December 18, 2009 / Places
Portovenere, Liguria
portovenere1There are places in Italy that are simply magic. Portovenere is certainly one of these.

The colorful facades of the tall, thin houses, known as terratetti (earth to roofs), date as far back as the 11th century and are connected in a wall-like formation, once used as protection against attacks by the Pisans and pirates. Its waterfront promenade leads you either up into the carruggi (alley-like passageways) of the internal village where you will find an array of charming shops, homes, and gardens or to the tip of the peninsula where commandingly stands the church of San Pietro.portovenere2

This 13th-century Gothic masterpiece, built on the site of a Roman temple, juts out to the sea atop a mass of jagged rocks. Its black-and-white-stripe exterior make it a recognizable landmark from far out at sea, and panoramic views of the Cinque Terre, Gulf of Poets and open Mediterranean are unforgettable.

Portovenere…one of the gems of Liguria and not to be missed.


-Contributed by Megan McCaffrey, Italian trip planner and Italian Riviera expert who blogs over at Bella Vita in Liguria.

7 Responses to “Portovenere”

  1. Definitely not one to be missed and we did not miss it last year on our fabulous holiday to Liguria… we had a coffee on the front, sitting near the sea. then walked to the other side and up to the castle..and then down again to a park…loved it.

  2. Love this!!! I was just thinking I should forward this to Megan at Bella Vita Italia and then I scroll to the bottom and she is the author! We must get to Liguria our next time in Italy. Grazie mille for a beautiful note! Valorie from Colorado

  3. Stanley Crabb

    All of this is so lovely, and I would not want to spoil it for anyone. But my memory about this region of Italy with its gorgeous shore-line and tiny villages that spill into the Sea is that of “Il Bracco.” With my family, we drove the Bracco with another car of Italian friends, going south to La Spezia. If you click on the “Satelite” view, click out to about half-way on the enlargement scale and you can make our a lightish curvey line (of sorts) across the mountain range from above Genova to Spezia. If I’m not mistaken, that road was named “Il Bracco,” supposedly for a mountian or range of same. Anyway, it was undoubtedly the most trecherous road I had/have ever driven on. A thousand curves, heights reaching hundreds of meters and then down — up and down and around — so much that I, the driver of our 600 got car sick! I never do that. But, the road was famous especially among truck drivers, precisely because “that’s the way it was.” Does anyone else who reads these lines remember that road? It was vacation time. I think it took at least three hours to go about 70 kms. or so. Prof. Guerrino Rossi, the driver of the other car, along with his family — all were going camping — had warned me about this road, but it exceeded his warnings. WOW. Never again…but it was the state N-S road at that time (1960s).

  4. Donna Benedetti Trupiano

    Love Portovenere very much; have visited many times as cousins of my dad live nearby. I love all of Liguria and all of the hill towns.

  5. Ho la fortuna di visitarla ogni anno.Bella,colorata,piena di vita.Piu’ la visito, piu la voglio visitare.Immense sono le sue bellezze e non per niente il nome “Golfo dei Poeti”per la Liguria.

  6. Gian Banchero

    This village is NOT to be missed… Dining at the waterside restaurants is what everyone hopes Italy to be with the good seafood, music, very brilliant sunshine, architecture, balmy air, etc., etc.

  7. Liz Chessor

    I have included Portovenere on our itinerary for September this year and from what I read we will certainly not be disappointed. It has been 30 years since I last travelled to Italy. We are flying into Rome, on to Florence and then Portovenere and through to Venice. I appreciate that it is a much worn tourist route but with only 5 weeks leave we have to limit ourselves. Any thoughts would be much valued.


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