Portovenere is on the Ligurian Coast between La Spezia and the Cinque Terre. It sits very prettily at the base of the steep slopes of Muzzerone, a rocky mountain covered with olive and pine trees. The town is watched over by the tower of the old citadel.
Restaurants and shops gather along the waterfront and offer magnificent views over the blue sea.
There is a cute little shopping street on an upper level which winds its way through the village. Here you can buy the fabulous pesto the area is famous for in several shops, including a pesto specialist.
At the end of the street another spectacular view awaits…St Peter's church, built in 1256. Nearby you can see the spot where Byron dived into the sea and swam across the bay of La Spezia, no doubt trying to impress his friends.
On one visit we had lunch at Le Bocche, on the edge of the sea below the church. The setting is perfect and the fresh seafood is excellent. I would go back just for the anchovies.
After lunch a climb to the old castle is in order. You will pass the church of St Lawrence, consecrated by Pope Innocenzo II in 1130.
The views from the top are breathtaking. On a good day it is difficult to imagine a more beautiful place than Portovenere. When you visit say hello to the lady looking forlornly out to sea…waiting for her ship to come in.
— Debra Kolkka
Debra Kolkka writes two blogs, Bagni di Lucca and Beyond and Bella Bagni di Lucca. With a background in fashion, this Australian splits her life between her home country and her beloved Italy, enjoying the best of both worlds. You can find Debra on her blogs.
Concierge tip: why not consider combining the best of land and sea during your next trip to Italy?