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Portovenere - panorama

Located at the south end of a peninsula stretching from the La Spezia coast is Portovenere, an ancient fishing village with a charming beauty. Its commune of the same name also includes the nearby villages Fezzano and Le Grazie as well as the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.

The first settlements date back from the 1st century, the village’s name supposedly a reference to the goddess Venus. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Portovenere was taken over by the Byzantine as a dock for their fleet, later destroyed by the Lombards and then targeted by Saracen raiders. During the middle ages, the city rebuilt and expanded, adding fortifications and towers. Unfortunately much of the old town was destroyed during the Genoa war during the later 15th century. The old part of town was abandoned and a new one was built beside it, growing from around the Church of San Pietro; the division between the two sides is still visible today.

Points of interest

Among the sights offered by Portovenere is Santuario della Madonna Bianca, a 2nd century Romanesque church built by the Genovese. In the historic centre is the city gate guarded by a tower, the fortified wall climbing all the way up to Castello Doria above the city. Castello Doria is the largest and most impressive castle in the commune, built some time in the 2nd century by the Genovese to protect the area from attacks.