Porto Venere and the islands

Fortifications, castles and churches, an eye towards the sea

Porto Venere was already an active harbour in the Roman and Byzantine ages, soon coming under Genoese domination in 1104. In the space of just a few decades, Porto Venere changed its appearance from castrum to fortified town. The most significant monument is the Church of San Pietro (St. Peter) which, according to a wholly unfounded legend, was built over the Roman temple to Venus.

The islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto in front of Porto Venere, a continuation of the same promontory, were once joined to the mainland. The 19th century Umberto I Fort – now known as the “Sea Fortress” – hosts themed exhibitions, conferences, shows and cultural events. On Tino Island, which is a military and therefore inaccessible zone, the ruins of the Benedictine monastery can be visited on 13th September, the festival of the Patron Saint of the Gulf, San Venerio (St. Venerius). The religious buildings on the small island of Tinetto were also connected to the monumental complex of Tino.

San Pietro
The temple was officially consecrated in 1198. His part in black and white bands dating from the thirteenth century and was restored between 1931 and 1935.
Further south lies the island of Palmaria, Tino, recognizable by its triangular and rocky shape, plenty of maritime pines, holm oaks, myrtles, mastics and arbutuses.
Grotta Byron
Dominated by the Church of St. Peter and the walls of the Portovenere Castle, the cave owes its name to the fact that the cove was especially close to Byron, who took refuge there to meditate.
Of the three islands, the Palmaria one is the most popular and known for inquiries concerning the seaside tourism: its beaches host thousands of swimmers every year who choose it for its limpid waters lapping the coastline.
The Doria Castle of Porto Venere is located on a rocky outcrop dominating the seaside village and is considered one of the most impressive military architecture built by the Republic of Genoa in eastern Liguria. Built in 1161, it underwent a subsequent work of expansion and modernization between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In 1998 it achieved its architectural and natural heritage, entering in the list of protected World Heritage Site by UNESCO and since 2001 it has been seat of the regional nature park.

How to get to Porto Venere

It is impossibile to reach Porto Venere by train.

By car:
Expressway A12 Genova/Livorno
Expressway A15 La Spezia/Parma
exit at La Spezia, and then take the country road for Porto Venere (15 km)

By bus:
The ticket costs 3 euro. It takes about half an hour to reach the village.
More info

By boat:
Timetables and tickets

TripAdvisor Porto Venere
Discover restaurants, hotels, B&B and other information about Porto Venere, using Trip Advisor
Car Park
In Porto Venere parking is not free: you can find both in the low village, and in the upper part, in the area called “Cavo”.

However, the parking located in the upper area are served by “Girobus”, a shuttle service with which you can comfortably reach the village in just a few minutes.
The all bus information are available! Download the official ATC APP
Boat timetables
Check the boats timetables