“Sure, it was set to rain and whatnot, but like I would let a few droplets ruin our adventure? If Byron could handle 7.5 kilometers of Mediterranean Sea, um yes well we could handle some rain.” [Georgette Jupe in 36 Hours in Portovenere]
One of the things we wish for most fervently when getting ready for a vacation, is that the weather will be gloriously sunny. Or, we at least hope that the rain will stay out of our way. However, clouds and rain sometimes are oblivious to our pleas and show no mercy. If you are traveling to an area such as the Gulf of Poets and Cinque Terre – where tourism is largely based on outdoor activities like hiking, sailing and sightseeing – don’t panic. There are fun and interesting activities that you can enjoy, other than relaxing in the hotel. So, what can you do on a rainy day in Portovenere, in the heart of eastern Liguria? Here are some ideas!
Get your apron on and join an experienced chef in a hands-on cookery course: you can learn the secrets behind Liguria’s cuisine and Mediterranean flavors. And after putting your chef skills to the test, you can taste your culinary creation accompanied by some great local wines. Looking for a cooking course in Portovenere? Grand Hotel and its Palmaria Restaurant offers cookery lessons upon request. Visit palmariarestaurant.com.
Foodie & Wine Delights
Who can resist some delicious tastings? Typical focaccia, fresh pesto, anchovies, muscoli and other fresh seafood, extra virgin olive oil, Liguria-style rabbit… And it’s not over yet. You can also delight your taste buds with wine tasting, as well as sipping a local limoncino (or limoncello liqueur), marmalades and honey. The tastings can be organized in hotels or restaurants that provide this kind of service, or directly at a farm or wine cellar.
Most of Portovenere’s typical shops are located in the ancient carugio called Via Capellini. During recent years, many VIPs have passed by this characteristic narrow street for their Made-in-Italy shopping sprees. Examples include Sting, Roman Abramovic, Steven Spielberg, and David & Victoria Beckham. What can you shop for here? Please read our article Shopping in Portovenere: handcrafts and typical shops. If you have a car and can move around, you can also enjoy shopping in La Spezia, where you will find more mainstream shops with known international brands.
The rain may make it difficult for you to reach and visit Portovenere’s museum in the Doria Castle, due to the potentially slippery flight of steps and because part of the museum is outdoors. Therefore, if you like museums you can reach La Spezia, about 20 minutes away by car. Here you will find the Museo Civico Amedeo Lia with collections of ancient, medieval and modern art; the Camec Museum of Contemporary Art; the Technical Naval Museum; the National Transport Museum; the “Ubaldo Formentini” Civic Archaeologic Museum featuring local relics dating back to prehistoric and medieval times; the Ethnographic Civic Museum.
If you like books and poetry, a rainy day can be ideal for reading, especially in a place like the Gulf of Poets, which inspired writers such as Lord Byron, David Herbert Lawrence and Percy Bysshe Shelley. If you are not familiar with Italian poetry, you can take advantage of your trip to read poems by Italian writers, such as Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale, who dedicated a poem to Portovenere itself.
Spa & Wellness
On a rainy day, it’s great to relax and indulge with some pampering at the spa, between hot tubs and massages. There is a small spa adjacent to Grand Hotel Portovenere. You should contact the boutique hotel to know about opening hours and seasonal closures. Otherwise, there are larger wellness centers in La Spezia.
Enjoy the Rain
After all, it has its own charms, especially if you have booked a sea-view room overlooking the Gulf of Poets!