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Harbor, Portovenere, Liguria
by Jesse Andrews

Sea cliffs near, Portovenere, Liguria
by Jesse Andrews

From the ferry, Portovenere, Liguria
by Jesse Andrews

Welcome to Portovenere
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population:  4,041 (2004)
Official site:

Portovenere is not in the Cinque Terre national park despite its short distance from Riomaggiore. It is however, one of the most interesting places on the Riviera di Levante to visit, as its history as a fortress town and spawning ground of literary ideas (for Lord Byron and Shelley Keats among others), make it one of the more interesting places on the Italian Riviera to visit and will complete any visit to the Cinque Terre.

The town's small colourful houses, some dating from the 12th century, were once all connected to the citadel at the centre of the town, so tha t in times of attack the villageers could reach the safety of the battlements. 

The town commands a strategic position at the end of a peninsula that extends southeast from the Cinque Terre and forms the western border of the Gulf of Laspezia.

Lord Byron (1788-1824) is said to have written Childe Harold's Pilgrimage in Portovenere.  Near the entrance to the huge, strange Grotto Arpaia, at the base of the sea-swept cliff, is a plaque recounting the poet's strength and courage as he swam across the gulf to the village of San Terenzo, near Lerici, to visit his friend Shelley (1792-1822); the feat is commemorated as well by the name of the stretch of water, Golfo dei Poeti (Poet's Gulf). 

San Pietro, a 13th-century Gothic Church is built on the site of of an ancient pagan shrine, on a formidable solid mass of rock above the Grotto Arpaia.  With its black-and-white stripe exterior, its a landmark recognizable from far out at sea.  It's open daily from 7AM to 6PM. 

Liguria - Cinque Terre



From the Cinque Terre, you can only arrive at Portovenere by Ferry or the steep mountain trail which connects Portovenere to Riomaggiore on the "Colle del Telegrafo."  If either of these routes don't appeal to you, take the train to La Spezia and then take the connecting bus, a short walk away.  It's a 20 minute ride and takes you right to the centre of the town. 


Royal Sporting Hotel


Archway view, Portovenere, Liguria
by Jesse Andrews


Enjoy our Cinque Terre Walking Tours

Take a boat excursion along the
coast of the Cinque Terre