Portovenere – Italy’s Hidden Treasure

Portovenere - Italy's Hidden Treasure

Tucked away in the northwestern area of Italy, Portovenere is a town that dates back to at least the middle of the first century. The ancient town is a hidden treasure for tourists and even residents of Italy to still discover.

Gothic Church of St. Peter - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

When people first hear of Portovenere, the natural comparison is matched against the world renowned Portofino, but when visited, the two places are completely different.

Marina - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

In fact, it can be said that Portovenere is a much more inspiring experience because of the breathtaking landscape that has been naturally architected by mother nature and mankind together over time, which is rich history.

Doria Castle - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The town, or “comune” as referred to by the Italian government, is located on the provincial coast of La Spezia, in the region of Liguria. Rocky horizons, lush forests and vegetation, completed with bodies of water suppled by the Mediterranean Sea, surround this area.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Perhaps the most profound scenery of Portovenere is the strip of homes that lay across the shoreline of the marina. It’s quite the sight.

Marina - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The homes are crammed together, which provides a narrow living space, but the colorful exterior design of these buildings along with the preserved “olden day” look is what surprisingly keeps the real estate market strong in Portovenere.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The strip on-looks the Gulf of Poets and the Cinque Terre, which are a series of five lands that include Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Traveling to the high grounds of Portovenere, it’s an awe-inspiring sight to bear witness.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The most expensive properties in Portovenere are the original homes built on higher elevation – a natural highpoint for real estate prices around the world.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Living on top of Portovenere can give you an irreplaceable morning view on a balcony with a typical espresso to start the day in Italy.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

There are three different types of properties to be brought in Portovenere:

  • Villas.
  • Historic apartments in the village.
  • Apartments outside the historic center.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Due to the fact that Portovenere began in the middle of the first century, the real estate market is one of scarcity. Home sales are limited to what is already built, as it is impossible for builders and developers to construct new homes with no land available. In turn, this prices all homes available on the market at a very high value.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Outside of the historic center and into the town of La Spezia, some apartments were built in the 1970s and since then, they have never ceased to be in high demand. The apartments boast an amazing view facing the Mediterranean Sea.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

When speaking in terms of generalization, most villas in Portovenere have been sold for €15,000 per square metre. Though all homes must remain preserved to what was originally built years ago in terms of exteriority, the interior of every home is renovated to a modern way of living. Renovations generally cost around the €5,000 per square meter mark.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Beyond appreciating the homes, the natural beauty that is Portovenere must be appreciated too.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The town of Portovenere is rich in history as Doria Castle, once bolding the cliff with might; now remaining in ruins, is one of the featured attractions for tourists. Doria was a family of extreme wealth, as they played a major role in the history of Italy and the Republic of Genoa from the 12th century to the 16th century.

Doria Castle - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Though the Doria family dynasty is no more, their wealth remains as a landmark with the remnants that remain from their castle structure.

Doria Castle Ruins - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Roads that were built hundreds of years ago that led to the Doria Castle still remain in tact for tourists to walk on.

Road to Doria Castle - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Doria Castle - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The ancient road passes by the Romanesque Church of St. Lawrence, which was built in 1098 by the Genoese. It occupies the site of ancient temple dedicated to Romany mythology of Jupiter. A fire took the church ablaze in 1340, and then an attack in 1494 by the Aragonese. A full restoration was completed by 1582.

Romanesque Church of St. Lawrence - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The panoramic view atop Doria Castle is something to be enjoyed by all visitors.

Panoramic View - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

While taking in the view atop Doria Castle, you will notice another structure located at the onset of the open sea, while looking past the castle’s courtyard trees. That structure is the Gothic Church of St. Peter.

Gothic Church of St. Peter - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

St. Peter Church was consecrated on the rocky point in 1198. It was built over a pre-existing 5th century Palaeo-Christian Church, which had a rectangular plan and semicircular apse.

Gothic Church of St. Peter - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

The new part, from the 13th century, is marked outside and inside by white and black stripes.

Gothic Church of St. Peter - Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Once you visit Portovenere for the first time, it will become apparent to you that this town is a definite destination on the northwest coastline of Italy that has been a hidden treasure among other tourist destinations in the country.

Portovenere, Liguria, Italy

Make it a special trip to explore the ancient lands of Portovenere!


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  1. Susan Van Allen - November 11, 2012

    Gorgeous! It’s no wonder the Romans believed that this beautiful spot was where Venus rose from the sea!

  2. Frank - November 11, 2012

    Wonderful article. I have been to Italy numerous times, but never to Portovenere. I will include a visit to this place next time I am there!

  3. Tom Teyler - November 11, 2012

    Thanks for the great post!!! Will have to see it next time we go to Italy.

  4. Rebecca - November 12, 2012

    WOW! Beautiful pictures!

  5. Robert Cartier - November 12, 2012

    These are incredible photos I must say. I have been to Porto Venere on two occasions and these photos serve as its best representation that I have ever seen.

  6. faith - November 12, 2012

    outstanding photoraphs

  7. Carl Alex Maddox - November 14, 2012

    The photography is so vivid as is the location. For how old this place dates back to, which is all the way back to the first century, I think these are probably the best photos ever captured of Portovenere. And it looks beautiful even on a cloudy day in these photos so I can only imagine how stunning it would be on a clear sunny day. I will be in Italy in April 2013. I’m going to see if my company wants to make a stop here while we’re there.

  8. Gord Harding - November 21, 2012

    Thank you for this post. I have never even heard of Portovenere before, so I can see why it’s called a hidden treasure. If I ever go to Italy one day I’ll have this place on my list of places to visit.

  9. doudoune moncler - November 27, 2012

    Very good article. Thank you very much

  10. Oncler Dumont - November 29, 2012

    Wow, Portovenere is beautiful!

  11. Shelly - December 12, 2012

    Really great post!

  12. Francesca - January 1, 2013

    Lovely! Thanks you for bringing this beautiful part of Italy to life!

    Just one note: The Cinque Terre is “Five Lands” (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore). Although relatively isolated, they are not “…a series of five islands”, as the tag under your 7th photograph indicates.

    • Marcus Cyganiak - January 3, 2013


      Thank you for your comment and even more for correcting that fine detail. I changed the wording in the article and even added in the five specific “lands” you mentioned.

      Once again, thank you!

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