copper dolphins. A gift from the staff of Portmeirion, to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, on his eightieth birthday.

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The gardens around the village are a sight to behold.

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“The Prisoner” was filmed here at Portmeirion in the 1960′s.  Patrick McGoohan  starred as Number Six, in the seventeen episode series, which began with him resigning from his top secret government job, being gassed and falling unconscious.  He wakes in a sinister village from which there is no escape. The captives are brainwashed but Number 6 is the only one who refuses to be broken: “I am not a number; I am a free man”.

The series was probably one of the most influential pieces of televison of the 1960s and even The Beatles were fans. Its cult status was confirmed with the establishment in the 1970s of the official Prisoner Appreciation Society, Six of One.

Clough Williams-Ellis wrote:

“Patrick McGoohan’s ingenious and indeed mysterious television series, “The Prisoner”, stands alone for its revealing presentation of the place.  When seen in colour at the local cinema, a performance he kindly arranged, Portmeirion, itself, seemed to me, at least, to steal the show from its human cast.”

Images: Portmeirion Italianate village in North Wales [September 2012]  by Isabella Rose