Portovenere is a beautiful fishing village, located at the western end of the Gulf of La Spezia, founded on a promontory between Palmaria island and the jagged and steep cliff overlooking the Cinque Terre National Park.
Its origins are millenary, since it already existed at the time of the Roman colonization of the city of Luni and was an important maritime station in the routes of Roman ships to Gaul and Iberia, so much so that in 161 A.C. appears in the maritime itinerary of the emperor Antonino Augusto.
It lives its maximum splendor during the dominion of the Republic of Genoa, of which it became a colony from the year 1113 for about 700 years and its evidence are the admirable gateway to the historic center, the church of San Lorenzo, the church of San Pietro and the Doria castle.
The most fascinating part of the village is composed of characteristic tower-houses with different and sparkling colors, lined up along the promenade, placed to protect the long internal pedestrian street, called “U Carugiu” in Ligurian dialect, which horizontally cuts the village until it ends on the pavement of the steep cliff where stands the splendid church of San Pietro.
The church of San Lorenzo, which can be reached along the steep vaulted stairways called “Capitoli” that from the long sea cut vertically the village, dates back to the year 1116, built with powerful blocks of Portoro, the local black marble, encloses inside valuable works of art, including the mysterious cedar trunk of Lebanon that arrived in Portovenere in 1204. Inside was found a golden cross with gems and various relics of saints, probably entrusted to the sea by the Christians of the East to subtract them from their Muslim persecutors.
The most famous religious building is however the church of San Pietro, built on the steep cliff that closes the promontory and has become the symbol of the village due to its position and its architecture.
The Doria Castle dominates the village from above and it is the most authoritative witness of the past power of Portovenere and of the defense works erected by the Republic of Genoa on the eastern frontier to face the attacks of Pisani rivals. Another important Genoese fortification is Torre Scola, built in 1606 on cliffs surfacing in front of the island Palmaria that held up to the British bombing of 1800.
In 1791 Napoleon entered the Gulf of La Spezia and decided to make it a stronghold of the French Navy, building numerous forts and the road that still connects the city with Portovenere.
Its municipal territory also includes the two seaside villages of Le Grazie and Fezzano. The first is sheltered inside a beautiful bay, with a great tradition of boat builders and divers, while Fezzano boasts Roman origins.
In Le Grazie you can visit the remains of the Roman villa of Varignano, dating back to the 1st century B.C., with its thermal plant, the presses for the production of oil and a large covered cistern used by Roman ships in transit along this stretch of coast.
Since 1997, Portovenere has been included in the sites declared by Unesco as a World Heritage Site for its unique landscape and historical-artistic peculiarities and since 2001 it is a Regional Natural Park of Liguria.
18 March 2023
The ring San Terenzo – Trebiano – Pugliola – Venere Azzurra on the ancient flax road.
19 January 2022
The Park of the Walls: balcony on the Gulf of Poets
13 October 2021
Creuza de Ma: seaside mule track
1 April 2021
Loop San Terenzo – La Serra – Rocchetta – Zanego – Lerici
13 December 2020
The Parish church of Marinasco: breathtaking terrace over the Gulf of Poets
6 November 2020
L’Antro del Corchia: the jewel of the Apuan Alps
23 October 2020
The Monterosso’s lemons’ festival
11 October 2020
The origins of the Via dell’Amore
21 April 2020
Lerici and San Terenzo: the bay of the english
27 March 2020
Vernazza: on the waterfront
7 December 2019
Corniglia: a terrace on the sea
8 September 2019
The path 436: from Montemarcello to Punta Corvo beach
22 April 2019
The anchovies of Monterosso
3 December 2018
The Via Francigena: walking in the history
18 September 2018
The path n. 508: from Vernazza to Reggio
2 May 2018
Portovenere: splendid pearl on the sea!
11 January 2018
Montereggio: a village of booksellers and publishers
15 November 2017
From Lerici to Bocca di Magra with the Liguria Trail (SL)
13 August 2017
The island of Palmaria
14 March 2017
Sciacchetrail 2017 – Third Edition
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