In this short guide you will discover the magical village of Portovenere, a small jewel set in the Ligurian Riviera, at the south of the Cinque Terre. In fact, together with the village of Lerici it represents one of the points of the Gulf of Poets, a gulf that has been included into the UNESCO World Heritage Book. For this reason, especially thanks to the wonders that compose it, it is necessary to visit Portovenere on foot in order to enjoy all its beauty and facets. You can find some ideas to live your holiday without missing anything.

The village of Portovenere seems to date back to 150 AD when Claudio Tolomeo defined it as one of the ports of Sestri Levante. Here, in ancient times, there was a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus who, according to the  legend, was born from sea foam. For this reason, today, the village has assumed the proper name of Portovenere.
Like almost all the villages of the Ligurian coast, also Portovenere suffered numerous dominations and looting by pirates. Among the most famous, we remember the one of the Normans and especially, the one of Napoleon Bonaparte. Finally in 1861 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Since 1998, Portovenere has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site and since 2001 it has been the seat of the Provincial National Park.

If these places fascinate you, you can visit Portovenere with one of our tours in Liguria

Trekking stanziale in Liguria

A spasso per la Liguria: trekking Cinque Terre e Portofino

What to see in Portovenere

Walking through Portovenere and its wonderful village, you will realize that it is rich in beauties and works that are absolutely worth visiting.
Why not decide to spend a carefree day to discover the beauties of this fascinating village in Liguria?
If you want to spend a day in Portovenere, we have prepared a list of things to see and visit in peace:

  • Parish Church of San Lorenzo
  • Church of San Pietro
  • Castello Doria
  • Capitol Tower and the gate

And now let's set off together to discover the most identifying places in Portovenere!

Parish Church of San Lorenzo

Built in 1098 in Romanesque style and then completely renovated in around 1350 and in 1582. For this reason, admiring the church, you can notice all the different styles that compose it. Simply looking at the facade you can notice a Romanesque pediment flanked by a facade with black and white horizontal lines, typical of Genoese architecture. Furthermore, inside the church it is possible to admire numerous works of art.

Church of San Pietro

Starting from Portovenere on foot, you can easily reach the Church of San Pietro, located in Calata Doria. Already built in the 5th century, where there was an early Christian church, it was taken over by the Christian church in 1118 by Pope Gelasius II. Unfortunately in 1492 the church was seriously damaged by a fire and numerous attacks by the Aragonese. The church was restored in 1934.

Castello Doria

Continuing to Walk to Portofino, a few meters from the Church of San Pietro, is the Castello Doria. The castle is located on a fortress which immediately assumed the role of military protection of the city. Probably built in the 11th  century, it was then totally modernized between the 15th and 16th century. Today the castle is owned by the municipality of Portovenere and is used for the exhibition of numerous art exhibitions.

Capitol Tower and the gate

Moving to Portovenere on foot, you can easily reach the Capitol Tower and the gate of the historic center of Porto Venere. These originally indicated the perimeter of the city center and were in fact flanked by the walls. The Capitol tower was built in 1161 in exposed limestone with the aim of being the first protection of the village. Today you can still see it perfectly preserved while overlooking the center of the village.

What to do in Portovenere - the Slow Active Tours proposal

Once you have discovered the wonders hidden among the streets of Agrigento, the time has come to get to the heart of the sounds and smells of this ancient village. 

  • Byron Cave

    Easily accessible by walking beyond the castle of Portovenere, the cave is named after a famous English writer who often spent his days here looking for the best inspiration for his works. The cave is particularly suggestive for its natural beauty created by smooth and pointed magmatic rocks. A breathtaking show that attracts numerous divers  and explorers every year.

  • Visit by boat

    If, instead, you want to move a bit from Portovenere, absolutely recommended is the visit by boat to the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. A small tour that will allow you to best admire the nature and the spectacle of these three islands that are part of the world heritage sites. In addition, on these lands there is the possibility of making small trekking routes to better appreciate the surrounding nature.

  • Cinque Terre walking holiday

    If you want to spend a more engaging holiday, you can't miss the wonderful trekking routes of Portovenere.
    In the shadow of the characteristic and picturesque houses of Portovenere, an incredible journey on foot begins that we at Slow Active Tours propose to discover the wonderful and exciting views that the Ligurian Riviera offers.

Festivals and Popular celebrations in Portovenere

The only real way to enjoy this wonderful village is to walk through Portovenere and live all its many festivals and patron celebrations.
The biggest and most important festival of Portovenere is the Madonna bianca Festival. It takes place every year on the 17 of August and on the occasion of this holiday you can admire a wonderful procession of Roman torches that accompany a figure of the Madonna throughout the village.
The festival of Basil and surroundings takes place every year during the last days of August. On this occasion numerous stands are exhibited in the square that display different aromatic herbs. These will then be used in the kitchen, but also with healing purposes and for creating a magical and fragrant atmosphere.
Still in the month of August, the theater festival Teatro Donna takes place. On this occasion, every year, awards are given related to theater and music "From women to women". On this occasion, in fact, a jury of only women chooses a woman winner for each category of the show to create a sort of "sisterhood" among all the women present.
Finally, on the island of Tino the feast of Saint Venerius is celebrated every year on 13 September. During this day and on the following Sunday the island, which is generally closed, opens to the public some areas allowing the visit. An extraordinary opportunity to do some trekking on a wonderful and uncontaminated island.

Typical dishes of Portovenere

The typical dish of this village are the mussels of Portovenere. This is a particular variety of mussels that has settled in these areas. Walking through Portovenere, in fact, you can see them every day on all the tables of restaurants and houses.
In addition, it is absolutely recommended to taste octopus dishes that are often served as carpaccio and all the delicious dishes of the Ligurian tradition, including dishes based on pesto and legumes.

Eating and Drinking in Portovenere

Here are some suggestions from the area:

Ristorante Portivene in Via Giovanni Capellini, 94/98. Located in the main carrugio of Portovenere, the restaurant Portivene offers an exquisite menu of fish characterized by the freshness of products and attention to detail. All tastefully accompanied by an excellent wine list.
Palmaria Restaurant in Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 5.Great food and well presented, to be tasted along with the wonderful view of Portovenere which you can enjoy from the terrace of the restaurant. All enriched by an excellent wine list and impeccable service.

So what are you waiting for? Get your stuff ready and off you go!