Portovenere, Province of La Spezia, Liguria

Portovenere, with the Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto isles, and the towns of the Cinque Terre, belongs to an area of great beauty and uncontaminated landscapes which in 1997 was declared a UNESCO World heritage site. The Palmaria island belongs to the comune of Portovenere, from which it is separated by a narrow strait "Le Bocche". On the island was a monastery in the early Middle Ages, where for a time stayed San venerio, the Gulf's patron; today it is a environmental oasis with rich Mediterranean vegetation and steep cliffs, connected to Portovenere by ferry.


  • Population: about 4,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 19025
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0187
  • Frazioni & Localities: Le Grazie, Fezzano, Isola Palmaria.

What to see

  • The church of San Pietro, built in the ealy Christian centuries over the remains of a temple to Venus (the goddess that gives name to the place) rebuilt in 1256 by the Genoese as a reward for the help received in conquering Lerici.
  • The Romanesque church of San Lorenzo, built by the Magistri Antelami in the early 12th century, in three naves, with arches supported by black marble columns.
  • The Palmaria island, which can be visited taking a ferry or boat, a paradise of Mediterranean vegetation, with fine grottos, ancient fortifications, quarries of Portoro marble (black with golden stripes), and crowded populations of royal gulls.
  • The Tino island, with remains of buildings of the 11th century AD, and the chapel built in the 7th century on the spot where the body of San venerio, born in Palmaria and a hermit on this island, was found. The island is a Military Area, and it is possible to visit only on the Saint's day, 13 september.
  • The Tinetto islet, with remains of an ancient oratorium of the 6th century AD and a larger monastery, destroyed in the 11th century by a Saracen raid. The island is also hope to a lizard that can be found only here, the pordacis muralis tinettoi.

Events and Festivities

  • The Palio del Golfo, a yearly rowing competition held on the first days of August in the Spezia Gulf, among 13 mariner groups (borgate): Portovenere, Le Grazie, Fezzano, Cadimare, Marola, C.R.D.D. (Circolo Ricreativo Dipendenti Difesa La Spezia), Canaletto, Fossamastra, Muggiano (8), San Terenzo, Venere Azzurra, Lerici, Tellaro.
  • The Processione della Madonna Bianca, an event held since 1200 AD every 17 August: after sunset, in the light of torches, the statue of the white-dressed virgin Mary is carried along the San Pietro promontory.

Where to stay

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Provinces of Liguria
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