Portovenere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the far end of the peninsula that extends south from the Cinque Terre at the western border of the Gulfo de Poëti. Its harbor is lined with brightly colored houses and narrow medieval streets lead up the hill to a castle. The main street of Portovenere, lined with shops, is entered through Portovenere's ancient city gate.
The main attraction however, is a picturesque church on the promontory, once the site of a temple to Venus (Venere in Italian) from which Portovenere gets its name. It is a favourite location for weddings and reminds us of the 'The name of the rose' by Umberto Eco.
The Chiesa di San Pietro dates from the 13th and was built on the fundaments of an older temple dedicated to Venus. The façade has horizontal white and black stripes. The church has to parts : a Roman and a gothic part. From the peninsula, you have a great view on the island Palmaria and the coast north of Portovenere. With a bit of luck, you can witness one of the many marriage celebrations that are held in the church.
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo dates from the 12th century and has a beautiful portal.
The Citadel was built in the 16th century to defend the city of La Spezia from attacks from the sea. It is open for visitors.
The boat service to the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre starts from Portovenere. Facing the village lie a few smaller islands (Palmaria, Tino en Tinetto) that can also be reached by boat.
The restaurant Portivene 1 – Un Mare di Sapore is located in the main street of Portovenere. You can eat a typical ligurian dish, based on local ingredients.
On Tripadvisor, Portivene 1 is ranked as the N°1 restaurant in Portovenere. Reserve your table by phone, if you want to be sur!
Address : Via Capellini 94/98, Portovenere
Reservations : +39 0187 792722
Open from 12.00 to 15.30 h and from 19.00 to 22.00 h
Closed on monday in the low season(before mid-June and after mid-September)
If you stay for a day in Portovenere, you can make a boat trip around the islands Palmaria and Tino, where you will discover that there is actually a third island (Tinetto)
During this trip, you will get the most beautiful view on Portovenere, you see the 'mussel-gardens' from close by, go along the military installations (going back to Napoleon and World War II), you see the ancient marble groves and you discover there's even a third island, called Tinetto. On your way back, you will see that even the rocks show the typical pattern of Ligurian architecture, with their alternate white and gray stripes.
Campiglia is a tiny village on the Sentiero N°1. It takes about two hours to reach Campiglia, either from Portovenere or Riomaggiore. It is not an easy walk but the views compensate the effort required. An lighter alternative is to start from the Colle del Telegrafo. (see elsewhere in our e-book for a description of these walks)
You can also reach Campiglia by car (take the exit on the road from La Spezia to Portovenere. Take care, the road is very narrow) or even by bus. (linea 20 from La Spezia). The bus is an interesting option if you do not want to make the full walk between Portovenere and Riomaggiore. On Sundays and public holidays (festivo) the number of busses is limited however (bus schedule is in our e-book).
If you go for a walk on the Sentiero N° 1 from Portovenere, be sure to plan a stop at the Piccoloblu in Campiglia. You can enjoy the ingredients of the typical Italian kitchen with focaccia, anchovy, pasta al forno and daily fresh cakes and pastry.
If you take the car to go to Campiglia, go there in the evening. The sunsets are really spectacular !
It is a privately owned apartment in the centre of Portovenere, at 200 metres of the main street. The vacation apartment consists of a double bedroom, a living and dining room with fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom and a balcony with comfortable seating and sun awning.
It is about 55 m2 and family-friendly, so it can host a couple very comfortably, but also families with children or young people can be accommodated without problems thanks to the sofa bed in the living room (for 2 persons).
There is also an underground parking place available.
To help you prepare your trip, you can
order our travel guide, maps and a brochure.