The Ligurian Riviera is mainly known for Cinque Terre National Park. But there are some places you may want to visit and Porto Venere is surely the one you would not expect to find. Many believe it is the most beautiful village in Italy.
Porto Venere is located 11 km far from La Spezia and together with the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto it represents one of the Gulf extremities. Since 1977, it has been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, alongside Cinque Terre.
It takes its name from Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. There was a temple dedicated to her right at the end of the promontory upon which the Church of S.Pietro (Saint Peter) stands nowadays.
Its origins date back to 1 century b.C. It has been under the control of Byzantines and partially destroyed by Longobards around 643. In the next centuries, it has been used as a naval base by the Maritime Republic of Genoa, but also France and Sardinia.
During the Romantic age, Porto Venere began to attract a sort of literary tourism and during the years a lot of poets started to come there to spend some time in contact with nature. One of the main figures connected to the village is Lord G. Byron.
One of the peculiarities of Porto Venere is its structure but also the group of islands in front of it. Arriving in the village you will be able to observe the majesty of Palmaria island on one side and the fabulous façade of colorful houses on the other. The second island is named Tino and together with Tinetto have been monasteries during the past centuries.
The Village and Its Attractions
Despite its size, Porto Venere offers some peculiar sights you need to see. First of all the Church of Saint Peter, at the end of the village. It stands on the cliff in all its greatness and from its terrace, you will be able to admire the Cinque Terre coastline and the open sea.
Above the village, there is also the Doria Castle built around 1139 by the Republic of Genoa. It was used as a defensive outpost against attacks from the sea.
Porto Venere offers different kinds of beaches where you can enjoy the sea. On Palmaria Island you will also find a sand beach! Not so typical in this part of Italy.