What to see in Lerici

Perché soggiornare a Lerici?-Lerici-Porticciolo-Castello-Barche-case colorate-estate

A Brief Guide to Discovering the Charms of the Ligurian Seaside Village Beloved by Poets

Wondering what to see in Lerici? This article aims to help you dispel any lingering doubts about where to spend your upcoming holidays or a delightful weekend!

Lerici is a distinctive town in the Gulf of Poets in the Province of La Spezia. Besides the town itself, its territory encompasses various hamlets and locations, with San Terenzo, Venere Azzurra, Fiascherino, and Tellaro being the most prominent.

With a beach tradition dating back to the 19th century, Lerici became a favored destination for affluent European cultural figures seeking extended stays. The locals’ long-standing hospitality has contributed to Lerici becoming one of Liguria’s preferred destinations, consistently earning the Blue Flag for beach cleanliness and quality services. Lerici also serves as an excellent starting point for exploring other Gulf of Poets villages and the renowned Cinque Terre, often chosen as a launching point for excursions to Tuscany’s nearby art cities. 

However, Lerici’s history traces back much further, chosen early on by the Etruscans and later by the Romans as a port city due to its sheltered location. Throughout the Middle Ages, Lerici underwent various dominations, first by Pisa and later by Genoa, until Liguria’s annexation to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815.

After this brief historical introduction, let’s explore what to see in Lerici.

What to see in Lerici: The Beaches Venere Azzurra

La Venere Azzurra

Our brief itinerary follows the western coastline, skipping San Terenzo, covered in a separate article, from Venere Azzurra to Lerici Castle and Fiascherino, with a detour inland.

Venere Azzurra boasts a spacious equipped beach bathed in crystal-clear waters, dominated by a green hill hosting one of the Gulf’s most significant villas: Villa Pernigotti.

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Glimpse of the Venere Azzurra Beach (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

What to see in Lerici: Monuments in the Historic Center

Continuing along the promenade leads to Lerici’s ancient urban core. The vibrant colored houses in the center immediately catch the eye, offering a pleasant stroll. Shortly after, you’ll encounter the Tower of San Rocco and its adjacent oratory. The former, initially a Roman defensive tower, transformed into a watchtower in the 12th century and later the bell tower of the Oratory church in the 16th century. During this period, an octagonal spire with an oriental flair was added, making it unique and recognizable. The latter, built in 1287, housed pilgrims arriving at the port on their way to the Via Francigena, preserving many artistically significant works, including a canvas by Domenico Fiasella.

what to see in Lerici- Church of San Rocco-oratorio-Lerici-Piazza-Palme-Gulf of Poets-Colorful houses
Church and oratory of San Rocco in Lerici (photo by gildas_f on Visualhunt CC BY)

Equally artistically significant is the 17th-century San Francesco church, characterized by simple and distinct lines, hosting significant works by Genoese school artists, with Domenico Piola being the most renowned.

Historical Residences and the Castle

Lerici’s historic center also boasts essential historical residences, such as Ca’Doria and Ca’Rugia. The former, once inhabited by Andrea Doria, reflects the architectural style of 16th-century Genoese noble houses. The latter stands as a beautiful example of a tower house, maintaining its architectural features over time, including an external marble staircase and a decorated sandstone balcony. Returning to the coast, you encounter the imposing Lerici Castle, built by the Pisans in the 1200s and later expanded by the Genoese, preserving its external walls almost intact. Inside, an interesting Gothic-Ligurian chapel dedicated to Santa Anastasia can be found. The Castle also serves as a venue for compelling art exhibitions.

What to see in Lerici: The “Butterfly of Light” and Fiascherino Bay

In Lerici’s hinterland, specifically on Mount Caprione, ancient menhirs with astronomical functions can be found. The most intriguing aspect is undoubtedly the “Butterfly of Light,” occurring around the summer solstice. During this phenomenon, the setting sun passes through a gap created by a megalithic formation, projecting a beam of light onto a menhir, forming the shape of a butterfly. This spectacle is undoubtedly Lerici’s most astonishing sight!

Butterfly of light - menhir - paleolithic - megalithic park - astronomy
Butterfly of light
Butterfly of light - menhir - paleolithic - megalithic park - astronomy
Butterfly of light

Returning to the coast leads to Fiascherino Bay, renowned for its splendid beaches, crystal-clear waters, and the stay of English writer D.H. Lawrence between 1913 and 1914. From the beach, you can enjoy the most romantic sunsets in the Gulf.

Lerici is not only rich in history and natural beauty but also offers excellent cuisine. Read on and discover it with us! You’ll dispel any remaining doubts about why staying in Lerici is a great choice.

What to eat in Lerici: Fish, Biscuits, and Excellent Wine

A complete Lerici stay should include dinner at one of the excellent seafood restaurants along the waterfront. Among the many menu options, don’t miss the quintessential dish: Lericina seafood soup, accompanied by a glass of IGT Gulf of Poets wine. If you have a sweet tooth, seize the opportunity to taste Lerici’s delicious Anise Biscuits. They are delightful on their own but especially paired with a good cup of milk or cappuccino.

Now that you know what to do and see in Lerici, hurry to book! Lerici is incredibly popular! By the way, if you’re still unsure where to stay, click here and discover the best accommodations at the best prices!


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Article Name
What to see in Lerici
Discover what to see in San Terenzo with our guide! Uncover the best attractions for an unforgettable vacation in Lerici
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La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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