The Cinque Terre, behind Portovenere’s promontory, offer an unforgettable natural scenery. They are 5 beautiful villages hidden inside little inlets or clinging onto the rocks overlooking the sea, set in a unique landscape renowned all over the world: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.
They embrace, with all the sea surrounding them, the beating heart of The Cinque Terre National Park and are UNESCO heritage.
Pastel coloured houses, crystal waters, and a dense network of paths surrounded by our Mediterranean scrub, among terracing and breathtaking views, to reach enchanted and unspoilt places where nature and the work of men inhabit harmoniously.
You can reach The Cinque Terre by car from La Spezia, through The Litoranea Road; the first village you’ll meet, coming from La Spezia, is Riomaggiore. It’s much better to reach 5 Terre by train though, starting from the main train station of La Spezia (La Spezia Centrale).
A picturesque seaside village of roman origins set on a rocky spur, Portovenere displays a row of pastel coloured tower-houses, lined up over “the Calata Doria”, which constitute a medieval village-fortress, one of a kind in Liguria. Opposite Portovenere you’ll find the Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto islands, packed with wonderful caves.
We recommend taking the tour of these three islands by ferry, leaving from Portovenere pier, in order to make the most out of this little archipelago and enjoy all its beauty. Portovenere is a pedestrian island so we advise you to start your visit at the monumental door, which takes you straight into the central “carugio” (narrow street) full of restaurants, bars and shops.
Do not miss “St. Lorenzo Church” (1130), set among the ascending alleys of this village; from the churchyard you’ll reach “Doria Castle”; from the terrace below the Castle, past a little fortress, leaving the cemetery behind and through a flight of steps to your right, you’ll be going down towards “The Arpaia” or Byron cave to finally reach the enchanted St. Peter’s gothic church (1198). From this church, moving back towards “the Calata Doria”, you’ll be walking across the beautiful “Pallanzani Square”. Since 1997 Portovenere is a UNESCO site and belongs to Portovenere’s Natural Regional Park.
Located in one of the most beautiful bays of the Gulf of the Poets, on the eastern Ligurian Riviera, Lerici offers a fairy tale view, which inspired many artists, writers and poets, among which Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, George G. Byron, George Sand, D.H. Lawrence, Giosuè Carducci, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Ema d’Orczy and Valentino Bompiani.
We recommend visiting “The San Rocco Tower”, Ca’ Doria, Villa Padula and Villa Marigola. Finally “The Venere Azzurra” bay displays both free and equipped beaches with beautiful views over the castle, the Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto islands and over the Portovenere promontory
San Terenzo is a typical Ligurian village located in the wonderful Gulf of the Poets right before Lerici, coming from La Spezia. Its wide and equipped sandy beach attracts many tourists, who are welcome to explore the local treasures: the Castle, perched on a rocky spur, the cave’s little beach underneath the Castle, known as “The Turks Hideout” and “Villa Magni”, whose park is now open to the public.
San Terenzo became famous thanks to the poets Byron and Shelley; the latter used to live in Villa Magni with his wife Mary Percy Shelley: she is the author of the popular novel “Frankenstein” written during her stay in San Terenzo. The gorgeous hamlet also inspired Sem Benelli, Paolo Mantegazza and Arnold Bocklin.
Fiascherino, a few steps away from the village of Tellaro, located towards Lerici, is renowned for its private well-equipped beach, hidden by picturesque jagged cliffs full of atolls and crags. In particular, you’ll distinguish two beaches in Fiascherino: the first one is big, sandy and sheltered from the wind while the second one, smaller, has become famous thanks to the assiduous visits by the poet D.H. Lawrence, who lived at Villa Rosa, in this beautiful hamlet, with his wife Frieda.
Tellaro is a pretty hamlet of medieval origin, which stands very close to Fiascherino. The pedestrian road at the entry of this village leads first to the square opposite Stella Maris Church, then to the picturesque little square, surrounded by several restaurants and bars. We recommend visiting “St. George Church”, dating back to the XVI century, nestled over a rocky spur, and the deconsecrated oratory of St. Mary n’Selaa, built over a terrace overlooking the sea, located among the village’s typical narrow streets (carugi). We advise you to walk along the path that takes you from the little square to the rocks and the sea.
The town of La Spezia lies on the border between Liguria and Tuscany, within the wonderful Gulf of the Poets, the most beautiful natural inlet around the world, called like this because of its inspiring beauty, ideal destination for renowned poets, writers and artists.
La Spezia is a wonderful town to visit on foot. The historical memory of La Spezia lies in the collection of paintings of the old La Spezia town by the renowned “spezzino” landscape painter Agostino Fossati (“Marine”) belonging to the Civic Collection (in 1922 La Spezia Town Council bought a wide collection of his paintings) by the Municipal Art Gallery.
The town museum collections boast an ample display of paintings and drawings once belonged to the painter, who captured the centre of La Spezia before and after the works carried out to build the Military Arsenal (1862), a wide and detailed list of the most beautiful corners, streets and views of La Spezia, not mentioning the panoramic views from the sea or the hills.
Another important painter from La Spezia is Gio Batta Valle, whose wonderful views dedicated to La Spezia and the Gulf of the Poets constitute an important historical document: nowadays some of his paintings are well kept among the collections of the Town Council of La Spezia. This is just to say that La Spezia was, from a tourist point of view, an evolving reality already, and well before the building of the Military Arsenal, thanks to the beauty of its territory so well captured on canvas thus drawing the interest of the main European Courts and of many local and international artists.
• Promenade Morin, where ferries for Portovenere (from here the tour of the three islands depart: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto departs) leave from, the Palmaria island and the Cinque Terre leave form
• The Thaon de Revel Bridge, which links the Promenade Morin to Porto Mirabello
• “Piazza Verdi” with its Buren Portals and the Post Office building
• The Historical Monumental Gardens (“The Little Wood”) with its Music Stage, a Liberty style jewel
• Via Chiodo with its decorated arcades
• Il Teatro Civico, designed by Franco Oliva
• Via del Prione a picturesque old street (carugio) popular amongst teenagers
• Piazza Sant’Agostino where the bust of Castiglione Countess is displayed
• Piazza del Mercato, the beating heart of La Spezia
• The Music Conservatory “Giacomo Puccini” with its beautiful windows
• “Amedeo Lia Museum” with its drawings, miniatures, sculptures and art objects
• “The Palazzina of the Arts” with “The Sigillo Museum”
• “The Ethnographic Museum” and “The Diocesano Museum”
• “The National Transport Museum” and “The CAMeC” (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art)
• “The Seafaring Party”, every two years, along “The Promenade Morin” and “The Molo Italia”
• “The Palio of the Gulf”, which takes place every year on the first Sunday of August along the Promenade Morin
• The Church of Marinasco with its large square and the view from its terrace stretching up until the Tuscan coast
• The Church of San Venerio, of roman origins
• The Castiglione Countess Villa, “Villa La Contessa” in Isola
• Tramonti, on the Litoranea road, belonging to the Cinque Terre National Park
• Campiglia, with its little church and wide terrace, where you’ll admire a fantastic sea view
• Biassa, an ancient hamlet anteroom to the Cinque Terre