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What to do in Porto Venere in Liguria?

On one of the most beautiful coasts in Italy is the beautiful city of Porto Venere.

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What to do in Porto Venere in Liguria?

Porto Venere is a city located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria. With its nearly 3,600 inhabitants, the city is a beautiful blend of culture, sea and history. Porto Venere: a Ligurian gem and not to be missed. Let’s get to our post of the day! What to do in Porto Venere in Liguria? Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”

Shall we get to know Porto Venere in Liguria?

(Source: Kelley Ferro)

A little about Porto Venere

Porto Venere, located at the end of the Golfo dei Poeti, is a fishing village that will enchant you with its colours, location and architecture. It is called Golfo dei Poeti (Gulf of Poets, in free translation), because over the centuries several artists, including Montale, Wagner and Lord Byron, have chosen it as their destination for their stays, dazzled by its beauty and inspired by its scenery. Fifteen kilometers from the city of La Spezia, this romantic coastal village of breathtaking beauty is located. It has always been frequented by thousands of foreign tourists, Italians and many VIP characters. If you are in Florence, be sure to take a tour to Cinque Terre from Florence!

Why should Porto Venere be visited?

The village is nothing more than a colorful village with a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. Famous is its marina, surrounded by the infinite range of colors of the houses, steep steps and narrow alleys. What is the main reason why Porto Venere should be visited? Because it is a small city, but rich in many aspects, for its incredible beauty of the old part of the city and its fortress overlooking the gulf; its residents are incredible and the restaurants on the beach are ideal for relaxing and enjoying a vacation with Mediterranean aromas and flavors. These are just some of the reasons we will see in this text.

1) What to do in Porto Venere in Liguria? VISIT THE CHURCH OF ST PETER AND THE ARPAIA CAVE

There are several places of worship that can be visited in the village, firstly the Church of St Peter, a real jewel of Porto Venere. Suspended, overlooking the sea almost like a fortress, Church of St. Peter, with its towers and ancient walls, was built in 1198. Inside it, you can see the Gothic style with polychrome marble and vaulted arches, which are truly spectacular. Under the church of St Peter is the Arpaia Cave, one of the most beautiful natural monuments in the Gulf of Poets and which can be visited for free by descending the steps behind the church. It is called Byron’s cave, in memory of the poet’s long moments spent contemplating the sea and this extraordinary place.


If you are looking for silence and inner peace this is the ideal place, where you can let your thoughts flow along with the sea. Another important religious building is the church of the Sanctuary of Madonna Branca located between the castle and the church of St Peter. The church was built in the 10th century in Romanesque style and polychrome marble. Many interiors date from the original construction period. Walking through the walls of the historic center of Porto Venere you reach the highest point, where you find Porto Venere’s jewel, the Doria Castle, a magnificent fortress that sits on a rocky hill overlooking the sea.

Doria Castle

Built by the Genoese around 1500, it remains today one of the most majestic military fortresses in the Republic of Genoa. The Castle can be visited (children up to the age of six can enter for free) and entry hours vary according to the season.

The Warning Towers and the Palazzata

Between the church of St Peter and the Doria Castle, the remains of two cylindrical buildings were preserved. They are the remains of warning towers, once used as windmills. So they were built along the coast to see the enemy’s attack in advance. You can’t help but be enchanted along the Palazzata, a succession of pastel-coloured façades facing the sea. A group of old houses built by the sea. At first glance, it looks like nothing special, but these houses are very special.

3) What to do in Porto Venere in Liguria? VISIT THE HISTORICAL CENTER

Behind each of them there is a stone, and it looks like they are set in the rock and suspended above the sea. A visit to its Historic Center requires a visit to its most characteristic street, Via del Prione, which already in the 17th century had dozens of shops, bakeries and warehouses. A long and lively ‘labyrinth’ that winds through the heart of the city between shops, clubs and museums. This tour in Porto Venere must absolutely include a visit to Sant’Agostino Square, with its interesting Baroque buildings and the palace inhabited by the Countess of Castiglione.

Porto Venere Attractions Map

Shall we get to know Porto Venere in Liguria?
Source: Google Maps

Curiosity: the birth of the Goddess of Love

Few people know, but – they say – that here was born the model that inspired Botticelli to make his masterpiece: the Birth of Venus. In Porto Venere (Venere is Venus in Italian), in the village of Fezzano, Simonetta Vespucci was born, the model Sandro Botticelli was inspired to paint his famous work, The Birth of Venus: she was in fact considered by her contemporaries to be the most beautiful woman in the area, and lived until the mid-fifteenth century.


The visit to Porto Venere can end with a dinner with a maritime flavor, an octopus salad and a fish lasagna, or an appetizer based on seafood and a risotto, always very fresh, all strictly accompanied by a white wine from Levante of Liguria perhaps from the neighboring Gulf of Tigullio.

Restaurant Tip

Portivene – A perfect mix of home cooking presented in a gourmet way. The service is great and prices are very fair!

How to get to Porto Venere?

Porto Venere can be reached by car, bus or ferry from La Spezia. If you travel by train you have to go to La Spezia and from there take a bus or ferry that will take you to your destination. By boat it takes 40 minutes leaving from the Bay of La Spezia; by bus, also departing from La Spezia, take line 11 P; it takes half an hour to reach Porto Venere.

1) How to get to Porto Venere? BY AIRPLANE

For those traveling by plane, the advice is to land at the nearby airports: at Genoa and Pisa, and from there take a train to La Spezia.

Also read our posts about Airports in Italy:

2) How to get to Porto Venere? BY TRAIN

Porto Venere doesn’t have a train station, so if you’re traveling by train, you’ll need to change trains a few times. First you need to get to La Spezia station, and from there you have two possibilities: take the 11/P bus, which will take you to Porto Venere in about 30 minutes, or board one of the ferries that connect the main cities of the Cinque Earth. Also find out “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.

3) How to get to Porto Venere? BY BOAT

It is also possible with Maritime Transport, with the following companies:

Consorzio Marittimo Turistico 5Terre – Golfo Dei Poeti
  • De/Per: La Spezia, Lerici, Cinque Terre, Isola Palmaria, Portofino
  • Address: Via Olivo, Porto Venere – passeggiata Morin, La Spezia – Tel. 0187.732987 – 0187.777727]
  • Official Website: www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it
Consorzio Barcaioli Porto Venere Service Public transport – Molo Doria
  • Da/Per: Isola Palmaria, Cinque Terre
  • Tel: 347.8024817
  • Official Website: www.barcaioliportovenere.com

4) How to get to Porto Venere? BY CAR

You can easily reach Porto Venere by car via the A12 Genova/Livorno highway or the A15 La Spezia/Parma highway. From the exit of La Spezia, in just fifteen minutes, you reach the city via the provincial road to Porto Venere.

Traveling by car in Italy

How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.

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Porto Venere in Liguria? Porto Venere is definitely a dream place. Visiting it means discovering one of the most beautiful corners of Liguria. Not surprisingly, according to legend, she was chosen for the stop Venus made on these windy rocks (Venere is Venus in Italian) because she was fascinated by the lush vegetation, the clear sea, the perfect climate and the breathtaking scenery.

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