Portovenere is a town located on the Ligurian coast of Italy, in the province of La Spezia.

It comprises the three villages of Fezzano, Le Grazie and Portovenere , and the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. In 1997 Porto Venere and the villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Regional Natural Park in Portovenere offers a unique landscape with its high coasts, caves and vegetation that permeates the atmosphere in any season with the changing shades of color.

I decided to have a half day trip in Portovenere. A short trip to Portovenere is enough to enjoy the smart atmosphere of this unforgettable place.

I went from Pisa to Portovenere  by car following Google directions . It might not seem like a big deal, but Portovenere  is accessible by car. You might not immediately realize how useful this can be until you find yourself trying to rush to catch a train in La Spezia to the Cinque Terre only to be met with terrible waits (or worse, cancellations (above all in summer) . My itinerary  : a walk in the city center having a brunch with a sparkling prosecco, scrumbled eggs and “mortadella” and a visit to the Byron Grotto” and to the Saint Peter church.

Portovenere is a corner of paradise . It is often referred to being one stop in the Bay of Poets, part of three small villages and islands, declared a “Unesco World Heritage Site” in 1997, located in the province of La Spezia.

Portovenere is full of history . Here  some interesting information . In the first century BC, Portovenerewas known as “Portus Veneris”  the town’s name stemming from an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Venus. After the fall of the Roman empire, the Byzantines took an interest here but were overtaken by the Lombards in the 600’s. Later, Portovenere was made famous due to the interest taken in its by famous poets and authors, above all  the English Romantics, who sought its wild bay as a place of meditation. Namely the English poet Lord Byron who took a chose  this place  for  inspiration for his many works.

After my brunch , I entered the Byron Grotto” , called  Grotta Arpaia . It  seems to be a lively picture.  This incredibly beautiful bay  was dedicated to Byron, who  swam across the bay of Portovenere to visit his fellow English muse, Shelley, who was residing in the village of San Terenzo.

The Byron Grotto” is situated near the castle of Portovenere and it is embraced by the cliff on which stands the church of Saint Peter . I highly recommend visiting  it to admire its beauty . 

E. Montale , an Italian author, dedicated a poem to this church. Here below his beautiful poetry about St Peter Church:

There, comes Triton
from the waves that lap
the threshold of a Christian
temple, and every near hour
is ancient. Every doubt
takes you by hand
As if by a young girl friend.
There no one’s eyes
nor ears are bent on self.
Here you are at the origins
and deciding is foolish:
re-begin later to assume a nature”
E. Montale

With its stunning sea views, narrow streets, and majestic church perched just on the cliffside, it is easy to see why so many famous poets loved Portovenere  so much. It inspires awe and beauty. It renders you speechless . Portovenere is a muse for desolate artists everywhere.

If you’re really in the mood for treating yourself ,  you absolutely need to book dinner at one of the restaurants in Monterosso:L’Ancora del Tortuga”  .

I  sat outside right by the wall overlooking the water, and it was really beautiful. I  asked for the restaurant’s specialties : the local “Monterosso Anchovies”. They are served  fried,  with olives, lemon and olive oil. It’s expertly filleted at you table and is to die for! Of course I also had to try the pesto on their homemade pasta. The local Cinque Terre White Wine, which I had already tried, was delicious and so reasonably priced. I’m just disappointed that you can’t get it in the states. The service was great and I never  felt rushed, so I enjoyed the view and had a really awesome time.


Enjoy Liguria !


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