The etymology of the name Palmaria has its origins from the Celtic-Ligurian word "Barma" which means grotto.
The isle of Palmaria interrupts Porto Venere’s horizon, it is separated from the medieval village by a narrow channel known as "Le Bocche" (the mouths).
In the IV and V centuries of the Christian Era, with the diffusion of monachism, monasteries rose on the island, the early Christian ruins of which have dis-appeared. The historical circumstances of Palmaria are strictly linked to those of Porto Venere, through thick and thin.
Never to be forgotten was the double assault by Imperial and Pisan troops, overland and sea, suffered for 20 days during the summer of 1242. All the olive trees and vineyards of the island were destroyed, probably the S. Giovanni village and monastery, where S. Venerio found his vocation, followed the same fate.
Today the island offers tourists many panoramic routes between hill tops covered with thick Mediterranean bush and cliffs that drop down to the sea. Palmaria has recently become a regional natural reserve, regulated by the Law on Natural Parks.
The island is connected to Porto Venere by ferries and private boats which off-load tourists at the Terrizzo, departure point of all excursions: to the left is a wide track, via dello Schenello, and to the right is the beginning of the asphalted road, where the B&B-restaurant "Locanda Lorena" is open all year round. Near the coast are the mussel beds, strung between typical wooden and iron poles. Following via dello Schenello, to the right of some old public washing-troughs, the real route begins, countersigned by a red mark. Beyond some high-wire fencing is the roof of the ex-fortress ex-prison Umberto I.
Following the path which leads through thorn bushes, the tracks re-joins the island’s old asphalted road. To the left is the unique view of Torre Scuola , a fort built by the Genoese in 1606. All around a mixture of smells from the local vegetation blend together: sage, strawberry-trees, myrtle, broom, and acacias.
From the house of the Roccio, old photoelectric station today one of the most beautiful Ligurian terraces, you can appreciate the view of the isle of Tino. From the path that runs along by a dry stonewall of old vignards is the descent to Pozzale, the wide inlet with its beach is the second mooring place for the island. In this area, where the landscape gains a magic atmosphere thanks to the smells and colours of the Mediterranean bush is the restaurant "Il Pozzale" with full view of the isle of Tino. The road follows round the ex-Portoro quarry, a beautiful black marble with golden veins. On the south-western part of the island, along the peaks populated by colonies of seagulls is the entrance to the Grotta dei Colombi (Doves Grotto), which testifies the colonisation of the island by prehistoric man. Traces of the Palaeolithic Era were discovered by the geologist G. Capellini in 1869, the findings are kept in the Civic Museum of La Spezia. Another path leads to the Semaforo, a military post near the Cavour fortress which is surrounded by cluster-pine trees. To the left of the fort a path descends to Cala Alberto Point and from here it returns to the Terrizzo. An alternative route is to follow the asphalted road and then descend towards the sea via a gully which leads straight down to the mooring point at the Terrizzo. Other evocative grottoes of the island are: the grotto of the Sharpshooter (also Known as the Volcanic Grotta) and the more evocative Grotta Azzurra, to which access is possible only by boat..
V I V A R A
||REFRESHMENT POINTS on Palmaria
1) Hotel/Ristorante LORENA situated immediately opporite Porto Venere
località Terrizzo - Tel. 0187 792370.
2) "POZZALE Restaurant" on the south-eastern side of Palmaria, facing Tino island - Tel. 0187 791103
3) GABBIANO public beach with bar and possibility to hire chaor and umbrellas and moor boats
località Punta Secco Palmaria - Tel. 0187 792710
Associazione Amici delle Piccole Isole