Portovenere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portovenere’s harbor is lined with brightly colored houses and narrow medieval streets lead up the hill to a castle. It is located on a rocky peninsula on the Gulf of Poets, an area in the Gulf of La Spezia once popular with writers such as Byron, Shelley and DH Lawrence. Portovenere is southeast of the Cinque Terre at the end of the Italian Riviera, in the region of Liguria.
The ancient Portus Veneris is believed to date back to at least the middle of the first century BCE. It has been said that the name refers to a temple to the goddess Venus which was sited on the promontory where the church of Peter the Apostle now stands. The name has also been linked to that of the hermit Saint Venerius. In Roman times the city was essentially a fishing community.