San Terenzo

What to do in San Terenzo, a village of sailors in Liguria


Today, together with our #Italydreamer Sara Bontempi, we went to San Terenzo, a village of sailors near Lerici, which is all to be discovered.

Read her advice on how to spend the day in this jewel of the Riviera di Levante!

The Village

San Terenzo dates back to the Middle Ages; at the time it was a village of fishermen and sailors, originally called Portiolo, probably because it was also dedicated to the traffics of wine and oil. According to legends, it acquired the current name after the landing of the Saint from Scotland, then appointed bishop of Luni. In the nineteenth century it became known, as it was chosen as a place of residence and inspiration by several poets, including Lord Byron, David Herbert Lawrence and Percy Shelley; for this reason, together with La Spezia and Portovenere, it is part of the famous Gulf of Poets.

Today, San Terenzo is a peaceful village with colorful houses and a relaxed atmosphere; do not miss its suggestive walk, from which you can enjoy a sunset with colors so intense that they seem painted in the sky.

The Villa

Symbol of San Terenzo, Villa Shelley is today a renowned boutique hotel. His fame dates back to 1822, when this white and romantic house with a porch on the beach became the home of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary Shelley, the famous writer of the gothic novel Frankenstein. In 1820 the couple settled in Pisa, and during the exploration of the surroundings, fell in love with that villa just outside the village of San Terenzo.

The Castle

The Castle of San Terenzo predominates over the whole village and completes an evocative landscape setting; do not miss the climb to admire the view overlooking the sea.
Built around the 1400 during the domination of the Republic of Genoa, it was used as a defensive fortress against the attacks of Saracen pirates; in memory of this event, every year, in the summer, the village’s Proloco organizes a historical re-enactment of the famous battle.

Also worth a visit is the cave under the castle, called precisely “Tana dei Turchi”: you get there by passing through Piazza Brusacà, called La Marina by the locals, and then climbing the historic staircase that leads to the entrance of the Castle.

Eating at San Terenzo

What better way to end the visit to this village? Obviously, tasting the local specialties!

Follow the aroma of the oven up to the Rizzoli bakery, and then taste the typical warm Ligurian focaccia. By the locals of San Terenzo it is known as the famous focaccia of the Linetta, name of the historic owner of the oven, even if today the management has been passed down to the daughter Barbara.

Indeed, try a taste of Poncrè, a typical dessert of the village, with a preparation handed down for generations: a sort of plum cake made with raisins, pine nuts and candied fruit, which can resemble the Genoese pandolce. You can find it at Bar Pasticceria Oriani, which owns the secret original recipe.

Did you like Sara’s itinerary? If you visit San Terenzo, it is also worth a visit to Lerici and Cinque Terre, read the tips on this destination!


Article by Sara Bontempi 

Scopri di più: Cinque Terre


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