South West of the Gulf of La Spezia is the archipelago of three islands: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.
Since 1997, all three islands along with Portovenere and the Cinque Terre have been included among the World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
Palmaria is the largest of the three and is located in front of the beautiful village of Portovenere from which it is separated by a narrow strait, which twice a year becomes an amazing natural swimming pool, with the interdiction to navigation operated by the Port Authority, allowing bathers to safely cross the channel, usually very crowded with boats.
The island has a triangular shape with sides facing Portovenere, which slope towards the sea, hosting many beaches, immersed in the green maquis and beach clubs and the famous restaurant “Locanda Lorena” that guarantees the transport of its customers from the island of Palmaria to Portovenere’s seafront, using a feature wooden boat.
The sides facing the open sea are characterized by a white cliff that slopes precipitously from a height of about 200 meters; here from the sea you can see the presence of numerous natural caves that make this stretch of cliff very fascinating.
Palmaria has a network of trails that allows you to cross it from Terrizzo starting point of boat landings, climbing up to the highest point of the island called Fort Cavour dating back to 1808 before going down to Pozzale, through an ancient quarry of precious Portoro marble now abandoned.
Further East of Palmaria there is the island of Tino, characterized by lush Mediterranean vegetation. On the side exposed to the open sea there is a white inviolable cliff on top of which was built the lighthouse that signals the entrance to mariners in the Gulf of La Spezia.
The island is owned by the Navy and is therefore inaccessible, except for September 13, patron day of San Venerio the saint of the Gulf, who lived as a hermit on the island until his death. On that day you can visit the island and the ruins of Roman times.
Tinetto is the smallest of the three islands, separated from Tino by some submerged rocks, but not for this reason less important; here it was settled the first monastery dating from the sixth century which then expanded on Tino and Palmaria where you can still see the remains.
A few meters South of the islet, on top of a half-submerged rock, which in the past also caused a few boats’ sinking, there has been installed a statue of Stella Maris that is two meters high.
You may visit the three islands with tours organized by private boatmen tours starting from Portovenere or by hiring a boat from the seafront of the old village of Portovenere founded by the Genoese.
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