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The vast expanse of boats of all kinds and sizes at anchor between April and October says more than a thousand words about the appeal of Golfo dei Poeti among those who sail the Tyrrhenian side of the peninsula. The big cove between Lerici and Portovenere – and La Spezia lying in the middle – is a must for summer cruisers sailing through the Mediterranean (large vessels included) as well as a meeting point for sailors longing to spend some days in one of the best Italian scenarios.

The whole area surrounding Portovenere is a natural amphitheatre of rare charm, which together with the neighbouring Cinque Terre, has been part of UNESCO heritage since the end of the ‘90s. One of the reasons why this area is consistently atop the wish-list of sailors planning a cruise or a weekend along the northern Tyrrhenian coast is the broad choice of shelters where to spend the night, also protected by the islands nearby Portovenere, i.e. Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. The whole area is quite safe also thanks to its muddy, good holding grounds. Sailing from North, access to the bay of Portovenere and its beautiful old village raised on sheer cliffs is through a narrow stretch of sea, where the utmost attention has to be paid to seabed depth and rocky outcrops. However, the view is well worth the effort!

From there, on the left, the small harbour is close to the village. Going on sailing, many private piers are located in the areas of Fezzano, Le Grazie, La Spezia and so on. However, if your boat is provided with a reliable anchor line, I will strongly recommend to ride at anchor between the island of Palmaria (the only one in this area which is partially inhabited) and Portovenere or Le Grazie. Careful attention must be paid both to huge yachts and to countless large boats crowded with the thousands of day tourists visiting the islands and Cinque Terre. As in high season these trips are almost continuous it is imperative to avoid dropping anchor in transit areas or, even worse and yet quite frequent, to mistake a large boat buoy for a free mooring place. You may risk to wake up with something of a shock by a horn or be fined by a Coast Guard patrol boat. Look for a shelter far enough from commercial and tourist marine traffic where to spend your quiet nights, the choice is wide. Always check the nautical charts to be aware of possible navigation restrictions due to military areas or shallow seabeds.

The islands and the coast are at a very close distance, which means a dinghy, even a small one, is ideal to sail around looking for the perfect place to take a bath far from the crowd or shop in the village. In short, this is one of the best spots to spend some days on a boat, no matter if a sailing boat or a motor boat. The area is rich of charming natural and architectural beauties such as the stunning cliff part of the Regional Natural Park of Portovenere that overlooks one of the most picturesque coves of the Mediterranean (with the Byron’s Cave where the poet used to spend long stays) or the magnificent St. Peter’s church, clung to the renowned promontory. The countless traditional colourful houses, brightly lit at night by thousands of lights make the whole view even more impressive.

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