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Explore hidden Italy in Portovenere

Away from Rome's iconic Colosseum or the beautiful Trevi Fountain, Italy has much more to offer in the shape of the wonderful Portovenere.

Located on the Ligurian coast of Italy, this stunning town is home to beautiful architecture, quaint villages and is only a stone's throw away from some stunning islands.

Portovenere is easily accessed by road, by foot or even by boat. From La Spezia, take a 30 minute bus journey - costing about two euros - or you can travel by boat, which costs approximately eight euros. Aim to sit on the right side of the boat for the best views of the shore.

For those who prefer to come on foot, there are a number of well-marked footpaths in nearby Cinque Terre and Portovenere. The walk from Riomaggiore to Portovenere will take around four hours but it is a particularly beautiful way of exploring the local area.

Once you arrive, make your way straight to the Doria Castle of Portovenere. This beautiful castle offers spectacular panoramic views across the town and the San Pietro church. The castle was built sometime between the seventh and eight centuries and belonged to the Doria family, who were a huge part of life in the Gulf of Genoa.

From here, walk around the marina to get a good view of The Palazzata. Not only are these beautiful houses known for their variety of colours, they also interestingly appear to be anchored to a rock and are almost hanging over the sea.

Between these houses are staircases, which will take you up to the main street in Portovenere. Whilst in the town, it is worth visiting the Town Gate and Tower, which has been standing in the same spot since 1113, and the Church of San Lorenzo. This is the home of the August 17 celebrations of the Miracle of the White Madonna, the patron saint of Portovenere.

If you're keen to get off dry land, head over to Palmaria Island, a short boat trip away. Tourists flock to this island so there are plenty of boat trips throughout the day. Whilst on the island, have a go at the two and a half hour walk around the land mass; there is plenty to see and take in.

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