Portovenere (Liguria): what to see


What to see in Portovenere, one-day itinerary including the main places of interest, including the village with the Church on the Sea and the nearby islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.

Tourist information

This ancient Ligurian village is located on the southern end of the peninsula which represents the western shore of the Gulf of La Spezia.

At the end of this peninsula there are three islands within the Portovenere park, namely Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.

The Regional Natural Park of Porto Venere is a natural park in the province of La Spezia, in Liguria, which concerns the historic center of Porto Venere, the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto and the coastal strip that develops from the village of Porto Venere to the Albana Valley, including the stretch of sea that extends from the Porto Venere canal, along the south-western coast of the Palmaria island and the sea that surrounds the islands of Tino and Tinetto.

This area, together with the Cinque Terre natural park, is part of the World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO.

Portovenere is a colorful village of houses, built in the first half of the twelfth century by the Genoese.

The construction of the first Castle, of the Church of San Lorenzo and of the new village dates back to this period, together with the walls that starting from the Church of San Pietro enclosed the old and new villages.

In the fifteenth century the old village, which was located in the space now occupied by Piazzale Spallanzani, was destroyed.

What see

On the rocky promontory you can admire the Church on the sea dedicated to San Pietro, built between 1256 and 1277, as a sign of thanks for the victory over the Pisans, on the ruins of a paleo-Christian parish church, in turn built on a pagan temple dedicated to Venus, from which the village takes its name.

From this charming village you can easily reach the island of Palmaria, whose historical events are linked to it.

The island offers the opportunity to walk paths immersed in the variety of the Mediterranean scrub on its eastern side, while the western side is characterized by cliffs overlooking the sea.

Recommended readings
  • San Remo (Liguria): what to see
  • Liguria: Sunday day trips
  • Gallinara (Liguria): what to see on the island
  • Noli (Liguria): what to see
  • La Spezia (Liguria): what to see

A network of paths lead to the top of the island from where you can admire an extraordinary panorama.

On the island there is the precious black marble with yellow veins, whose extractions have been abandoned, as well as numerous caves and karst cavities.

The Grotta dei Colombi is the most famous, it is located on a sheer wall at about 30 meters above sea level, already frequented in prehistoric times.

The Blue Grotto is also very beautiful and can be visited with a small boat.

The name Palmaria probably originates from the term Balma, which means cave.

The Tino and Tinetto islands are under the jurisdiction of the Navy therefore they are not always accessible.

On the island of Tino, characterized by high white rock walls overlooking the sea and a rich vegetation, there are the remains of the 11th century Abbey of San Venerio, abandoned by the monks in the 15th century, due to the frequent incursions of the Saracens.

The island of Tinetto is separated from the island of Tino by some semi-submerged rocks, it is almost devoid of vegetation, except for some Mediterranean shrubs. Also on this island there are the ruins of ancient monastic settlements.

Portovenere | Italy Travel Diary (November 2023)

Tags: Liguria