Lerici: The Complete Guide

Lerici La Spezia
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Evelyscher

Lerici stands as a cherished and renowned tourist destination along the captivating Riviera di Levante, celebrated for its stunning beaches and picturesque vistas.

For those seeking a seaside escape on the Riviera di Levante, where basking under the sun and the allure of the sea are paramount, Lerici emerges as the ideal destination. Each day beckons a new and distinct beach to explore, all boasting the hallmark of Ligurian waters—crystalline and transparent.

Lerici’s advantageous location also serves as a launching pad to explore the treasures of the surrounding region. Embark on boat excursions to Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, or venture into the charismatic realms of neighboring Tuscany.

Nestled within the Gulf of Poets, Lerici’s appeal as an inspiration for renowned poets and writers of yore is not lost. The likes of Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley, figures of English Romanticism, were captivated by the breathtaking panoramas that Lerici has always presented. Echoing this literary legacy, historical evidence reveals that even centuries before, eminent local writers such as Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio graced Lerici with their presence. In more recent times, luminaries like Giosuè Carducci and Gabriele D’Annunzio continued to seek solace in this enchanting village.

Amidst days filled with sea swims and romantic evenings in the village’s quaint restaurants, let the allure of Lerici transport you. Traverse its corners, seeking out the most romantic enclaves of this Eastern Ligurian gem.

History of Lerici

Lerici is a picturesque town located in the Liguria region of northern Italy, nestled along the Gulf of La Spezia, also known as the Gulf of Poets. Its rich history is intertwined with maritime activities, literary heritage, and strategic military importance over the centuries.

Lerici in the Ancient and Medieval Period

The history of Lerici dates back to ancient times. The area was inhabited by the Etruscans and later by the Romans, who appreciated its strategic location. However, it was during the Middle Ages that Lerici began to gain prominence. The town came under the control of the Republic of Genoa in the 13th century—a major naval power during the medieval period. This affiliation brought Lerici into Genoa’s extensive maritime and commercial networks.

Genoese Fortress and Maritime Significance

One of the most iconic historical structures in Lerici is the castle, Castello di Lerici, which dates back to the 12th century. It was significantly expanded and strengthened by the Genoese in the 15th century to protect the town from pirates and naval invasions. The castle overlooks the sea, serving as a guardian of the town and a reminder of its military importance. This fortress is a key landmark and now houses a paleontological museum.

Lerici & The Gulf of Poets

In the 19th century, Lerici became part of the newly unified Kingdom of Italy. During this time, it gained a reputation as a part of the “Gulf of Poets” because it attracted a number of famous English Romantic poets. The serene and inspiring landscape of Lerici drew figures such as Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary Shelley, author of “Frankenstein.” Tragically, it was also here that Percy Shelley drowned in 1822 when his sailing boat sank during a storm near the town.

Tourism and Literary Heritage

Since then, Lerici has transformed from a strategic military outpost to a beloved tourist destination, renowned for its beautiful landscapes, charming streets, and sandy beaches. The literary connections have only added to its allure, attracting tourists who are interested in the Romantic poets and their works.

Modern Era

Today, Lerici is a blend of its historical past and modern tourism, with well-preserved ancient architecture alongside vibrant cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. The town is still a popular destination for Italian and international tourists, drawn by its historical significance, cultural heritage, and natural beauty.

Lerici’s history is a fascinating tapestry of military strategic importance, literary heritage, and picturesque beauty, making it a unique destination on the Italian Riviera.

Visiting Lerici for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Lerici on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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3 Best places to See in Lerici

This complete guide to Lerici not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Lerici and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Tower and Oratory of San Rocco, Lerici

Tower And Oratory Of San Rocco, Lerici
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Paolo da Reggio
At the heart of Lerici lies Piazza Garibaldi, a vibrant central square that gazes out towards the sea and is embraced by picturesque pastel-hued homes. In the summer months, this plaza bustles with tables and tourists, creating an animated atmosphere. Within this lively hub stands the oratory of San Rocco, an edifice that traces its […]
Location: Oratorio di San Rocco, Largo Guglielmo Marconi, Lerici, SP, Italy | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Tower and Oratory of San Rocco, Lerici

Lerici Castle

Lerici Castle
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Mirco Savoncelli
The commanding castle perched atop a rugged promontory watches over the town of Lerici, its origins dating back to the mid-200s during the era of maritime republics and the ongoing rivalry between Pisa and Genoa. Originally constructed by the Pisans, the castle took its form in the midst of a conflict with Genoa. In 1256, […]
Location: Castello di Lerici, Piazza S.Giorgio, Lerici, SP, Italy | Hours: Winter (from 20 October to 15 March) Tuesday to Friday: 10.30a.m - 12.30a.m Saturday, Sunday and the Christmas Period from 26 December to 6 January: 10.30a.m- 12.30a.m / 14.30p.m - 17.30p.m Closed on MondaySpring (from 16 March to 30 June) Tuesday to Sunday and holidays: 10.30a.m- 13.00 p.m / 14.30 p.m- 18.00 p.m Closed on MondaySummer (from 1 of July to 31 August) Tuesday to Sunday and holidays: 10.30a.m - 12.30a.m / 18.30p.m- 24.00p.m Closed on MondayAutumn (from 1 of September to 19 October) Tuesday to Sunday and holidays: 10.30a.m- 13.00p.m / 14.30p.m - 18.00p.m Closed on Monday | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Lerici Castle

