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.