Lerici, Portovenere and Montemarcello
The charm of Golfo dei Poeti
A name, a guarantee. Golfo dei Poeti (the gulf of poets) takes its name from the fact that over the centuries, and due to its extraordinary beauty, it has inspired many poets and writers who lived and stayed in this area. This peculiar name refers to a deep inlet that characterizes the astoundingly beautiful bay around the city of La Spezia, delimited by the towns of Lerici and Portovenere, wonderful natural beauty spots along the coastline of eastern Liguria.
Dante, David Herbert Lawrence, Lord Byron, George Sand, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Emma Orczy, Mario Soldati, Attilio Bertolucci, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti are just some of the poets and writers that have a strong connection with this magical place.
Well worth a visit is the beautiful little town of Portovenere, a UNESCO site since 1997,with the breathtakingly beautiful church of San Pietro on the cliff’s edge, the alleyways called “carruggi” which join the colourful “tower houses” of the village, the majestic Doria Castle, the incredible blue sea full of boats and the small shops which offer delightful jars of pesto, handmade ceramics, perfumes and handmade jewellery.
In front of Portovenere, a stone’s throw away across an area of water called “Le Bocche”, is the beautiful island called Palmaria is to be found. The largest island in the Ligurian region, this naturalistic gem is easily reached in just a few minutes by boat or ferry from Portovenere. Suggestive caves, beaches to discover, paths, an abundant flora, tons of history (such as the caves and the ex military fortress of Umberto the First) and a breath-taking view of Portovenere are just some of the treasures this island has to offer. Some ferries also allow you to take a tour around the other islands of gulf of La Spezia where, in addition to Palmaria, you will find Tinetto and Tino, an uncontaminated natural island which comes under military jurisdiction but is open to visitors once a year during the San Venerio celebration which take place in September. Another wonderful place to visit is Lerici, with its castle, long beachfront walkway, beautiful little harbour, sunny beaches and also the enchanting villages of Tellaro, San Terenzo and Fiascherino, just a few minutes away by car.
The local cuisine is a must with scrumptious tastes and offers steamed mussels, oysters (locally farmed green and delicious oyster from the bay of La Spezia), mesciua (a legume soup characteristic of the local area), sgabei (fried pizza dough), pasta with pesto, every imaginable variety of focaccia, panigacci and testaroli from the Lunigiana area (another must) and many other local specialities.
On your return to Casale Amati, you can find the old town of Montemarcello, elected one of the most beautiful village of Italy, where you can stop-off for a lovely cocktail towards sunset. The outstanding view of the gulf of poets is something you will treasure.