Portovenere, Lerici and The Poet’s Gulf / ITALY

Ready to explore Italy! I hope you’re πŸ˜‰

Let’s go to Italy folks πŸ˜€


Today’s guest is Simone from Italy. Before we start our ride, I want to introduce him to my readers around the world!


My name is Simone, I have a wife and two kids. I travel a lot, I like it and I like Italy. And I wanna share it with you. Follow me on LovinItaly.

Simone’s work you can follow on social media:


After we found out who is Simone, let’s take that ride together!



Liguria is located in northern Italy.

You can arrive at the Genoa Airport, from there by train to La Spezia or Portovenere or Lerici.

Best time to visit is summer.




  • Church of St. Peter
  • Church of San Lorenzo
  • Arpaya’s Cave
  • Doria’s Castle


  • Lerici’s Castle
  • Chapel of Saint Anastasia
  • Church of St. Giorgio


Hello everyone, my name is Simone, an Italian traveler and blogger, owner of LovinItaly.com. If I had to choose which place in Italy is my favorite I’ll probably talk to you about the La Spezia’s Gulf, where I lived for ten years.

My heart is still there.

You know what? I’ll talk about it!

It is among the most spectacular amphitheaters of water of the Italian peninsula. The suburb of Portovenere and Lerici are respectively the western and oriental extremity of it, while La Spezia occupies the central part.

Known as the Gulf of the Poets, for the fact that during the centuries various artists, among which Montale, Wagner and Lord Byron, chose it as their destination, lightened by its exciting beauty and inspired by its scenarios, the gulf is always a perfect destination for one weekend in any season of the year.

In winter as in summer, the crayon shades of the suburbs and the blue of the sea together with the innumerable colors of the hills and the valleys that frame this fragment of the coast.




Portovenere, one of the pearls of Liguria, is the first destination of the weekend. It is exciting to come from the sea, see the enormous rocky cliffs that lean in the underlying waters, overcoming then the peninsula with, at its extremity, the Romanesque Church of St. Peter.

So call, according to the legend, for the stop that Venus did on these windy rock-cliffs because fascinated by the luxuriant vegetation, from the clear sea.

A seafood dinner, with a salad of octopus and a lasagna of fish or a crab appetizer, everything rigorously accompanied by a local wine.



la spezia

Portovenere and its architectural treasures are the protagonists of the first forenoon on the shores of the Gulf of the Poets. After a rich breakfast, even with some typical Ligurian cakes, like the “Canestrelli”, I enjoyed one of the most beautiful walks of the East coast.

A parade of crayon facades looking the sea, a very long colored wall that seems to change and slowly disclose new details along the path that brings to the rocky open space dominated by the church of St. Pietro, built-in 1277 on the extremity of the promontory, in a Genovese Gothic style, that proposes, among its dark aisles, a particularly suggestive atmosphere.

Also to see is the cave of the Arpaya, accessible through a steep stairway that goes down among the rocks, said also of Byron in memory of the achievement that saw protagonist the poet, that from here reached Lerici swimming.

Another stairway will bring you instead to the ancient Church of St. Lorenzo, dating back to the XII century, located in a dominant position on the inhabited area (to the left), inside which is guarded, in a chapel, the presumed miraculous picture of the Virgen Mary, denominated the White Madonna Bianca due to the light of its skin.

Even more high, there is Doria’s Castle, built between the XV and the XVI century, situated in a dominant position over the village and the narrow arm of sea that separates it from the neighbor and woody island of Palmaria, the greatest of the three islands of the archipelago (the other two are Tino and Tinetto).

Afternoon at La Spezia, second city of the region for inhabitants and heart of this gulf that Napoleone wanted to turn it into a strengthened base as protection of a great military arsenal, thanks to its natural shelter is between the greatest harbors of the Mediterranean and center of one of the greatest military arsenals of the Marina Militare.

A visit to its historical center imposes a walk in its characteristic road, the street of the Prione that already in the XVII century counted about ten shops, ovens, and stores. A long and animated street that twists in the heart of the city among shops, locals, and museums.