Villa Marigola, Lerici

Villa Marigola
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Waterborough
Nestled between Lerici and San Terenzo on a promontory, Villa Marigola stands as a testament to historical and architectural grandeur. This exceptional mansion is encompassed by one of the rare Italian-style gardens that overlook the sea. Since its construction in the 18th century, its exquisite park and panoramic location have ignited the creativity of poets […]
Location: Villa Marigola Centro Congressi, Via Sebastiano Biaggini, Lerici, SP, Italy | Website | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting Villa Marigola, Lerici

Best Time to Visit Lerici

Lerici, situated on the Gulf of La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy, is a charming coastal town known for its scenic beauty, historic landmarks, and relaxed atmosphere. Here’s a guide to the best time to visit Lerici:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to visit Lerici as the weather begins to warm up, and the town comes alive with blooming flowers and lush greenery. This season is ideal for exploring Lerici’s picturesque streets, admiring its colorful buildings, and taking leisurely walks along the waterfront promenade. Spring also offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking in the nearby Montemarcello Magra Natural Park and boat trips to the nearby Cinque Terre villages.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is peak tourist season in Lerici, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. This is the best time to enjoy Lerici’s beautiful beaches, including the sandy shores of San Terenzo and Venere Azzurra. Summer also brings a variety of cultural events and festivals to Lerici, including music concerts, art exhibitions, and food fairs. However, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices during this time.
  3. Fall (September to November): Fall is another great time to visit Lerici, as the weather remains pleasant, and the summer crowds begin to dissipate. This season is ideal for exploring Lerici’s historical landmarks, such as the Castle of Lerici and the Church of San Francesco. Fall also offers opportunities for culinary experiences, such as sampling fresh seafood at the town’s many restaurants and trattorias, and visiting local markets to taste regional specialties.
  4. Winter (December to February): Winter in Lerici is relatively quiet, with fewer tourists and cooler temperatures. While the weather may be cooler, winter still offers opportunities for scenic walks along the coastline and exploring Lerici’s charming streets without the crowds. Winter is also a great time to enjoy cozy meals in the town’s restaurants, shop for local crafts and souvenirs, and relax in cafes overlooking the sea.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Lerici depends on your preferences for weather, crowds, and activities. Whether you’re interested in beach relaxation, cultural experiences, or culinary delights, Lerici has something to offer for every traveler throughout the year.

Average Temperatures in Lerici

  • January 13°C 16
  • February 13°C 19
  • March 16°C 14
  • April 19°C 14
  • May 23°C 14
  • June 28°C 9
  • July 31°C 5
  • August 29°C 6
  • September 26°C 14
  • October 22°C 21
  • November 16°C 27
  • December 13°C 23

How to get to Lerici

Getting to Lerici, a charming town on the Ligurian coast of Italy, is quite straightforward whether you choose to arrive by car, public transport, or boat. Here are the main options for reaching Lerici:

By Car

If you plan to travel to Liguria by car, you’ll find excellent motorway connections to the main cities in the region. The main road, SS1 – Aurelia, provides a scenic route covering all of Liguria, from Ventimiglia to La Spezia to Pisa. Key motorways to consider include:

  • A12 (E80) from Genova to Livorno: Exit at the Sarzana tollbooth, which is 8 km away from Lerici.
  • A15 from Parma to La Spezia: Exit at the S. Stefano Magra tollbooth, which is 6 km away.

The roads leading to the town offer beautiful views of the Ligurian coastline. Parking in Lerici is limited, especially during the peak tourist season, so consider parking on the outskirts and walking or taking a shuttle into the center.

By Train

The regional rail network offers convenient connections to all destinations in Liguria, making train travel a pleasant and convenient way to explore the region. Liguria is also well-connected to international railway routes from Nice, Mont Cenis, Gothard, Germany, Austria, and Eastern Europe. When visiting the Cinque Terre National Park, it’s advisable to use regional trains, as the historic centres of the Cinque Terre villages are closed to car traffic. This makes train travel the recommended way of reaching and exploring this beautiful area. Major rail lines in Liguria include:

  • The Ventimiglia to La Spezia line, serving Northern Italy travellers.
  • The Savona to Genoa route connecting Liguria with passengers coming from the Turin direction.
  • Travelers from Milan will use the Genoa route.
  • Those coming from Parma will use the La Spezia route, which then connects to the Tyrrhenian line leading to Rome, Naples, and Southern Italy.

By Bus

Buses run regularly from La Spezia to Lerici, with services typically increasing during the summer months when the demand is higher. This is an economical way to travel and allows you to enjoy a scenic approach to Lerici through the Italian countryside and coastal roads.

By Boat

One of the most scenic ways to arrive in Lerici is by boat. During the summer, there are ferry services that connect Lerici with other towns in the Gulf of Poets, including Portovenere and the Cinque Terre villages. Arriving by boat offers stunning views of Lerici’s castle and coastline, providing a memorable entrance to the town.

By Air

The nearest airports to Lerici are Pisa International Airport and Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport, both about an hour’s drive away. From these airports, you can rent a car, take a train, or use bus services to reach Lerici.

Each transportation option offers a different experience, whether it’s the convenience of driving, the economy of public transport, or the scenic beauty of arriving by boat. Depending on your starting point and preferences, you can choose the mode that best suits your needs for visiting Lerici.

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