Tuscany – Lerici and Golfo dei Poeti

by Samuele Sodini

Sunset in Lerici

Sunset in Lerici

One of my favorite days out Lucca, and sure fire hit with visitors is a trip up the Versilian coast to Lerici.
There can be few more spectacularly beautiful places even in a country with so many. Lerici and its neighbour San Terenzo nestle in two sheltered little bays within the grander Gulf of La Spezia. Across the water lies Portovenere, and the islands of Palmaria and Tino, guarding the entrance to the Cinque Terre.
Although reached by an easy hal-hour drive up the autostrada (freeway) from Lucca, Lerici actually lies over the border from Tuscany in Liguria. The area was the ancient Etruscan region of Lunigiana, and there have been settlements here since three centuries BC. In the best tradition of these parts, Lunigiana was fought over for centuries by Lucca, Genvoa and even Parma. When the Boundaries of modern Italy were drawn, mosto f Lunigiana was included in Tuscany, but Sarzana and Lerici fell within Liguria.
So what is so special about Lerici? The view and setting i have already mentioned. A hint of its dramatic history is supplied by the castle sitting on the promontori, presumably in the past look out for unfriendly arrivals by sea, but nowdays gazing benignly over the fish market and the well- filled yacht marina below.
A large modern car park ( free on week-days) lies on the hillside between Lerici and San Terenzo, in other words perfectly placed for both pre and post lunch walks along the elegant “lungomare” walkway. Both town have narrow sea front buildings painted in beguiling pastel colours, and you’ll even see the “trompe l’oeil” fake windows and cornices painted on the building sto let you know you’re in Liguria.

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