This tiny town on the Italian Riviera was strategically planned at the tip of a rocky peninsula overlooking the Gulf of La Spezia. Its 12th-century tall, narrow houses climb precipitously up the hillside from the sea. Portovenere is built on different levels; visitors enjoy strolling through the narrow streets, delighting in the town’s unique ambiance. From Portovenere it is possible to explore the ruggedly beautiful Ligurian villages of Cinque Terre. With their steep-walled coastal cliffs, the villages of these “Five Lands” are perched high above the sea, commanding spectacular views. The 13th-century San Pietro church stands above a grotto named after Lord Byron. Brightly painted with black and white stripes, this striking landmark can be spotted from far out at sea. From the terrace enjoy a spectacular panorama of the Gulf of La Spezia and the hills of Cinque Terre.