Portovenere. The name itself sounds poetic, truthfully romantic and with reason. The colourful historic fishing port was built by the Romans – Portus Veneris – who had valued its strategic place, and a series of relevant figures and people went by this hamlet.
Paying a visit to this sublime corner of Liguria does not fail to impress. The winding road off La Spezia is scenic and reaching the pastel-coloured houses feels nothing short of spectacular. The truth is, however, that one of the best ways you can approach Portovenere is from the sea. The sea, sung by poets and authors for countless centuries, lies at the core and essence of local inhabitants, and it comes only natural that its very essence is better grasped from the ripples and waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Did you know that we can tailor a trip with Il Bottaccio as a starting point? Make the most of our luxury ten-metre Rio 950 Cruiser and learn to love life on the water. Of course we will take you to the glorious Cinque Terre as well, to make this magic experience unforgettable. Admire the quaint villages perched high on the hills and you, too, will see why Romantic poets were struck by the beauty of a unique land.
It goes without saying that another fantastic way to glance at this scenic place is to reach it on foot. Whether you’re into gentle strolls or a demanding hikes, the Cinque Terre conjure up images of the perfect hike. Walking on lovely coast paths and gazing at the sea is mesmerizing: choose the Alta Via delle Cinque Terre (AV5T) if you’re up for a challenge. Linking Portovenere with Monterosso and Levanto in various stages, you can decide to explore the small villages via the many paths descending onto the coast. That’s of course not all as more than 40 other trails zig zag around the Cinque Terre: choose your path and start walking from Monterosso to Vernazza, from Corniglia to Manarola and then to Riomaggiore, or simply pick your favourite part in this Liguria marvel. Better still: choose to do things in style and explore the area in the company of an expert guide. We can arrange a pick up directly from Il Bottaccio for a superb experience.
Yes, the beauty of Portovenere needs to be preserved and a Regional Natural park was established in 1999 – then formally defined in 2001. A UNESCO protected area, which includes the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, you will find exciting trails here, as well. Choose the Alta Via del Golfo (AVG) or the Sentiero Liguria (SL), and many other routes that explore caves, islands and secret marine spots, all kept in good order by the local municipalities and the Italian Alpine Club.
Climbing lovers will adore the many routes on Mount Muzzerone: picture yourself climbing on a crag overlooking the sea and the idyll can commence. If it’s the underwater world you’re after, diving in this area attracts enthusiasts from far and wide: marine life is so rich and expert divers cannot resist the temptation of exploring the many caves that the sea shaped over time: they create an interesting game of light and reveal extraordinary underwater treasures.
Fresh from the Giro d’Italia maze, you should know that Italy’s love story with bicycles goes back a long time. Italians share a strong, sometimes moving passion for this humble mean of transport, perhaps one of the best ways to get to know the land. Such a gorgeous place as the Cinque Terre and Portovenere offer adrenaline-filled experiences for mountain and road bike lovers. You can ride on the panoramic road that offers superb views onto the coast, taking in the small hamlets that dot the landscape: go from Monterosso to Riomaggiore and back – and if you decide to go down to the small villages, the gradient will reach 16%! – or go from Levanto to La Spezia. You may also create your very own route according to your interests and just start exploring! If mountain bikes are your credo, you will be spoilt for choice: ride the Alta Via delle Cinque Terre, the Strada dei Santuari by Riomaggiore or the single track Monte Baudara – Baracca di Gio, among the many on offer. Adventure here I come!
A rare gem, Forte dei Marmi is an exclusive town on the Versilia Riviera, its fame starting in the 1960s and still going strong. They say that trends are shaped in Forte and then launched elsewhere, and if you pay a visit you will see why. An area known for its creative soul, we may say that the town is an open-air boutique, the many original shops creating a maze of colours, scents and riveting ideas. The place owes its name to the 18th century red fort that you can see in the main square, built by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Peter Leopold I of Lorraine, to defend the harbour. It was also used to store the marble extracted from the nearby quarries and indeed the mountains dominate the scene. It is this powerful combination of sea and mountains that make the town a most original one.
Surely admiring all the beauty that surrounds you by the sea, be it Portovenere, the Cinque Terre, Forte dei Marmi or the many other stupendous Tuscan hamlets, will have inspired you to try and craft your very own art piece. What is art, after all, if not a way of expressing our own emotions, feelings and sensations? Well, you can do precisely that while staying at Il Bottaccio, with our art lessons based on cast making. Deep in the heart of lovely Pietrasanta, the cradle of pioneering ideas, explore how a former marble lab can become a hotbed of creativity.
The relational artist Paola Michela Mineo will introduce you to her studio, which she shares with her partner, the Danish sculptor Misja Ramsussen, and the art of cast making: create your three-dimensional portrait focusing on one part of your body and learn to become at one with art itself. An unforgettable experience that sets any stay at Il Bottaccio a superb voyage into the realm of fantasy and imagination.