Lerici, the castle, the inspiration and the outdoor activities

Lerici is at the eastern end of the Gulf of Poets, and has contributed much to that name. Romantic poets and poets of more recent times loved to visit and live in this town.

You can appreciate the most suggestive view of the Gulf from the coast of Lerici and its heights. For this reason, nobles from all over the world chose it for the construction of sumptuous villas; one of the most beautiful is undoubtedly Villa Marigola, which belonged to a family of the Sarzanese aristocracy and was endowed with one of the most significant examples of Italian gardens in the country.

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But this is, first of all, a town built in Liguria’s most characteristic medieval style. We can indeed say it represents the last important “bulwark.” Going south from here, the so-called spiaggioni of Punta Bianca and Punta Corvo break with their rocky spurs at the beginning of the lower and sandy Tuscan coast. And this borderline position certainly marked the town’s history in the past, long disputed in medieval times between the Republics of Genoa and Pisa. Due to its strategic position, the Lerici castle was at the center of wars to control the coast. Today Lerici is a tourist center with a large port for private boats and a beautiful promenade on the sea often chosen by the inhabitants of La Spezia, who reach it in a few minutes for weekend relaxation. You can walk from the seafront to nearby San Terenzo, another medieval village dominated by its castle. On the hottest days, you often linger on the sandy beaches that alternate with rocks, which is quite rare in the area. And it is definitely for sea lovers that Lerici is a dream place; its entire coast offers glimpses, beaches, coves, caves, and quaint seaside villages. Tellaro undoubtedly stands out above all with its unique and timeless beauty. Lerici stands out in the tourist offer for the wide choice of outdoor activities and the numerous restaurants and nightclubs that enliven life not only in the peak tourist season.

What to do in Lerici

But not only culture is the protagonist in Lerici. Outdoor activities are widely practiced on the coast of Lerici, as seen on the municipality’s site dedicated to culture and tourism. You can book many experiences to enjoy in the seaside resort. The shallower coast of Lerici and the “long wave” that refracts there, in addition to the constant calm of the sea protected by the Gulf of Spezia, allows you to practice many water sports. Summer is teeming with sea activities, even the strangest ones: kayaking, surfing, SUP, diving, windsurfing, and water biking…  The e-biking circuits of Lerici and Montemarcello are among the most loved by professionals of this sport. E-bike is also perfect for those who want to admire the Gulf from the heights of Lerici with one of the beautiful e-bike tours of Lerici. Trekking and running are also popular activities for those who visit Lerici because its heights offer a unique perspective on the beauties of the Gulf of Poets.

La costa di Lerici è ideale da visitare in barca, per poter apprezzare tutte le sfumature di questa costa frastagliata e panoramica. Ci sono tantissime possibilità per prenotare esperienze in barca a vela o a motore e anche per imparare a stare in mare: la Scuola di Mare di Santa Teresa è un’importante realtà a livello nazionale per apprendere l’arte di stare in mare.

The view of Lerici and the Bay of the Poets from La Serra locality Ph. Samuele Bertoli

10 things to do in Lerici

Beaches in Lerici

The beaches of Lerici are among the most loved in the Golfo dei Poeti by locals and visitors due to the sandy and sandy coasts, which are quite rare in the La Spezia area. Even the services are excellent compared to other beaches in La Spezia. The best-known beaches of Lerici are:

– La Venere Azzurra (partly private establishment)
– Il Colombo (private establishment)
– The Lido (private establishment)
– San Terenzo beach (free beach)
– Marinella beach (free beach)

Lerici Castle

The large, beautiful castle of San Giorgio stands on a small mountainous promontory called il Poggio, an offshoot of Mount Caprione, the “guardian” mountain of Lerici. In the 2nd century AD, a small spur for the dock between Pisa and Genoa is included in the  Geography by Claudius Ptolemy. Around the tenth century, the prominent Longobard family of the Obertenghi controlled the territory and gradually handed it over to the control of the local feuds. Finally, the Lords of Vezzano, who ruled Lerici, ceded the village’s and castle’s dominion to the Genoese. These obtained control over the entire Gulf of La Spezia. The first construction of the castle and the development of Lerici as a commercial center are probably due to the Pisans. They arrived in 1241 following the battle lost by the Genoese on the island of Giglio. Genoa then reconquered Lerici, but the small village was due to become the scene of bitter clashes between Guelphs and Ghibellines and numerous destructions of the small town. Nevertheless, the Lerici castle never went destroyed. Subsequently the dominations of the Aragonese, Medici, Genoese again and then the French of Napoleon and the English followed one another in the castle, up to the Kingdom of Italy which decreed the end of the disputes forever. 

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On the Venere Azzurra sea promenade, walking towards San Terenzo, there are 33 commemorative plaques and lecterns in memory of the winning poets of the annual Lerici Pea poetry prize. It’s is the first “walk of fame” of Poetry of Italy, which Lerici has created in honor of the fame of poetic inspiration that is always alive in the Gulf. The municipality will add a new license plate every year. It is the Walk of Poetry, inaugurated in 2019 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of Sem Benelli, creator of the name “Golfo dei Poeti”.

San Terenzo

San Terenzo town is closely connected to Lerici and its history, being at the opposite end of the small inlet where the castles of the two villages look at each other. Walking from Lerici, it takes about 20 minutes from castle to castle. Arrived in town, the small crowd of “gozzi” (the local wooden boat” colors the Brusacà square.

San Terenzo grew up with the trade of wine and oil produced in the Lerici hinterland. The original name of Portiolo (oil port) was replaced when Terenzio, a wealthy Scottish pilgrim, landed in medieval times and donated material and spiritual goods to the town. Here he was appointed bishop of Luni. A plaque remembers thanks from Garibaldi, who came here, hosted by the many red jackets who joined the enterprise of the thousand to unite Italy from here.

The castle that dominates the small village was built in 1360 and had a different history from that of Lerici. No king or higher power wanted it; the inhabitants built the fortress for self-defense. There were no armies or rulers but a succession of inhabitants of the village who assumed the role of military defenders, first as guardians with a watchtower and then as defenders from Saracen invasions with a bastion (hence the nickname Den of the Turks. In recent times, it joined in the defense efforts of the bay in joint with Lerici and its castle.

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