The maritime village "Veneris Portus" founded by the Romans, is situated in the Eastern part of the "Poets' Gulf". Its favorable strategic position, ideal for controlling the maritime trade of the Gulf of La Spezia, attracted Genoa's interest for the antique portal village.
Portovenere owes its growth to Genoa's domination which started in 1113 with a heavy battle between citizens of Genoa and the ones of Pisa, who had enlarged their domain to Lerici.
For centuries it has been the point of penetration for Genoa in the eastern part of the coast. The village is dominated by the castle, and on its opposite you will see the island Palmaria, where you can find on a rock the rests of the tower Scola, constructed by the citizens of Genoa in 1606.
The quay is bordered by a terrace of tower-houses with up to seven floors with colored fronts. Leaving a door with towers behind, you will arrive in Via Capellini, main axes of the medieval village, which runs along the coast, and which is flanked by antique houses often decorated with original architectonic elements: roof-gardens, doors in slate or in marble, fine door decorations.
In the course of the years the village has lost its original maritime and military vocation. Nowadays it is a developed and beloved tourist center.
In summer because of the big number of tourists there are big parking problems.
- Church of San Pietro: - The church was constructed on the promontory Arpaia on the rests of a heathen temple between the 4th and the 5th century.
The church contains different styles of various époques.
From a terrace in front of the church you will have a fantastic view on the sea.
Going towards the center you will see on your left some stairs which will lead you to the Cave Arpaia (also called Cave of Byron)
- S. Lorenzo - A bit further you can go up to a wide square in front of the Roman collegiate church of S. Lorenzo.
The church dates back to the beginning of the 12th century, but in the course of the years parts are destroyed and restructured in the style of the respective époque. In fact, the church represents a mix of Roman forms, Gothic and Renaissance elements.
- Castle From - the church's square you can go upstairs to the Castle constructed by the citizens of Genoa in the 7th century in an elevated position in order to control the coast and the village.
In 1453 it gets destroyed, and after that reconstructed.
The actual construction consists of two parts of different époques.
- To the islands of the surroundings - your stay in Portovenere can be completed with an excursion to the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, which represent an extension of the sea in the western part of the Gulf.
Once they were important prehistoric and monastic settlements; nowadays they are deserted.
- To Riomaggiore - path N. 1