Porto Venere is the ideal starting point to visit the marvellous surroundings of the province of La Spezia First of all, the Cinque Terre, reachable by ferry boat in less than 30 minutes or, for hikers, through a stunning path starting in the old village and crossing woods and cliffs, finally reaching the first of the five most famous Italian villages in 3 hours walk.
For those who love nature and tranquillity, the wild Palmaria island is worth a visit. Located just in front of Porto Venere, it can be reached by boat in a few minutes. The two hamlets of Porto Venere can be a nice surprise: Fezzano with its old centre and the marina, and Le Grazie and its sheltered bay, hosting some of the most beautiful sailing ships flying the flag of Italy and other countries.
On the opposite side of the Gulf, the cape of Lerici, Tellaro and Montemarcello offers marvellous views on its historical and natural landmarks.
PORTO VENERE: HISTORY AND NATURE
The village of Porto Venere is on the southernmost end of a peninsula which ends the jagged coastline of the Ligurian riviera, forming the west side of the Gulf of La Spezia, also called the Gulf of Poets. Facing the tip of the peninsula there are three small islands: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. Palmaria is separated from the village of Porto Venere by a narrow sea stretch and is scarcely inhabited. The beaches of the area are renowned for their crystal clear waters, thanks to the currents and the depth of the Ligurian Sea in the proximity of the coastline. The beaches on the north-western side of Palmaria are also mentioned in the Blue Guide of the Touring Club Italiano and Legambiente.
The name of the village (Portus Veneris) stems from the presence of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Venere Ericina in the same place, where the church of S. Peter was then erected. The name was probably connected to the fact that, according to tradition, the Goddess was born from sea-foam, which is undoubtedly abundant in the water surrounding the promontory.
Even if the oldest origins are attributed to presence in the 6th century b.C. of the old Ligurian people, the first historical dating of Porto Venere stretches back to Claudius Ptolemy (AD 150) and to the Maritime route of the Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 161.
Porto Venere became a Genoese dominion at the beginning of the 12th century, and subsequently the Republic of Genoa built the castle and the walls to transform the village into a fortress-village. Porto Venere becomes an important defensive outpost, scene of countless battles between the Republic of Genoa and the neighbouring Republic of Pisa for the supremacy in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
During the domination of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Porto Venere was part of the Department of Venus Gulf. After a short period under the Kingdom of Sardinia, in 1861 Porto Venere became part of the newly created Kingdom of Italy.
Appreciated holiday resort between the 19th and the 20th centuries – one of its most famous visitors was Lord George Gordon Byron – it is still a very popular tourist destination.
Porto Venere, together with the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto and the Cinque Terre, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1997 and is part of the regional natural park since 2001.
For further information
Check the timetable and prices of ferries from Porto Venere to La Spezia/Cinque Terre/Lerici on:
Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti
The pier is just 50 metres from our property.
To plan a hiking tour from Porto Venere to Cinque Terre, visit the following links:
For information on the itineraries within the Regional Natural Park of Porto Venere, including the Palmaria island, visit:
How to get to the Palmaria island: in the summertime, departures are every 30 minutes from 09.00 am to 6.45 pm from Doria pier, in front of our property.