Park Area

The Regional Natural Park of Porto Venere extends as a western extension of the Gulf of La Spezia, which includes the headland of Porto Venere, the islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto and the Marine Protection Area.

In the late Quaternary period, the separation of the islands from the headland did not cause a differentiation in the floral level; this accounts for the same flora on the islands as on the mainland, and for some, but not many of the native dwellings.
Furthermore, the various Mediterranean species distributed westwards, reaching their north-western limit of distribution at these coasts, increase the overall prestige of the floral ecosystem.
Because of such presences of flora the entire area is divided into Sites of Community Importance (SCI) zones  identified by the governmental instruction 92-43-CEE, known as “Habitat Policy”, whose goal is to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity, as well as of the wild flora and fauna in the territory through the conservation of natural habitats.
The Territory maintains a strong natural character to the present days and is covered with flourishing Mediterranean scrub as a sign of its constant dynamism in the different microclimates: ranging from a situation of scrubland to one of scrub with multiple aspects, as well as Holm oak and pine forests of Aleppo pine mixed with maritime pine and other oak trees (Cerro and Roverella).

A special mention must be made of the Porto Venere Cornflower and the Tarantolino lizard. The first is a small perennial plant, an exclusive native to the headland and the islands, which belongs to the family of the Composite; with a brilliant purple inflorescence it grows as a bush that hugs the typical cliffs of the western area of the Park.
The Tarantolino is the smallest European gecko (8 cm including tail), a strictly nocturnal reptile, distinguished by its disjointed clinging areal parts. In the region of Liguria it can be found at Torre Quezzi (GE), and on island territories exclusively on Tino and Tinetto. The rarity of this small gecko is testified by its listing in the Red List of UICN ( International Union for the Conservation of Nature) as “near threatened”, next to be classified as endangered, for this reason the two small islands have been designated as SCI areas (SCI IT1345103).

Another phenomenon of note is karsification: fully present throughout the Park, we find its major appearance on Palmaria Island, distinguished by a calcareous substrate, rich in caves, narrow wells and deep chimneys with ascendant course and by surface karsic features such as swallow-holes, dolines and ploughed field formations.Portoro stone is another important feature: a limestone with golden streaks, known to all as marble, largely extracted in the 1800s and 1900s and exported worldwide.