Portovenere Travel Summary

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.


The Portovenere Travel Summary is segmented into 2 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Portovenere:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. What to See

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

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

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.

San Pietro Church, 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.


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”.


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.

2. What to See:

Castello Doria:

AllThingsTravel 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:

AllThingsTravel 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


San Pietro Church:

AllThingsTravel 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, Portovenere

Explore the medieval streets:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • 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


3. Photo Gallery

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Castello Doria v3 San Pietro Church, Portovenere P18 P17 P16 P15 P14 P13 P12 P11 P10 P9 P8 P5 P4 P2

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#Travel inspiration, destination #photography & expert travel advice

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