Doria Castle in Portovenere

Explore Liguria Castles

Andrea Doria Castle dominates the landscape of Portovenere and overlooks the magical Poet's Gulf . It is an imposing structure with closed sloping walls made of local stone and stands as an outstanding example of the Genoa military architecture.

The Castle was built by the Genoese in 1161 and during the centuries its structure has undergone improvements both on the outside as well as on the inside arrangement.

Portovenere , Andrea Doria Castle

From outside, deceivingly, the castle looks like one vast monolith, but in reality it comprises of two big separate bases surrounded by cyclopean masonry. In the “lower block” we find the main entrance to the building with a view over the village and the gulf.

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From the main entrance you step into a large room with vaulted ceilings which today hosts the ticket boot. From here following a stone staircase you reach the “high block” of the castle with its first terrace which hosts the remains of the grand hypostyle hall . Hypostyle hall was constructed in 1458 with locally sourced stone materials and has a vaulted ceiling made up of eight pillars.

Portovenere Andrea Doria Castle, Liguria Pictures

Above the “hypostyle hall”, we find the “Casa del Castellano” (House of the Lord of the Castle) where in 1500s, the Lord of the Castle or Captain of the People lived, who did not depend on the authority of Podestà of Porto Venere.

Portovenere Andrea Doria Castle, Liguria Pictures

Portovenere Andrea Doria Castle, Liguria Pictures

In the same period, a garrison of crossbowmen and harquebusiers was assigned to the Castle and their living quarters were also located in this area. Unfortunately, today they are not longer recognisable.

Doria Castle affords spectacular panoramic views over
San Pietro Church and the Gulf

You can see the Island of Palmaria in all its glory

As well as Portovenere and the bell tower of its San Lorenzo Church

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In the late 1500s, as the utilisation of fire-arms increased, if was necessary to create an esplanade in the “high block” of the Castle, just above the hypostyle hall.

San Pietro Church from the Doria Castle - in the middle distance you can see 
the remains of the ancient windmills

The north wall of the castle is equipped with the wide slit trenches and watchtowers used to fend off attackers.

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You can get to the top or curtain wall walk through a side terrace overlooking the sea that stretches from southwest to northwest and consists of two sections having a broad summit and massive circular tower with an inserted guard booth.

Great view of Portovenere's remaining towers

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The Castle did not escape the events of Napoleon’s rule unmarked either. Genoa and its age-old republic were handed over Napoleon in 1797 and during this period, the Castle was used as a political prison. As a result of it, the “hypostyle hall” was slightly ruined in order to create the cells as proven by the bar markings visible today.

Portovenere Andrea Doria Castle Structural Plan, Liguria PicturesStructural Plan of the Castle

Nowadays the Castle not only makes for an exciting visit but it is also available for hire where you can hold wedding ceremonies, celebrations and other types of events. There is a lounge with panoramic terrace and amphitheatre available to make your every moment here unforgettable.

Portovenere Andrea Doria Castle AmphiTheatre

Opening Hours

The opening hours for the Castle are as follows:

  • 10:30am to 1:30 pm


  • 2:30pm to 6:30pm

There is an entrace fee as well:

  • € 2.20 for adult

For further information:

  • tel: 0187 793 042


  • email:

Interactive Map of Portovenere

View Golfo dei Poeti in a larger map

Doria Castle

Doria Castle

Thank you for visiting our guide… we look forward to welcoming you to Liguria and hope you will love it as much as we do ! Signiture

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