Discovering Lerici: colourful villages and romantic poets
With colourful houses reflected in the water and an ancient castle dominating the landscape, Lerici is a true sight to behold, and it is no coincidence that it has enchanted poets and romantic writers throughout history, from Lord Byron to Mary Shelley.
If you are looking for a destination to fall in love with, Lerici is the place for you.
The Gulf of Poets
This beautiful fishing village is a real jewel set in the Gulf of La Spezia: also known as the Gulf of Poets, this vast inlet of the Ligurian Sea coastline seems to have been created especially for indulging in dolce far niente and strolling in search of picture-worthy sites.
From the heart
Our journey through the Riviera di Levante begins at its heart, Lerici, an easy-to-navigate town dominated by the mighty five-cornered tower of the fortress that dates back to the Maritime Republics.
You won’t regret visiting the central Piazza Garibaldi: right by the sea and surrounded by pastel-coloured houses, this square hosts the 13th-century Oratory of San Rocco, built on a medieval “hospitale” for passing pilgrims, with its bell tower converted from an earlier Roman tower.
Among the many 18th-century residences in the area, Villa Marigola is the most iconic, thanks to its position on the promontory, straddling the inlets of Lerici and San Terenzo.
You will love how easy it is to venture around the magnificent surroundings of Lerici: places that have captivated the likes of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Giosuè Carducci and Gabriele D'Annunzio, and that, more recently, have earned themselves the title of World Heritage Sites.
Tellaro at sunset
Two kilometres from the centre of Lerici is the stunning Tellaro: if you visit at sunset, you will discover why it has been named one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy. We recommend a relaxing walk along the promenade overlooking small beaches: this is the spot where Eugenio Montale, struck by so much beauty during a train journey, stopped to pen a poem out of the blue: Verso Tellaro.
Portovenere and Cinque Terre
The spectacular seaside villages of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, need no introduction. The same goes for the nearby Portovenere, where you can photograph the 16th-century Doria Castle or the Tower behind the ancient city walls and the promenade stretching along the seafront. If you are a poet at heart, you should explore the church of San Pietro, where you will find the Grotto Arpaia, also known as Byron's Grotto, in homage to the poet who visited this magnificent place to find inspiration.
The magic of the Golden Butterfly
Behind Lerici, the San Lorenzo mountains host an enchanted place where, on the days around the summer solstice, the rays of the setting sun pass through a gap created by a megalithic formation of local stones, projecting a butterfly-shaped beam of light onto one of the standing stones.
A dip in the Gulf of Poets
If you can’t resist some sunbathing and a refreshing swim, you will be spoilt for choice between bays and well-equipped, free beaches. Arriving from La Spezia, your first stop must be Baia Blu, between Punta Santa Teresa and Punta Galera. San Terenzo offers a comfortable beach in front of the town, while as you approach Lerici, you will find the famous beach Venere Azzurra, recognised for decades with the Blue Flag. Finally, Fiascherino offers a delightful small bay with a narrow beach where you can rent deckchairs and parasols.