Visiting Pisa from the Cinque Terre

Visiting Pisa from the Cinque Terre

Visiting Pisa from the Cinque Terre is not only easy, but it is an excellent alternative on rainy days, and we recommend it!

Suppose you are our fan/follower on social networks. In that case, you know that we often recommend visiting our destination calmly, dedicating the right time to villages, hiking paths, and experiences, perhaps extending your stay a little to be able to experience something that goes beyond the classic postcards pics from the Cinque Terre.

In reality, however, a very valid reason to extend your holiday in the Cinque Terre is that from here you can easily visit our beautiful surroundings: from the Gulf of Poets to Tigullio with the noble Portofino, from the hinterland with historic villages and food and wine products to unique cities such as Genoa and Pisa and then Lucca and Pietrasanta with sculptors and marble quarries to discover. There is something for all tastes.

A day trip to Pisa

The Cinque Terre are about a hundred kilometers from Pisa, and the well-known Tuscan city is easily reachable by train, changing in La Spezia. The journey takes about an hour, and there are dozens of trips every day in both directions.

From the train station, you can then reach the main tourist and historical-cultural sites in a few minutes walking.

We know that when you read “visiting Pisa,” you thought of the Leaning Tower. Still, just as the Cinque Terre offer much more than the colorful and perfect Instagram shot, Pisa also has much more to offer: historic buildings, monuments, and museums are witnesses of the Maritime Republic, which for centuries was in direct competition with our Republic of Genoa.

Furthermore, Pisa is a renowned university city, dynamic and lively.

Visiting Pisa

Starting from the station, we advise you to walk towards Corso Italia, the shopping street and probably the most famous alley in the city. You can reach the Church of Sant’Antonio with a quick detour and enjoy the colorful Tuttomondo mural signed by Keith Haring. Pass Piazza del Carmine and Piazza Gambacorti, also known as Piazza della Pera (i.e., Pear Square). You will arrive at the Logge dei Banchi at the entrance to the Ponte di Mezzo, a loggia designed by Buontalenti in the early 17th century, home to the wool and silk market.

Before crossing the bridge, we recommend visiting Palazzo Blu, where you can perhaps see one of their stunning temporary exhibitions, and the small Church of the Spina, in pure Gothic style.

Then continue towards Lungarno Galilei, where you can admire the city’s architectural evolution, Palazzo Lanfranchi, and the beautiful octagonal Church of San Sepolcro, dedicated to the Templars.

On the other bank of the Arno, you can stroll along the Lungarno Mediceo and admire Palazzo Medici, the residence of Cosimo Il Vecchio and Lorenzo Il Magnifico, known as Palazzo Vecchio. Then the church of San Matteo flanked by the National Museum. You can then head towards Borgo Stretto, a medieval street dotted with historic shops and suggestive arcades.

Borgo Stretto then flows into Borgo Largo from which to reach on the left Piazza dei Cavalieri, the seat of the Scuola Normale, the Church of Santo Stefano, the Palazzo della Carovana and above all the mythical Dante’s Hunger Tower, where Count Ugolino della Gherardesca was imprisoned with his children and grandchildren.

Continuing for about a kilometer, you arrive in Piazza dei Miracoli, with the famous architectural complex representative of the cycle of life, consisting of the Baptistery, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and Cemetery, and the mythical and much-coveted Leaning Tower, the bell tower of the Cathedral, a remarkable example of Pisan Romanesque in gray and white marble, decorated with polychrome marble.

To climb the Tower, we recommend that you book your ticket online in advance. To visit the Duomo, the Opera del Duomo Museum, and the Sinopie Museum, we recommend buying a combined ticket.

If you feel like visiting something else in the city before returning to the Cinque Terre, we recommend the Botanical Garden. A few minutes walk from Piazza dei Miracoli, and then the Museum of Ancient Ships, and a walk along the walls of Pisa.

If, on the other hand, you opt for a half-day visit, you can dedicate the afternoon to visiting the nearby and wonderful Lucca, to which we will dedicate a post shortly!

