The Cinque Terre represent one of the widest, natural and unspoilt Mediterranean areas of Liguria; this is mainly due to historical and geomorphological reasons, that have prevented an excessive building expansion and the building of the main road network ( that go internally through the Vara Valley). The human activities and above all the viticulture have contributed to create a landscape that is unique, and in which the development of the so-called “ muri a secco” reaches that one of the famous Great Wall of China.
All that, as well as the crystal clear sea, the high-value architectural works and the path network, that is one of the richest and enviable Mediterranean areas, make the Cinque Terre a very popular destination for both Italian and foreign tourists.
This is not due to a successful advertising campaign, but as it has been recognised as a unique place for its beauty and for the pleasure that derives after a stay here…
The inhabitants of Genoa built the fortified village as we can still see it nowadays and erected in 1160 the walls and the Castle that today stands out against the built-up area, in the reshaped forms in the XVI century.
The village of Portovenere , in its almost unchanged forms during the eight centuries, offers to the tourist’s sight , who can appreciate this breath-taking panorama, typical and picturesque views, and enjoy the uniqueness of the ancient portals of the tower houses, which align close one to the other, on the “ carruggi” ( tight porches or shady alleys) and the “ calata” ( part of the quay to allow the mooring of the mercantile ships).
Give some advice for a tourist visit of Portovenere appears easy, you have to let yourself go to the splendour of the dried salt, the colours, the flight of the seagulls, the rocks and the historical and art proves, that wink at every corner.
With no doubts, the name Portovenere recalls the Church of St. Peter, situated on the rock of the promontory, and almost blended with it in an architectural harmony unique in the world. However, the village is not only that and the tourist must discover and enjoy all its treasures, not only the historical and artistic ones, but also the landscape and the naturalistic ones.
Do not forget that in proximity of the ancient walls, there is the arrival or the starting point of the well-known path n° 1, which connects Portovenere to the Cinque Terre and that is the annual destination of many hikers. The path, which twists and turns in the middle of the coast, along the slopes of Muzzerone and Castellana, offers unique views and unforgettable emotions.
From the quay overlooking the fence, many boats leave to the islands, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, Lerici and Cinque Terre.
It is a well-known maritime village and a natural harbour, located in the middle of a deep creek of the same name. Portofino is a frivolous tourist place, which is known all over the world.
The built-up area, which is bereft of the seaside, looks the harbour, which is always full of luxurious recreational boats, and it is surrounded by a wonderful vegetation, with olive trees, holly oaks, pines, cypresses of the slopes behind.
The Portus Delphini Harbour, reminded by Pliny, has very ancient origins, probably for its characteristics as safe landing pier for ships that were sailing in the Ligurian Sea.
The original built-up area centre was built among the St. Martins Church, expanding afterwards around the bay and towards the inland. In the 10thcentury Portofino became property of the St. Fruttuoso Abbey, that was link to Martino Doria.
Here there are the tombs of seven members of the Doria family, who died between 1275 and 1305. Then it was under the jurisdiction of Rapallo, and indirectly, that one of the Republic of Genoa.
The tourist development started between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, thanks to the Genoese middle class, changing the town, so that today the famous “ piazzetta” and the so-called “ borgo del pescatore” are a sought-after tourist attraction, mainly an élite tourism, of international relevance. You do not have to miss the parish church devoted to St. Martin of Tour, the ancient fortress of St. George or Castle Brown , located on the promontory of Portofino, St George’s Church, the Assunta Oratory.
Lerici, together with La Spezia and Portovenere is one of the three towns that is situated on the coast of the Gulf of the Poets. The suburb of Tellaro is considered one of the most beautiful village of Italy.
It has been visited also by many poets and intellectuals as Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. It is one of the most known maritime villages of Liguria and the north of Italy, in effect, it is the destination chosen by a lot of tourists during the year.
Lerici is situated on the Riviera Levante, on the eastern part of the Gulf of La Spezia. It is at the centre of a small natural creek called “Seno di Lerici” and dominated by a promontory, on which stands out the majestic Castle , where there is the museum today.
Almost in front of it, there are the small town of Venere Azzurra and the built-up area of San Terenzo.
The town is part of the natural regional Park of Montemarcello-Magra.
The origins of the town date back to the Etruscan period, when with all probability, the first village was settled down, around VII century B.C., after the foundation of the future Roman city of Luni.
The particular geographic position, in the course of time, made Lerici a natural harbour, first of all for the inhabitants of Liguria, and then for the Romans.
In the Middle Age the bay was used as a dock and good yard, first for counts-bishops of Luni and Oberdenghi ,then for the Malaspina. However, thanks to the Republic of Genoa, Lerici got a more important role. After having gained Portovenere, that became a strategic base to check the Gulf of La Spezia, Genoa got Lerici too, negotiating with Vezzano and Arcola, that were the landowners of this small town.
In 1152, in Portovenere was signed the act, that sold Lerici to Lucca.
The settlement in the Republic of Genoa in this part of the gulf and its expansive aims towards the east, were in contrast with the Malaspina family. They were defeated and forced to sign the agreement, which constrained them to leave Lerici. In the following years, the town grew its importance. Its geographic position and the lack of fortifications made it the place for negotiations to make an end to the war between Genoa and Pisa. It was exactly here,in 1217, that a peace treaty was signed.
The naval combat on the Giglio Island in 1241, which ended with the victory of Pisa on the Genoese fleet, changed the destiny of Lerici. The Maritime Republic of Pisa occupied the bay and the dock, probably without any opposition. The inhabitants of Pisa tried to gain Portovenere military district, but they were repelled and for this reason, they decided to fortify Lerici to protect the village, building the walls. The control of the town by the side of Pisa was not long: in 1254, the defeat of Pisa by means of Genoese in the battle of Meloria, obliged them to give back the Castle and the harbour of Lerici. Genoa strengthened the defence of Lerici, reinforcing the castle and after some years, building the fortified town.
With the French domination by Napoleon Bonaparte, it came back to the Republic of Genoa, since 2ndDecember 1797, in the Department of the Gulf of Venere, with La Spezia as county seat.
Starting from 28thApril 1798, Lerici was part of the IV canton, as county seat of the Lunigiana jurisdiction, and from 1803 it became the main centre of the II canton of Carpion, in the Gulf of Venere jurisdiction. It was attached to the First French Empire from 13th June 1805 to 1814 and included in the Department of the Appennine Mountains. From 1815 it was included in the Reign of Sardinia , as it established the Congress of Vienna in 1814, and afterwards in the Reign of Italy, in 1861.
From 1859 to 1927, the territory was part of the II mandamento ( the part of the Italian territory under the jurisdiction of a “ pretore”, a kind of magistrate) of District of Levante ( Circondario del Levante), that first was part of the province of Genoa , and then, with the institution in 1923, of the province of La Spezia. In 1939 , the community of Tellaro was joined after its separation from the territory of Ameglia, whereas the last variations are in 1960, when Lerici was joined to the district of Ameglia.
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