The picturesque village of Portovenere, nestled on the Ligurian Riviera neighboring the Cinque Terre, is a top destination for weddings and honeymoons, sought by not only Italian couples but increasingly more by foreigners too.
It’s easy to see why:
- the panoramic seafront location and the ancient historic center create the romantic and fairytale-like atmosphere that so many brides long for;
- the strategic position is ideal for visiting the famous Cinque Terre, chic Portofino and the rest of Liguria’s coastline, but also for reaching northern Tuscany (fashionable Versilia, anyone?) and crossing into Emilia Romagna;
- the territory offers great food and wine, ancient history and traditions, enriching culture and art.
Let’s have a look at some tips and ideas for planning and organizing your wedding or honeymoon in Portovenere.
Wedding venues & tips
The top wedding venue in Portovenere is the Church of St. Peter (Chiesa di San Pietro), thanks to its charming interiors, dramatic location on the rocks and romantic, panoramic arches. Consecrated in 1198, it still features white and black bands dating from the thirteenth century. Other wedding locations in town are the Church of San Lorenzo and the Doria Castle.
Across Le Bocche Channel, Palmaria Island can host a wedding in Forte Umberto I, once a military fortress built in the late 1880s. Other wedding venues are located in the nearby village of Le Grazie: the ancient monastery Convento degli Olivetani and the adjacent Sanctuary of Nostra Signora delle Grazie.
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Are you planning or thinking about a wedding in Portovenere? Here are some some ideas and tips to keep in mind:
- The sun sets on the sea, so if you get married in the afternoon you will get the warmest lights, ideal for a spectacular photoshoot
- The historic center of Portovenere is not accessible by car, so it may be necessary to have a shuttle service that brings the guests into town from the nearest parking (about 3 km away); or you can reserve parking spots in the hotels right next to the entrance of the historic gate/on the harbor, such as Grand Hotel Portovenere
- There is one exception: if permission is requested, the bride may arrive at the wedding venue in the historic center by car. Another lovely option is to make a grand arrival by sea, renting a boat (either only for the bride, or even a larger vessel for the guests)
- If there is walking involved in the historic center (especially if going upwards towards the Doria Castle or St. Peter’s Church), the road is quite uneven, so make sure to use comfortable shoes and avoid stiletto heels
Honeymoon in Portovenere & Gulf of Poets
The idyllic Bay of La Spezia is also known as Gulf of Poets because many Italian and international writers and artists were inspired by this location and even chose it as their home. Can it get any more romantic and inspiring than enjoying a honeymoon in such a place?
For newlyweds wishing to stay in a quiet, beautiful location within easy and quick reach of famous attractions, Portovenere is just what they need. The village enjoys a seafront setting overlooking the lush Palmaria Island, the bright turquoise Ligurian Sea and the local pretty harbor. The historic center is ideal for relaxing strolls along the colorful promenade, the characteristic caruggio narrow alley, and its historic buildings such as the majestic Doria Castle. For more on what to see in this lovely village, have a look at “10 Things to do in Portovenere”.
From the harbor of Portovenere you can catch a ferryboat or a taxi boat and reach the Cinque Terre, Palmaria Island, and other beautiful sea villages along Liguria’s famous Riviera. The nearest of the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, is only a 30-minute ferryboat ride away, while the farthest one, Monterosso al Mare, is 70 minutes away. The scenery from the boat, while sipping some delicious local wine and tasting local products, is unforgettable!
What other destinations can you easily visit when staying in Portovenere? Within 30 minutes you can reach Lerici and La Spezia; within 50 minutes Sarzana, Tellaro, Fiascherino and Luni; within 90 minutes Portofino, San Fruttuoso, Tuscany’s Versilia (Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi) and Carrara.
Activities to be enjoyed include wine tastings, visiting wineries and the characteristic terraced vineyards, cooking lessons, diving, shopping, cultural visits in museums and ancient sites, participating in traditional local events.
Honeymoon boutique hotel & wedding venue
Grand Hotel Portovenere is a boutique hotel that has re-opened recently (July 2014) after careful renovation work. Set in a beautiful building that was once a historic convent, it offers a seafront location and its own private garage parking. The on-site restaurant features a panoramic terrace that is ideal for a striking reception or a romantic candlelit dinner.
For weddings, the hotel team is happy to assist in finding qualified figures such as wedding planners, photographers, florists, bakers and makeup artists; and can help in the organization of the event by creating personally tailored proposals.
For newlyweds, Grand Hotel Portovenere proposes special honeymoon packages including a stay in the corner Deluxe Room with enchanting views of the village and Palmaria Island; red roses, spumante and fresh fruit upon arrival in your room; a romantic candlelit dinner served on the terrace; and excursions to the Cinque Terre/Gulf of Poets in a private boat.
For rates and availability, contact Grand Hotel Portovenere directly: telephone +39 0187 777 751 or email