Faces and PlacesOutdoorCinque Terre

Portovenere: a destination not to miss near Cinque Terre

As we have already told on this blog, there’s much more than Cinque Terre in Liguria!

Today I want to tell you about Portovenere and the Poet’s Gulf, one of my favorite places in the Italian Riviera, just next to Cinque Terre.

Portovenere Liguria

Portovere is a village with a special charm [ph. credits Giorgio Galeotti flickr]

Portovenere is a charming fishing village, as the ones in Cinque Terre but it has something special that gives it a particular atmosphere.

Portovenere is a village rich in history

S. Peter Church Portovenere

S. Peter church perched on the rocky cliff

They say that the Goddess Venus was born from the sea foam in this place… anyway, for sure Portovenere dates back to the Roman’s time. It has been a Bizantine port and, in medieval times, it become a Genoese stronghold to protect the border against the enemy town of Pisa. This long history left clear traces in the walls, the castle and the two churches of San Pietro and San Lorenzo. But the fishing village is different too, with its “tower-houses” huddled together to create a colorful defensive wall facing the harbor.

Portovenere is nestled in a natural paradise

Portovenere natural paradise

The natural paradise of Portovenere (ph. credits by Joseph Grungl Flickr)

Portovenere is located just at the entrance of the Gulf of La Spezia, also called the Poet’s Gulf.

A rocky cliff dominates the village and, just perched on it, rise the medieval church of San Pietro that looks almost made of rocks. Take a walk to the church and you’ll admire an incredible panorama!

But it does not end here because in front of the village there is the Palmaria Island with its lush vegetation, hidden coves and tiny beaches. It is very close to the coast so that it creates a sort of channel of sea in front of the village. Behind Palmaria there are two other small islands, Tino and Tinetto, once inhabited by monks. You’ll love this unique marine landscape!

How to get to Portovenere from Cinque Terre

If you are staying in one of the Cinque Terre villages you have two alternatives:

  • The best one, weather permitting, is to take the public boat that everyday links the villages to Portovenere
  • Otherwise you can take a train< to La Spezia and from there a bus or again a public boat to Portovenere

What to do in Portovenere

Well, it depends on how much time you have.

If you have half a day

Portovenere coud be a perfect destination even if you have just half day; for example if you are leaving Cinque Terre to Tuscany, you could catch the opportunity to spend a few hours strolling in the village. Don’t miss to visit the perched church of San Pietro ore the bigger one of Sal Lorenzo, than there is the castle and the cozy village with its main narrow street flanked by the ancient tall hoses and full of nice fish restaurants and shops.

If you have a full day

I suggest you two alternatives

Hiking on Palmaria Island
Hiking on Plamaria Island

Breathtaking panorama hiking on Palmeria Island

It’s easy to reach the island with a public boat and it’s amazing to walk on the trail running all around Palmaria Island offering breathtaking panoramas on Portovenere. Even if you are not an expert hiker, this is an easy and beautiful walk and, when you will be tired, you can bathe in the crystalline sea.

Take a private boat ride in the Poet’s Gulf
The castle of Lerici in the Poet's Gulf

The castle of Lerici in the Poet’s Gulf

What about exploring the repaired Gulf with a private boat, cross it and land in the cute hamlet of Lerici dominated by the ancient castle? There you can taste the famous mussels of the Gulf. But the tour doesn’t end here and you will take again your private boat and take a look from the sea to the ultra-small fishing village of Tellaro.

The Gulf of Poets invites you quietly and it is not surprising that it was loved by poets and writers like Shelley, Byron, Petrarch and Montale. It will fascinate you with its colors, atmosphere, climate, art, history traditions and cuisine.

If you are planning a trip to Cinque Terre and you don’t want to miss this hidden pearl of the Italian Riviera, check our itinerary Cinque Terre and Beyond

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