The Doria Castle of Portovenere is a proper example of Genoese military architecture, even though it has undergone some structural modifications due to the progress of fortifications and firearms. When you first glance at Castello Doria, it looks like one solid piece. But it actually consists of two distinct parts positioned at different levels and enclosed in large Cyclopean walls.

The exact date of construction of the first fortified building is still unknown. Historic documents mention it for the first time in 1139, when the Republic of Genoa took control of the hamlet of Porto Venere. The current castle was built on the remains of the more ancient structure in 1161.

In the 13th century, the castle was at the center of the battles between Genoa and Pisa. It ended up under Nicolò Fieschi’s large fief, to eventually return under the control of the Republic of Genoa in 1276. Major reconstruction works took place between the 15th and 17th centuries, to modernize the castle according to the military and architectonic criteria of the time. At the beginning of the 19th century, during the French rule under Napoleon Bonaparte, the Castello Doria was used as a prison.

Today, this ancient fortress belongs to the Municipality of Portovenere. It underwent a series of accurate restoration works in the 1970s. Apart from welcoming hundreds of visitors for some historic sightseeing and panoramic views of the Bay of Poets, it is also a venue that hosts cultural events, art exhibitions and weddings.




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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Alexander Legkikh (10 months ago)
Excellent views on the sea and on the town
Huykyung Byun (14 months ago)
The view from above the castle is fantastic. It is recommended to go up. The old castle itself is reason enough to go up.
Eric Kass (15 months ago)
Wooooow.... Magnificent view of the ocean from this 12th century fortresses protecting the ancient village from attack...
Francesca Vitulano (2 years ago)
If you are looking for a panoramic sea-view venue for your wedding this is the place. At the top floor of the Tiny little village of Portovenere - that is a gem- you can not only visit one of the oldest castle in Italy but admire a 360 degree view. Plus, you can have such a dramatic backdrop while you are exchanging vows. Wedding photos in Portovenere can be amazing and sunset time usually present you with one of a kind light.
Doug Plagemann (2 years ago)
Neat historical place to visit. Great views, it was closed by the time I got there so maybe I would rate it higher if I could have gotten in. It was a relaxing place to be closer to sunset and there were some areas to meander around. For what it was on the outside maybe 3.5-4 stars.
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