Lerici is one of the pearls of the Gulf of Poets, an ancient fishing village of fishermen and a famous tourist and seaside resort. His castle leaning over the sea, to close the old village that climbs the hill, is known throughout the world. From the Gulf of Lerici, spectacular sunsets can be admired behind Portovenere, Isola Palmaria and Isola del Tino, which close the Gulf of Poets on the opposite western side. The walks along the seafront, the sea and the beaches, the history of the Castle, the coves immersed in the green of the Mediterranean scrub and in the blue of crystal clear waters that are found along the coast, the postcard natural wonders attract tourists every year from every part of the world.
Over the centuries, artists and writers have resided in Lerici such as Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley, David Herbert Lawrence in the hamlet of Fiascherino, attracted here by the beautiful landscapes that became the inspiration for their works. But the history of the village dates back to much earlier, to the Etruscan age when the strategic importance of the place was perceived as a natural harbor. In the Middle Ages, Lerici became an important commercial center for goods arriving by sea. But from an historical point of view there is an extraordinary precedent: in Lerici in 1987 the twelve year old Ilario Sirigu found some fossil footprints of 220 million years ago and were attributed to dinosaurs and other extinct creatures.
Castle of Lerici: is the famous polygonal fortification, dominating the rocky promontory of the gulf. It was built starting in 1152 and underwent numerous alterations by the maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa, which contended for ownership. It represents one of the most significant examples of Ligurian castle architecture. The castle and its views have been painted by artists from all over the world and is today a cultural and exhibition center. It can be reached either by lift from the underground tunnel, or with a stairway of 168 steps or passing by the alleys of the old town. A curiosity: at the entrance, on the right, there are the ancient catapult stone bullets that no one has ever managed to remove.
The walk along the seafront to the marina is pleasant but, even wandering around the ancient village, interesting discoveries are made: the Church of San Francesco d'Assisi, whose original nucleus dates back to the 13th century, the Oratory of San Rocco from the 12th century, numerous stately homes like Ca 'Doria which represents an intact example of the typical noble building of the sixteenth century Genoa, Ca' Rugia, a typical tower house, Villa Padula, by the writer and baroness Emuska Orczy Borstow. Among the things to do, baths in the waters of the gulf cannot be missed: the widest beach is located before the town, in the Venere Azzurra area where the famous Villa Marigola is also located, then other bathing establishments are located on the seafront, while behind the castle there is a small pebble beach.
San Terenzo: a small and enchanting fishing village, located just before Lerici, it has a fine sandy beach and a fifteenth-century castle that dominates the rocky spur at the western end of the bay. News of the village dates back to the Middle Ages: the traffic of wine and oil was intense and there was a hospitable place. According to legend, the monk Terenzio went on a pilgrimage to Rome. The monk was assassinated by brigands and the countries of the area contended for the right to have his body. A destination for artists, first of all Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley who had their home on the waterfront, but also Henry James, Lord Byron, Arnold Böcklin, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Gabriele D'Annunzio.
How to reach Lerici:
Parking: Locality La Vallata (Lerici), Loc. Carbognano (Lerici), Loc. Bagnara (San Terenzo), Via Milano (San Terenzo), P. zza Ghidoni (loc. Venere Azzurra), Parking Erbetta (Lerici). A convenient pay shuttle bus service (€ 1 per day) connects the rest areas to the historic centers.
Information points and Tourist Reception: Venere Azzurra, Tel. 0187 969164, San Terenzo in Via Gozzano.