From the dock of Porto Venere, a boatman takes us to Palmaria, crossing the Bocche channel that separates the town from its islands in the Gulf of La Spezia. Boatmen are available year-round on the dock and are always ready to transport tourists and hikers who wish to reach the island. From the arrival point at the Palmaria dock, the trail begins, forming a ring around the island.
The first part is quite easy, and the view stretches from the Gulf of La Spezia to Versilia, the Apuan Alps, and even towards the Gorgona Island of the Tuscan Archipelago. On the clearest days, you can even spot Corsica.
On the gently ascending path, you’ll encounter many military constructions of great historical interest: at the summit, there’s Fort Conte di Cavour, the experimental battery now used as an environmental education center, and the Semaforo battery. Near Punta Scuola, you’ll find the armored tower Umberto, which was used as a military prison after World War II and has been renovated in recent years. As you continue to ascend, you’ll reach a panoramic point with a splendid view of Tino Island. The path then descends towards the famous Gabbiani beach, where you might encounter friendly goats. Finally, in the southern part of the island called Pozzale, you’ll come across an abandoned quarry that was once used for extracting the precious black marble with golden streaks known as Portoro. The remains of cranes and hoists used for moving marble blocks are still present, as are the walls of the miners’ residences.
From here, the trail becomes more challenging, running along the edge of the sea but offering spectacular panoramic views. You’ll traverse the Mediterranean scrub until you reach the Torretta, which is the highest point on the island, before descending back to the dock and your starting point.