Posted by: debrakolkka | November 9, 2010


Portovenere is on the Ligurian coast, between La Spezia and Riomaggiore, the southern most of the Cinque Terre.  It sits at the base of the steep slopes of Muzzerone, a rocky mountain covered with olive and pine trees.  The town is watched over by the tower of the old citadel.  I could go on, but mostly Portovenere is just plain beautiful.

beautiful Portovenere

the old citadel keeps watch

The town is about 2 hours drive from Bagni di Lucca.  It is autostrada most of the way, but the last bit takes you on the longest 11 kilometre drive you will ever do.  The road is narrow and winds its way along the coast through a couple of small towns.  Cars are parked in the most inconvenient places and there is way too much traffic for these little roads.  It must be hell in summer.

Once you arrive and park the car all will be forgiven when you feast your eyes on this gorgeous little place.

There is a little shopping street which winds its way through the village behind the waterfront restaurants and shops.  There are the usual souvenir shops and cute little restaurants, if you can drag yourself away from the seaside ones.  The area is known for its pesto, and there are places where you can buy this delicious topping for pasta ( and other things).  I recommend taking some home to try.  If you love basil, you will love this.


the entrance to the shopping street

lots of treasures to be found

seaside souvenirs

local anchovies

delicious pesto

a boutique just for pesto

looking down to the sea

At the end of the street you come out to another spectacular view – St Peter’s church from 1256.


St Peter's

inside the old church

the view from the church

looking up to the citadel

looking along the coast from the church

pigeons enjoying the autumn sun

Byron's grotto

This is where Byron dived into the sea and swam to Lerici, a fair distance across the Bay of La Spezia, no doubt showing off to someone.


here is where he dived in

the church fits well into the rocky headland

In summer boats will take you along the coast from Portovenere to Cinque Terre and Portofino.  All of these places are wonderful and the best way to see them is from the water.  On a good day it would be hard to beat this part of Italy.


  1. You are killing me! This looks so fabulous. I haven’t been here yet but another to add to the list. God, LOVE THE PESTO. I am such a pesto freak but eating lots of basil improves your appetite and this is not what I need. Thanks for such a fabulous post Deb. It is amazing. Don’t you just love being an Italophile?

  2. Another place to put on my list, love how the pesto is so green – usually when in a bottle it darkens.

    • This pesto is the best I have ever tasted. I wish I had brought some home. I bought some yesterday and it was miserable in comparison. I have bought a mortar and pestle and I am going to make my own.

  3. I was thinking about that word this morning too- Italophile. I am proudly.
    What a gorgeous church. There are so many amazing places to go, it’s hard nominating one area to concentrate on.

  4. Oh yes it looks beautiful… It was one of my favourite places this year…. And you have captured the area so beautifully in your photo’s…. For others who are planning to go to italy yes do put this on your schedule…. worth seeing…

  5. Waw Beautiful! It reminds me a little bit of Mont Saint Michel in Normandie, especially the shopping street.
    THanks Deb!

  6. We’ll be there!
    Thanks Deb

  7. That looks amazing! But how do you tear your eyes away from the waterview?

    • With great difficulty!

  8. Now there’s one more place on my “must visit” list-thanks for sharing your photos on this beautiful spot.

  9. I thought I had seen Portovenere, but…there seems to be a lot more!!!! Reason to go back!!!!

  10. Ahhh beautiful! I wish I had stopped here while I was in the Cinque Terre for three days in June. Your photographs really capture the essence of the town. Thanks for sharing. New subscriber!

    • Thank you for your comments, and signing up. I love it when people comment. The whole coastline here is spectacular. You will have to go back and visit Portovenere.

  11. Wow – such beautiful photos. What an amazing place. I am always drawn towards the sea, and the Italian coast line is spectacular. This is one of my mom’s favourite places and I would love to visit one day as well.

    • Portovenere is beautiful, you have to go.

  12. […] were a few trips to the gorgeous Italian coast – Portovenere, Portofino, Cinque Terre. along the coast near […]

  13. […] here to see lovely Portovenere and the pesto […]

  14. […] Portovenere on the Ligurian coast and buy some pesto from the specialist pesto shop there. Click here to take a […]

  15. Thank you for the return trip to Portovenere!! Several years ago my nephew and I visited the town (along with a boat ride) and dined at one of the open air restaurants under the umbrellas (as seen in one of the photos), along with one of the best seafood meals I’ve ever had and a gentleman playing a guitar while singing local songs Portovenere proved to be the Italy of legend. The photos are beautiful, again thank you.

    • We love Portovenere and go as often as we can. You are right, it is Italy at its best.

  16. […] is one in Portovenere of a completely different style. Click here to see […]

  17. Stunning photos! We have changed boats at Portovenere a number of times when returning to Lerici from the Cinque Terre. Having to rush to the last boat, which is waiting for us, we always lament that there’s no time to explore Portovenere.
    You’ve convinced us that it’s time to make the time!!!
    Thank you.

    • i linked the wrong one here, and I have fixed it, but isn’t Portovenere fabulous.

    • Portovenere is one of our favourite places to visit. It is not too far away from Bagni di Lucca, so it is a fairly easy day trip.

  18. […] Portovenere […]

  19. Do you know the name of the shop that sells Olive Oil, Seasoned Salts, jars of bruschetta toppings?

    • There are a few shops in Portovenere that sell these things. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of any of them.

  20. […] PS Fellow blogger Debra Kolkka has written extensively on Porto Venere. For example, see her post at […]

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