1 day trip from La Spezia
The Gem of the Poets' Gulf
We could define a "gem" this fortified village that grows close to the rocky promontory that closes to the east the Golfo dei Poeti (Gulf of Poets). Silhouetted on the water that turns the reflection of his palaces (the "Palazzata"), has always been a tourist destination for travelers and poets, romantic place for excellence.
If you are in love or looking for love, Portovenere will enchant you with its even more fascinating sights and breathtaking views that can be admired from the sea with a boat trip or walking along the small alleys ("carruggi") that wind their way in the medieval village. For the perfect combination of its natural beauty, landscape and historical architecture, Portovenere, together with the Cinque Terre, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For history lovers, here you can go back thousands of years, from the prehistoric finds in the caves of the island of Palmaria, churches depicting the mix of Romanesque and Gothic, to the nineteenth-century fortifications. The origins seem to date back to Ligurian people, around the sixth century BC, but the first historical attestations are from the Roman period (second century AD) when reporting a village among the best known Sestri Levante and Luni.
The oldest settlement, whose remains were found under the current square Spallanzani, was a small group of fishermen that was completely destroyed by the Lombards in the seventh century AD after becoming the basis of the Byzantine fleet. Passed under the dominion of the Genoese in the twelfth century, the village remained there until the Napoleonic conquests to be subsequently annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia and then to that of Italy in 1861.
If you can, it's suggested to arrive by sea in Portovenere on the evening of August 17, day of the feast of Madonna Bianca (Our Lady White). On this occasion the town is illuminated by the warm light of 6000 candles which turn it into a unrepeatable show! For those who love good Ligurian cuisine based on fish, fries and soups, is not to be missed the traditional festival of the octopus, which takes place on September 8, in the small village of Le Grazie on the occasion of the feast of Our Lady Patron Saint of the Gulf . On September 13 and the following Sunday are the only day of the year in which the island of Tino is open to visitors.