Porto Venere is a town and community located on the Ligurian coast of Italy in the province of La Spezia. It comprises the three villages of Fezzano, Le Grazie and Porto Venere, and the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. In 1997 Porto Venere and the villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The feast of the basil, is celebrated every year on 9 April. We will have to go back! The pesto is incredible there and in the small back streets you can taste bites of bread (pane) with fresh made pesto. Now that we are gone, I wish we had bought a bucket of it!
Where we stayed: http://elisabettaballeri.wix.com/la-terrazza#!apartment-a/c134r
- This location was perfect for exploring the city and had the best view of the water and town below, but a few downfalls were a very uncomfortable bed, not the best heating, and like all places (it seems) in Italy, many stairs!
It is easy to find tiny pastries in the shops throughout the small communities of Ligure.
Portovenere on a warm fall day: The small medieval town is filled with surprises to delight the traveller. You can hike from Portovenere to the most southern town of the Cinque Terre – Riomaggiore (5 hours one way) and then take a ferry back. If you are not up for a long day, you can also hike a very steep path to the small town of Campiglia (about 2 hours each way). A little tip – pack your own lunch in case the restaurants are closed when you get places. Our favorite oil tasting shop, where the kind owner will explain to you the differences in the olive oils and why some are stronger or lighter than others. We learned that a lower acidity olive oil is generally lighter in flavor also. Also, lower acidity olive oils are better for cooking with because they are able to decrease the free radical production that the heat causes while cooking.
Be warned that in this small community, like many places we have visited in Italy, restaurants do not open until 7:30pm. It is more common to go ahead of time to an Osteria or coffee shop and start the evening with an aperatif or glass of wine before dinner. The restaurant below was well priced and served an excellent portion of mussels. The grilled shrimp were a little bland, but fresh nonetheless. The opening dinner hour for this restaurant was between 7 – 7:15 because the family and staff had to finish their dinner first. So civilized 🙂