The village was initially destroyed by the Longobards after the 7th century, before being brought back to life (together with the islands of Tino and Tinetto) thanks to a major monastic movement during the Middle Ages dedicated to San Venerio (the patron saint of Portovenere). This subsequently brought the village within the sphere of influence of Genoa, and in the 12th century, the Castle was built, which to this day towers over the whole village. The Genoese were also responsible for building the walls around the village, as well as the churches of San Lorenzo and San Pietro (the latter in the 13th century, following the occupation of Lerici). From the same period are the characteristic tower-houses also found in the five villages of the Cinque Terre.
Numerous events are held in Portovenere throughout the year, especially during the summer. On 17 August, the village celebrates the Madonna Bianca, during which Portovenere is bedecked with garlands and illuminated with tea-lights throughout, while a procession crosses it from end to end. The patron San Venerio is honoured on 13 September, when a procession transports the relics of the saint to the island of Tino.
Finally, Portovenere represents the very best the Gulf of Poets has to offer, with monuments and points of interest that – along with the unique landscapes – have inspired artists and poets throughout history. Some of the most important include Byron’s Grotto (the famous poet stayed here in the 19th century), the Castle, already mentioned above, dating back to 1161, and the archipelago of the Three Islands, Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, where the Regional Natural Park of Porto Venere was created. There are also two churches from the 12th and 13th century, San Lorenzo and San Pietro, while the Sanctuary of San Venerio is located on the islands of Tino and Tinetto, which to this day are home to historical findings and traces dating as far back as the 11th century.