The Gulf of the Poets

The La Spezia Bay is known as the Gulf of Poets, because many poets have praised its beauty throughout time. Since Ancient Roman times, when La Spezia didn't exist as a city and the Emperor would give his most valuable and noble friends pieces of land to relax in a at the time pristine land. The Poet Persio lived here, possibly in one of the many Roman Villas that still can be seen in the area. But the naturally evocative power of the steep reef, the quiet asperity of people and land, the restlessness of the sea have been inspiring especially for romantic poets, who wanted to feel the power of nature above men : George Sand so described the sea she viewed from her window:

The Cinque Terre area is not only made of the coast, unique and unrepeatable, and of five villages perched on the mountains and overlooking the sea. The area is now famous throughout the world and characterized by an increasingly important flow of tourists.

The medieval villages take their origin in the hinterland and its peasant culture, that of the Vara River Valley, and even further up to the culture of the Lunigiana. It is the historical area that in most ancient times was dominated by the Ligurian and Apuan Celts. The most typical features of the five villages can be found throughout the marine area, extending to the Gulf of La Spezia, (the Gulf of the Poets), with the enchanting Lerici and Portovenere, while its small archipelago hides the surprise of pristine and fierce nature and ancient history.

" ... The sea is a painting that changes in color and mood every minute, day and night. There are profundities here filled with a clangor whose dreadful variety is hard to imagine; all the cries of despair, all the curses of hell intermingle here, and under my little window I hear in the night voices from the abyss that sometimes roar in a nameless bacchanalia, at others, savage hymns fearsome even in the extent of the consolation they bring ... "

George Sand

The suggestive Portovenere cave traditionally owes its name from Lord Byron, who spent some periods of his life in the Gulf as a sea lover and, apparently, an expert swimmer.

Eugenio Montale – who owned a beautiful villa in Monterosso in which he wrote the famous poem Ossi di Seppia is one of the most important poets who lived in the area, and who dedicated a truly powerful verses to Portovenere:

There – comes Triton
from the waves that lap
the threshold of a Christian
temple, and every near hour
is ancient. Every doubt
takes you by hand
as if by a young girl friend.

There – no one’s eyes
nor ears are bent on self.
Here – you are at the origins
and deciding is foolish:
re-begin later to assume a nature.

Eugenio Montale

Percy Bysshe Shelley lost his life at sea while sailing off San Terenzo where he lived with his wife Mary Shelley. He wrote these verses in Lerici:

Over the ocean bright and wide,
Like spirit-winged chariots sent
O'er some serenest element
For ministrations strange and far,
As if to some Elysian star
Sailed for drink to medicine
Such sweet and bitter pain as mine.
And the wind that wing'd their flight
From the land came fresh and light,
And the scent of winged flowers,
And the coolness of the hours
Of dew, and sweet warmth left by day,
Were scatter'd o'er the twinkling bay.
Percey Bisshe Sheley

Where Are You?
The Cinque Terre Area

...
La Spezia

The main city of the whole area, a charming town, facing the Gulf of the Poets. 

...
PORTOVENERE

One of the edges of the Gulf, open to the sea with the magnificent San Pietro Church. 

...
LERICI

On the eastern edge of the Gulf of the Poets, with its imponent castle is the gateway to the Lunigiana.

...
TELLARO

Tellaro is a little jewel, a quaint fishing village on the verge of the Gulf, with a beautiful overlook and charming traditions. 

Gulf of the Poets experiences

Not to miss in the Gulf of the Poets

the octopus that saved tellaro
The stairs of the doomed on Palmaria Island
madonna bianca in Portovenere
the byron grotto
San Venerio, welcoming hermit

The Gulf Of The Poets
In Six Points

1

La Spezia

A new vibrant, city, with interesting art and technical museums, good restaurants and bars and a relaxed atmosphere, La Spezia is at the center of the Gulf of the Poets.

2

Beautiful Beaches​

La Spezia beaches are not in town, but the Gulf of the Poets beaches are easily reached from the town, while others require a few instructions

3

The Poets' places​

Why this evocative name? What did the poets say about the Gulf, where did they go? A journey through the Poets' places.   

4

The Portovenere Archipelago​

Is formed by the Islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. Only the first island is accessible, even if not in its entirety: visit the beautiful Marine area by Kayak

5

Summer Parties!

In Summer Times, plan to visit the area during one of its most fun and spectacular events, such as the Portovenere Natural Pool, the Madonna Bianca, the Palio del Golfo

6

Enjoy the Golden Hour​

Viewing one of the suggestive sunsets offered by the localities of the Gulf is highly recommended: for example, while tasting and enjoying an aperitivo in Lerici or Portovenere

Useful Advice to explore the Gulf of the Poets

How to travel in the Gulf of the Poets

  • By car: all localities are served with good driveways, but most of them do not have a rail station. 
  • By ferry, you can reach Palmaria Island and many localities of the Gulf by ferry from La Spezia, view our La Spezia ferry schedule.
  • Cycling to reach the many localties of the Gulf is possible, although assisted bikes are recommended if you are not trained. View our bike guided tours

The ferry crosses the Gulf of the Poets.

lericipako

All villages of the Gulf of the Gulf of the Poets are worth a visit: we recommend investing one or two days crossing the bay by ferry, enjoying the many perspectives on the Gulf offered by each place. 
At the moment, the Gulf of the Poets is less crowded with tourists than the more popular Cinque Terre in the high season.  

Gulf of the Poets Stories

Top Experiences in the Gulf of Poets

- Where are you?

The Cinque Terre Area