Palmaria, island of sirens and military strongholds
Welcome to Palmaria, Liguria’s largest island. With Tino and Tinetto it makes up the small La Spezia Archipelago, west of the Gulf of the same name. Officially part of the Portovenere municipality, it faces the small village from the sea.
Percy Shelley called it the “Island of Sirens” because he was charmed by a beautiful sound he heard when approaching it – actually just the sound some of his boat’s ropes, which vibrated in the wind.
The island is roughly triangular and some even claim Botticelli traced its shape when painting the cloak that Spring offers to the goddess of love in his iconic “Birth of Venus”…
Contrasting these romantic anecdotes, we should mention Palmaria’s close connections to war: on its top you’ll find strongholds, experimental artillery and armored towers – while the dense Mediterranean scrub hides anti-aircraft bunkers and artillery posts dating back to the Second World War.
The beautiful Palmaria – with its smaller sisters in the La Spezia Archipelago, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.