But there are many other interesting and amazingly beautiful places around here.
Amongst many others: Portovenere and its archipelago.
Portovenere is a small village dotted with historic buildings that give it a sort of ‘vintage’ atmosphere. You will only need half a day to visit the village but it’s a true gem.
Since Portovenere is not accessible by train, it is best to get there by boat from the Cinque Terre.
Portovenere is a very colorful and interesting village.
In the village there are two main streets and it is quite pleasant to take a break here, you can admire the colorful little houses of Portovenere as well as the gulf and the Isle of Palmaria.
Colorful houses in Portovenere
There are two churches one can visit here: the church of Saint Pierre and the one of Saint-Laurent.
These two churches were built in the 12th century. The Church of Saint Peter is located in the center of Portovenere. It is in very good condition now that its restoration has been completed. The first building to welcome tourists arriving on foot or by boat, however, is the Church of St. Lawrence. This atypical church is more like an ancient fortress protected by towers.
There is also a castle in this town and it’s called the Doria Castle.
Church of Saint Peter
This beautiful castle, built on a cliff, is an important attraction in Portovenere. The construction date is unknown and should be between the 12th and 14th century. From Doria Castle Square, one can have a breathtaking view of Portovenere and the Church of Saint Peter.
There are some isles and islets in front of Portovenere.
Just in front of Portovenere there are the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, summer destinations for boat excursions and popular spots where to snorkel and dive. The hinterland is the heart of the Regional Park of Porto Venere, a lush area suitable for hiking in view of the magnificent coastline of the central village.
As I said, a short ferry trip can take you to the isles of Tino, Tinetto and Palmaria, as well as to some caves in the area.
The Palmaria is the largest island off the coast in Liguria. It has its own attractions: the Umberto fortress, Fort Cavour and the small villages of Pozzale and Terrizzo. Palmaria is dotted with walking trails. You can go around the island in one day and there are several hiking trails on the island.
To go from Portovenere to Riomaggiore (one of the 5 lands of the Cinque terre Regional Park) you can take the Sentiero Alto (High Path) which crosses all of the Cinque Terre. It goes through places rich in vegetation typical of the area but, if you do not want to reach Riomaggiore on foot, you can take a 1 km detour and walk to Fort Muzzerone and from there return to Portovenere through a shorter path.
Unfortunately, it seems that there are some plans to do works on the Palmaria Island: build a monorail; build an amphitheater, renovate several properties to make them become hotels for elite tourism and it is estimated that more than one hundred thousand people will visit it next year.
Every time I visit the place, I am reminded of the tranquility of the island, its wonders, the surprises that are hidden around every corner, each side so different: the forts, the beaches, the birds' nests that many ornithologists come to study and observe, the fireflies…a little corner of paradise.
Therefore it’s hard to imagine a developed island in the future with thousands of people on the monorail, tourists coming and going from the hotels…
Nature is already perfect on its own and Palmaria should be protected and preserved to be admired and enjoyed with slow tourism that arrives in the morning and goes away in the evening.
Palmaria island, a peaceful place