Last Updated on May 6, 2021 by Helga Dosa
In the Mediterranean heart of Liguria, this is the sunny northern Riviera. Filled with charming towns and beaches. Let’s see one of the most amazing places on the Italian riviera, Portovenere, Italy.
The Italian Riviera that stretches between Portovenere and Cinque Terre is a beautiful landscape. It is known worldwide for its cultural and natural heritage. After all, they are part of the world heritage sites by UNESCO.
Discovering Portovenere, Italy
Portovenere is a popular Italian Riviera town in the province of La Spezia. The municipality consists of three small villages and three islands. The villages and the islands joined the UNESCO list in 1979.
History of Portovenere
In ancient times, Portovenere was known as Portus Veneris, perhaps all the way back to the 1st century BC. Rumor has it the name of the town comes from a temple that was once dedicated to Venus. While the temple doesn’t exist anymore, its site does. And it’s where the church of Peter the Apostle is today.
This town of the Cinque Terre was born as a fishing village. After the fall of the Roman empire, Portovenere became the main base for the fleet of the Byzantines. But the Lombards destroyed it in 643.
The town’s castle dates back to 1131. It became the residence of the family of Vezzano. In the 12th century, it was passed on to Genoa. Portovenere suffered devastation due to bombings from the Aragonese fleet.
That’s the new district began developing around the church of Saint Peter. It’s definitely something you should see in Portovenere, Italy.
Main Sights in Portovenere, Italy
The gothic church of Saint Peter is the most important building in the town. The church dates back the 5th century. The consecration happened in 1198.
On the other hand, the church of Saint Lawrence was built in 1098. It features a Romanesque style. Once, there was a temple to Jupiter. A fire in the 14th century destroyed it. One year later, the Aragonese did the destroying.
Other important sites
More sites in Portovenere include the Doria Castle and the Grotta dell’Arpaia. The Grotta, also known as Byron’s Grotto, has now collapsed. The beautiful nucleus of Le Grazie was built in the 14th century. Other noteworthy monuments include the remains of a Roman Villa from the 1st century BC.
Cinque Terre, explained
Cinque Terre means Five Lands and it includes the Italian Riviera villages of Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare and Riomaggiore. Along with them, the coastline and the surrounding hills are part of a National Park. UNESCO has included all of these destinations in its list.
The Cinque Terre is a destination of natural beauty. There is no modern development in the region, which is what makes it so special.
Though it is quite a popular holiday destination, cars cannot reach the region from outside. There are boats, roads, and trails that connect all the villages. The best is to plan a Cinque Terre itinerary by traveling through all the villages.
More destinations in the Cinque Terre
Done with Portovenere? Time to discover more places in the riviera.
Palmaria is a small island, also a UNESCO world heritage site. The island is just 1.6 sq km and is the largest one in the archipelago close to Portovenere.
Tino is another island on the list of world heritage sites. Saint Venerius, the patron Saint of the Gulf, lived on the island, first as a hermit. And until hid death in 630. Today the island is part of a military zone.
Tinetto is the third island in the archipelago. Along with the other two islands situated very close to each other, Tinetto is located south of the Italian Riviera town of Portovenere.
This would be our quick overview about Cinque Terre and Portovenere, Italy. The area is stunning, and everyone who’s visiting it once, is falling in love with it straight away!