Don’t forget to visit Sant’Agostino square, with its interesting baroque buildings where lived the Countess of Castiglione and the Gothic-Renaissance church of Saint Maria Assunta, where three authentic masterpieces are hosted, “The crowning of the Virgen” of Andrea della Robbia, a ‘400 ligneous crucifix and “The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew” of Luca Cambiaso.




The day in Lerici started in the great Garibaldi square, once the center of a flourishing shipbuilding activity that remembers us the important role of commercial harbor developed from the town since the medieval, to benefit important centers such as Pisa, Lucca, and Genova.

From here we can immediately admire the imposing structure of the Castle of Lerici at the edge of the cliff, built by Pisa’s citizens in the XIII century during their brief domination of the area and subsequently concluded by Genova.

Currently, it hosts an interesting Geo-Palaeontological Museum and a Toy Museum. Inside the castle, is also located the splendid chapel of Saint Anastasia, with its Gothic style. From the ramparts of the castle, it is possible to enjoy a breathtaking panorama.

Back to Garibaldi square, stop to visit the small oratorio of St. Rocco, erect in the ‘200 and rebuilt in the modern age after a pestilence, devoted to the protecting Saint of the black plague.

Continuing toward the most modern part of Lerici, you’ll reach the church of St. Francesco, a notable XVII century ecclesiastical building, true box of artistic treasures, from the Middle Ages to the ‘900, known above all as the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Maralunga, the 1480 painting that the legend wants to be recovered in miraculous circumstances near the homonym promontory.

After a small break (comforted by a slice of pizza) continue the itinerary reaching St. Terenzo with a beautiful walk on the waterfront (an alternative is the bus) that will allow you to enjoy long beaches, unusual for the Ligurian territory, that gets the qualification of Blue Flag for the quality of the waters for many years now.

At St. Terenzo stayed in the last months of his life the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, together with his wife Mary Shelley (author of the famous novel Frankenstein), in the candid Villa Magni in front of the sea, whose porticos at that time directly leaned out on the beach. Guest of the villa was for a long time the poet George Byron too.

Moving on, visit the Church of the NativitΓ  di Maria, with the XV century painting of the Madonna dell’Arena.

You can conclude the itinerary, taking the bus, Tellaro, recently inserted among the “more beautiful Suburbs of Italy.”

Here, going beyond the little square, walk between the narrow street and the colored houses, among perfume of lemons and luxuriant Bougainvillea, until you’ll reach the picturesque Church of St. Giorgio, from here is possible to enjoy of a splendid sight on Portovenere, Palmaria and on the islands of the Tino and Tinetto.

A suggestive landscape indeed, a source of inspiration for the English David H. Lawrence, author of Lady Chatterley lover, that lived in Tellaro a pensioned love story.


Are you already buying the ticket?


* This text reflects the opinions and experiences of the guest writer and does not reflect the views of the blog author traveloptician.com

38 thoughts on “Portovenere, Lerici and The Poet’s Gulf / ITALY

  1. Alexander Popkov says:

    Italy has an endless amount of things to explore. I wish I could stay there for long and see everything earound. So far, stayed in several major cities, but want to do some smalle places now. You have suggested a good ones

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jas says:

    Italy has always been a dream destination of mine, but I must say this is my first time hearing about Lerici and Portovenere so thanks for the awesome recommendations, Simone! Definitely adding these to my bucket list and bookmarking this guide for later πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Patti says:

    OMG… I had a boyfriend from La Spezia (about 15 years ago)… this post brought me back some memories. I used to love going to Liguria .. such a beautiful place 😍 (I miss the focaccia LOL)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Medha Verma says:

    Wow, such beautiful places in Italy that I have not been to! Portovenere looks fantastic, and your first picture is amazing because of the lovely skies too. The view from the top makes it look almost like the ref rooftops of Dubrovnik. I would love to try some fresh sea food for dinner or watch the sunset in Lerici.

    Liked by 1 person

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