The Best Travel Guide to Portovenere by BestTravelBook

Portovenere is a medieval fishing village situated in north Italy, just south of the Cinque Terre the Italian Riviera much loved by Lord George Gordon Byron.  Portovenere 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. Back in the day, namely the first century BC, it was known as “Portus Veneris”; the town’s name stemming from an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Venus.

Portovenere
Portovenere

 

The Best Travel Guide to Portovenere is segmented into 4 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Portovenere:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. A comprehensive lowdown of What to See;
  3. Some Top Tips / Good to Know;
  4. An insider guide

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

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1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town:

 

Portovenere
Portovenere

Portovenere boasts a beautiful castle, picturesque houses and churches, and hidden sea caves.   It also has a charming historic centre with narrow lanes, stepped alleyways and archways. The historic centre has an array of shops, restaurants and trendy bars and cafes to enjoy.

Portovenere
Portovenere

There are so many things to see and photograph: in addition to the Castle, the San Lorenzo church, the San Pietro church and Byron’s cave, you can relax on the beaches or enjoy the sun on the rocks, or go along the caruggio that crosses the old village and contains delightful shops selling Liguirian products and souvenirs.

View from San Pietro Church
View from San Pietro Church

 

You will reach the beautiful harbour first with colourful fisherman’s boats lining the harbour.  The seafood restaurants that line the harbour a very popular to sample the catch-of-the-day.   From the harbour you can see the beautiful San Pietro church which has as a Gothic bell tower and Romanesque loggia.    The panorama of Porto Venere is dominated by Doria Castle, a majestic fortress built by the Republic of Genoa in 1161 and situated on a rocky outcrop that overlook the town. In the middle of the village stands the Capitulare Tower, situated to the left of the entrance door in Via Capellini; this is the town’s main street, also called the “Carugio”.

View from Castello
View from Castello

Piazza Spallanzani is a charming square, where once stood the ancient pre-Roman centre of Castrum Vetus. Also worth seeing are the St. Peter’s Church, under which lies the cave of Byron (the most famous one in Porto Venere, together with the Grotta Azzurra), and the Church of San Lorenzo in Collina.

View from Castello
View from Castello

 

 

2. A comprehensive lowdown of What to See:

 

Portovenere
Portovenere

 

What to See & Do in Portovenere
What to See & Do in Portovenere

 

View from Castello
View from Castello

Castello Doria:

Doria Castle, Portovenere
Doria Castle, Portovenere

 

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • Andrea Doria Castle dominates the landscape of Porto Venere and overlooks the magical Poet’s Gulf . It is an imposing structure with closed sloping walls made of local stone and stands as an outstanding example of the Genoa military architecture
  • The Castle was built by the Genoese in 1161 and during the centuries its structure has undergone improvements to both the interior and exterior
  • The Castle is a fabulous place for photography

 

The Palazzata:

The Palazzata Portovere
The Palazzata, Portovenere

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • A collection of colourful and tall houses which line the waterfront represent the signature of Porto Venere’s and represent the most photographed within brochureware
  • The houses were built to defend the town against frequent raids from the Saracens and Pisans
Castello Doria
Castello Doria

 

San Pietro Church:

San Pietro Church, Portovenere
San Pietro Church, Portovenere

 

San Pietro Church, Portovenere-1
San Pietro Church, Portovenere

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

  • The Church of San Pietro is an ancient church dedicated to Saint Peter, built on a rocky edge in Portovenere, facing the beautiful Gulf of Poets
  • After visiting the church, be sure to climb the stairs just out front to a terrace with fabulous views over the cliffs

 

San Pietro Church
San Pietro Church

 

Explore the medieval streets:

BestTravelBook Top Pick:

Portovenere Streets, Portovenere
Portovenere Streets, Portovenere
  • Porto Venere has a labyrinth of narrow streets and passageways where shop fronts showcase artisan and Ligurian souvenirs
  • One of the best ways to enter through the Porto del Borgo Gate
  • Via Capellini is the main shopping street which is lined with colourful buildings

 

 

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