Portovenere Guided Walking Tour
The Carrugio, main street of Portovenere, is very steep. Choose your footwear wisely. If you wish to enter the Castle Doria, an entrance fee of 5 euro is required and not included in the price of the tour. Shop for local goods such as olive oil, wine, and pesto. They make excellent gifts and souvenirs,
Tour Participation Requirements
Special Medical Restriction
The hypnotic beauty of Portovenere has drawn artists, poets, and authors for centuries. But none has been more revered and reviled than the notoriously flamboyant Lord Byron. Born with a club foot, his aristocratic excesses included childhood "tricks" with his nanny, massive debts, numerous bisexual affairs, a rumored tryst with his half-sister, and involvement in Greek and Italian revolutions. Excessive or not, Lord Byron had passion.
He went there in 1822 with his Italian countess wife, a marriage that lasted only a few years. He spent most of his days sleeping and his nights cavorting – rarely with his wife –but did find time to launch a radical journal with fellow poet Percy Shelley. (Wife Mary had recently published Frankenstein.)
An avid swimmer but bad decision-maker, he jumped into the Gulf of La Spezia one day at the base of the Church of St. Peter and swam 4.6 miles to reach his faithful friend's home. He managed to make it ashore, and the feat – and his fondness for Portovenere – are immortalized on a plaque at Byron's Grotto, below Doria Castle.
The gulf was not as kind to his friend – Shelley drowned shortly after Byron's legendary swim when his boat capsized in a storm.
"Bay" rhymes better
In a confusing clash of geographical certitude and poetic license, the body of water in which Byron swam and Shelley drowned is known as the Bay of Poets, the Gulf of Poets, the Gulf of La Spezia, and the Bay of Portovenere. Whatever it's called, the gulf/bay has been a creative inspiration for Shelley, Byron, and countless others. Swimmers from all over the world went there every August to reenact Byron's 1822 crossing.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.