Portovenere is a truly scenic seaside resort which can be reached either by bus from La Spezia or by sea through Riomaggiore. Even day-trip visitors will immediately feel welcome in this laid back seaboard atmosphere, which the locals frequent for even a few hours to swim, sunbathe or to generally relax. Frolicking by the seaside quite apart, the locals would take the rest of Portovenere for granted, which a visitor would not. It is a quaint old port on the Italian seaboard, notable for its formidable fortified ramparts and imposing coastal towers on sheer drops of cliff. To the intrepid visitor with strong feet these are certainly worthy of closer inspection. This aspect of the scenery makes for plenty of interesting places to explore and for equally interesting backgrounds for snapshot, “I’ve been there”, photography. On the more culturally engaging level is the medieval church with its gothic interior where the light streaming in from the windows plays a beautiful chiaroscuro effect on the whole ambience and on the colonnade. If you are that lucky, you may even happen upon a wedding to complete the pageantry.
A walk through the old quarter, which consists of a main narrow street, is like taking a stroll in a different epoch, full of timeless charm; old liquor shops and taverns, old shops selling spices and herbs and old artisan shops. The tourist attractions of Italy are full of this stuff but it remains incredible how each region of the peninsula retains its particular candor and charisma for representing and reliving its past. It is certainly worth the while saving one’s healthy appetite for good food for such a place, to sample the local fare. There is a lot one can ask for and relish of which local pasta and pesto are but a simple example.
I would certainly recommend Portovenere to those travelers who prefer a less stressful holiday than one in the main cities, trying to fit as many historical and cultural landmarks as possible. Portovenere is full of the typical colours of Italy, especially for those who can pick out the more subtle hues of the Liguria.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.