This area was especially loved by poets and writers, in particular Shelley,
Byron, Petrarch and Montale.
This is the reason why the Gulf of Spezia is called the Gulf of the Poets. Located at the far eastern end
of the Region of Liguria, this wide, deep inlet of the Ligurian Sea comprises a series of beaches and rocky
cliffs, blue sea, ancient towns and untamed nature. At the two extremities of the Gulf (the western end and
the eastern end, respectively) lie the two towns of Portovenere and
The town of Lerici is of interest for its old
Jewish ghetto, castle,
geo-paleontological museum and the
Piazza del Poggio and Piazza di San Giorgio.
Just below the castle one finds the relaxing promenade along the
Lerici is famous for its hospitality and the excellent local cuisine,
featuring zuppa di datteri di
mare [date mussel soup] and spaghetti alla lericina.
Nearby there are various interesting places to visit,
such as San Terenzo, with its castle, Villa Magni, where Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley
lived, and Villa Marigola, with the
magnificent view onto the beach of Venere Azzurra. Then, there is Tellaro, a typical
sea-side village with extensive beaches, where boats still dock along the sea-front piazzetta. Finally,
Fiascherino is famous for having been visited by the English writer David Herbert Lawrence.
The patron saint of the Golfo dei Poeti is
San Venerio, celebrated every year on September 13th with a
romantic pilgrimage by sea to the sanctuary on the Isola del Tino,
one of the islands in the small archipelago
(in front of Portovenere) that comprises also the islet Tinetto
and the Island of Palmaria. The latter is the
most frequently visited of the three, especially for its Grotta Azzurra
[Blue Grotto], accessible by boat, and
the Grotta dei Colombi, accessible only by descending a rope.
Porto Venere was named for the temple erected in the Roman era in
honor of Venere Ericina on the promontorio di
San Pietro, where one finds the church of San Pietro. Nearby is the small fishing village
Le Grazie with the
archeological site of the Roman Villa del Varignano.