The Italian port town of Portovenere boasts one of the most enviable locations in the country, being tucked away in a secluded corner of the province of La Spezia, looking out over the Ligurian Sea. The result is a holiday rental destination that has it all – historical attractions, stunning scenery and an enviable coastal location. To top it all off Portovenere is close to both the villages of the Cinque Terra and the city of La Spezia, two of the most attractive holiday destinations in the region.
Portovenere (as well as the nearby Cinque Terra village) was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, and as soon as you arrive in the area you will know why. This part of the Ligurian coast is green, unspoilt and perfect for a ‘get away from it all’ break.
There are a number of sights of architectural and historic interest to be seen in the centre of Portovenere town, with one of the oldest being the Romanesque Church of St Lawrence, which was built in 1098. Although the church was damaged by a series of events between the 14th and 15th centuries, it was restored in 1582 and remains in good condition today. Another sight of interest is the Gothic Church of St Peter, which dates back to the end of the 12th century and is a popular stop-off for visitors.
The harbour is always a popular spot in Portovenere, and a great place to relax and watch the birds and fishing boats bobble around the sea. You can even go for a swim if you fancy it! Good quality shops, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants can be enjoyed around the pedestrian-only promenade and within the medieval village centre, and there is much more to be found if you head out towards the city of La Spezia.
The Cinque Terra – a series of five beautiful villages linked by a rewarding nature trail – begins just a few kilometres from Portovenere in the hamlet of Riomaggiore, a destination known for its abundance of wildlife and fine local wines. If after relaxing for a few days you start to crave more modern city attractions, you will find that the capital of the province, La Spezia, is just 15km in the opposite direction around the Ligurian coast.
Portovenere and the La Spezia province in general become popular with tourists during summer months, when daily temperatures edge close to 30C and visitors can enjoy the sunshine to its fullest. Spring and autumn can still be warm though, and are also good months in which to enjoy a Portovenere holiday, especially if you can find an accommodation bargain.
Despite its secluded position Portovenere is still within close reach of several international airports. The nearest of them is Pisa Galileo Galilei Airport (PSA), 89km to the south, but when comparing flight prices it is also worth considering other destinations such as Genoa (GOA) and Parma (PMF), as you may find there are better deals to be had.