A trip to Portofino from the Cinque Terre

A trip to Portofino from the Cinque Terre

A trip to Portofino from the Cinque Terre is not only very feasible, but we recommend it!

If you follow us on social media, you will know that we often repeat to visit calmly and dedicate the right time to villages, trails, and experiences, perhaps extending the stay a little to experience something that goes beyond the glossy postcards of the Cinque Terre.

In reality, however, a very valid reason to extend your holiday in the Cinque Terre is that from here you can easily visit our wonderful surroundings: from the Gulf of Poets to Tigullio, from the hinterland with historic villages and food and wine products to unique cities such as Genoa and Pisa and then Lucca and Pietrasanta with sculptors and marble quarries to discover. In short, there is something for all tastes.

A trip to Portofino

Portofino, included within the Regional Natural Park of Portofino, is a typical Ligurian coastal village, once inhabited mainly by fishermen, whose boats were protected by the shape of the small bay – within the Gulf of Tigullio – surrounded by colorful tower houses arranged in a semicircle around the famous Piazzetta.

To reach it from the Cinque Terre, you have several options:

  • by car, a means of transport we also advise against to reach our own villages, you can reach Portofino in about an hour and a half from Riomaggiore, via La Spezia (A12 Genoa – La Spezia motorway, Rapallo exit). On arrival, however, you will have the problem of parking, between scarcity and high costs;
  • by train, in about an hour and twenty, with change in Sestri Levante and arrival in Santa Margherita Ligure, from where, perhaps after visiting the village, you can take a bus (line 882) or take a one-hour panoramic walk;
  • by boat, from La Spezia or Levanto in July and August, or getting by train to Rapallo or Santa Margherita and treating yourself to a twenty minutes boat trip, discovering stunning Portofino from the sea;
  • with one of the several boat tours offered in our area. The most expensive option, but undoubtedly the one that offers the most beautiful, complete, and certainly unforgettable experience!

Visiting Portofino

As you already know, Portofino is today a favorite destination of the international jet set, chosen by many VIPs for their summer stays, in the splendid villas that dot the bay or aboard the sumptuous boats that have now almost completely supplanted local fishing boats.

Over a stroll between the Piazzetta and the pier, a glass of wine by the water, and maybe some crazy shopping in the famous fashion boutiques, we recommend a walk to the lighthouse and then to the Second World War bunker, and then a visit to the following monuments downtown:

  • Divo Martino Church: in Romanesque-Lombard style, it is dedicated to San Martino of Tour and was donated to the monks of the abbey of San Fruttuoso by Queen Adelaide, widow of Ottone I. Note the bronze portal signed by Costanzo Mongini, depicting the eighteenth-century miracle of San Giorgio which unleashed a violent storm to save Portofino from a pirate assault;
  • Church of San Giorgio: a small and suggestive oval temple on the cliff, reachable along a narrow creuza. The present building, however, is the result of an almost complete reconstruction following a bombing during the Second World War;
  • Brown Castle, formerly San Giorgio: it is a military fortress whose remains of the watchtower date back to Roman times. The current building dates back to the 16th century, with extensions wanted by the Genoese Republic and then developed by Napoleon, who strengthened its defensive system. In 1870 the castle was sold to Sir Montague Yeats Brown, English consul in Rome; since 1961, it has been owned by the municipality which uses it for cultural events.

From here, if you plan well, you can also visit the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, hiking along a splendid and ancient path, or by boat. However, we will talk about San Fruttuoso in another post because it really deserves a trip to itself and another day, perhaps even including a visit to lovely Camogli.

The Gulf of Poets

The Gulf of Poets

What to visit when staying longer? The Gulf of Poets, a pearl of the eastern Liguria and a perfect excursion from the Cinque Terre.

Ci sia arriva con il battello per Porto Venere e prendendo successivi collegamenti via mare da lì, oppure raggiungendo La Spezia in treno e poi spostandosi con gli autobus cittadini o ancora con le autovetture elettriche a disposizione dei turisti in città. Il nostro consiglio è però, per un’esperienza veramente indimenticabile e su misura, è quello di organizzare una gita in barca personalizzata, contattando uno dei barcaioli elencati qui.

