We stayed for two nights in a large modern apartment with fully equipped kitchen/breakfast nook, living room, bedroom, and extremely large patio overlooking beautiful Portovenere. Car parking is free in the garage (1.25 to 1.75 euro per hour on the streets). Driving is simple - you come in on a one-way road to the center and leave town on a one-way road away from the center (Residence i Gabbiani is just up the hill on the way out of town and easy to find). While the owner's mother does not speak English, she maintains a friendly line of patter in Italian as she shows you what is needed by sign language, and then gives you a free bottle of wine to seal the deal.
We had intended to visit three towns of the Cinque Terre by boat from Porto Venere. Because of rough seas the boats ran only to Monterosso on our first day and not at all on our second day. This was OK with us as we enjoyed Monterosso and seeing the rest of the five towns from the sea, but loved to be in Portovenere. One can climb to the fortress overlooking the town and to the two lovely churches that provide great views. The narrow streets are rustic and it was enjoyable to watch children leaving for school on my early morning walks. I am 71 and the walk to the main square and boat docks was less than 15 minutes. Only one uphill portion returning to the apartment so the return took about 15 minutes. Can't recommend Portovenere and Residence i Gabbiani enough.
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