Lerici is a Ligurian township at the eastern end of the Italian Riviera. An idyllic seaside town on the bay of La Spezia, it is well known for its fabulous, secluded beaches and dramatic mountains diving straight into the sea. The relative privacy found drew a crowd of philosophers, writers and poets: from Dante and Shelley to Byron, earning it the nickname Golfo dei Poeti, the bay of poets. The landscape certainly inspires creativity, from the waterfront piazza with its trompe-l'oeil frescoed buildings, to the charming seaside cafés lining the harbour.
Yachts and gozzi, the typical small fishing boats of the area, jostle for space. The medieval fishing village is dominated by the castle. Built during the 11th century on a rocky promontory, it towers above the port.
Head along Via Roma, where you can dip into the many boutiques, selling traditional Italian goods and high fashion. The Gothic chapel Sant Anastasio at the top of the castle offers a godlike view across the Riviera and the Golfo dei Poeti. If you are travelling with children, a morning spent at the Castello di Lerici’s Museo Geopaleontologico will enthral: kids will marvel at life size dinosaurs and can experience a simulated earthquake.