Not only poets

The Gulf of Poets is actually the Gulf of La Spezia, so named by the playwright Sem Bonelli who during the funeral of Paolo Mantegazza pronounced a historical phrase for those who live in this area: “Blessed you are, oh poet of science who rests in peace in the Gulf of Poets”.

Among the poets who loved and sang the gulf stand out George Sand and Alfred De Musset, David Herbert Lawrence, Emma Orczy, Montale, Petrarca, Marinetti, Soldati, D’Annunzio, Lord Byron, and Shelley, who drowned right in the gulf, sailing on board of his schooner, Ariel.

But the gulf was also drawn by great painters such as Turner and Botticelli, who painted here his Venus, Simonetta Cattaneo, loved by Lorenzo the Magnificent and lady of the villa of Fezzano, whose vestiges can be visited today.

The Guld

Le Grazie

A picturesque fishing village nearby Porto Venere, famous for the yards of traditional fishing boats, for the storage of historic Tall Ships and other prestigious sailing boats, for the archaeological park of the Varignano residential villa of Roman-era and for the homonymous bastion, once lazaret of the Republic of Genoa, later penal bath of the Kingdom of Sardinia and today seat of the Italian Navy’s “Incursors”.

Porto Venere

An ancient village with an important history, Porto Venere is today one of the most renowned seaside villages in Liguria, with one of the most colorful and photographed Genoese palaced building and narrow alleyways that climb from the marina to get to the church of San Lorenzo and from there to the Castello Doria and its beautiful views. Love at first sight is usually the reaction when discovering the church of San Pietro, overlooking the sea.

A quelli che giungono dal mare appare nel lido il porto di Venere e qui

nei colli che ammanta l’ulivo è fama che anche Minerva scordasse per tanta dolcezza Atene

sua patria…

Petrarca

San Terenzo

San Terenzo is a hamlet of Lerici and they are connected by the Vassallo seafront promenade. An ancient village where time seems to stand still and where the sea dominates unchallenged and marks the life of those who pass by. Its clear beaches are certainly the highlight of the village, but the castle built on the cliff, above the cave known as Tana dei Turchi, is also remarkable.

Lerici

In the Middle Age and until the Baroque era Lerici was a very important port, from which goods and pilgrims left along the Via Francigena or towards northern Italy. The Jewish ghetto, the castle, the geo-paleontological museum, Villa Marigola with its park in a dominant position, and then the typical alleys and squares on the sea are simply very beautiful.

Fiascherino

Fiascherino is a small corner of paradise, known above all for Caletta Lerici with its emerald green sea and a cliff of rare beauty.

Tellaro

Tellaro is a typical seaside village perched on the cliff, entirely pedestrianized, made up of staircases, and salty steep alleys impregnated with brackish. The medieval fortifications are still clearly visible: the walls to the north and the two towers of Pisan origin transformed respectively into the bell tower of the church of San Giorgio and into the town gate.

The islands in the Gulf of Poets

In front of Porto Venere there a lovely archipelago with the Palmaria, Tino, and Tinetto islands.

La Palmaria è l’isola più grande della Liguria e offre un bel sentiero per il trekking nonché bellissimi punti panoramici sul tutto il golfo.

Tino is a military zone and can only be accessed on San Venerio, on 13 September, when the patron saint of La Spezia, protector of the lighthouse keepers, is celebrated.

Tinetto is a small spur of rock coming out of the sea, home to an ancient oratory whose ruins can be visited. Famous among sailors because a statue of the Madonna, the Stella Maris, was installed on its southern tip to signal an outcropping rock.

Torre Scola

Also known as Torre di San Giovanni Battista, it is a pentagonal military building of the Republic of Genoa, built in 1606 on an islet in the heart of the Gulf of Poets. Defensive location of Palmaria together with the Cavour and Umberto I fortresses and the Batteria Semaforo.