As I wrote in the title, Tino is an island. It is located close to Portovenere in province La Spezia, eastern Liguria. Tino is a seat of a military base of Italian Marines and normally it is closed for a public. However, once a year, on the day of the feast of the patron of the island, it is possible to visit it! This year I managed to go and see it! And now I wanna describe for you what I saw there and if it was worth to go there 😉
The island situated in the Ligurian Sea, at the westernmost end of the Gulf of La Spezia. It is part of an archipelago of three closely spaced islands jutting out south from the mainland at Portovenere. The largest of the three, Palmaria, lies to the north and the tiny Tinetto to the south. The island is 127000 m² and its perimeter is almost 2 km.
It is said that the patron saint of the Gulf of La Spezia, Saint Venerius (in Italian San Venerio) lived in on the island as a hermit, and later as abbot, until his death in 630. It is believed that a local sanctuary was constructed at the place of Venerio’s death to contain his remains and that this was extended to form a monastery in the eleventh century. The remains of the monastery can be seen on the northern coast of the island. The monastery functioned till 1446. In the XIX century, a lighthouse was constructed here. Today the island, which is part of a military zone, is surmounted by the San Venerio Lighthouse.
The island is important from the naturalistic point of view. Its uncontaminated water and nature make the visit an unforgettable experience. The views are stunning, nature is rich.
On the island are present numerous examples of different kind of plants (like: uphorbia dendroidesa, Crithmum maritimum , Senecio Cineraria, Glacium flavum, Spartium junceum, Carpobrotus acinaciformis) and animals (like: European leaf-toed gecko, Common kestrel, European herring gull, Common raven, European shag.
The most important sites of the island are the ruins of the monastery (unfortunately this year closed to the public), the local museum of the Tino island and the lighthouse. The entrance to the museum is free of charge. Inside you can see the antique finds that were found on the island. During the feast of Saint Venerius, the lighthouse is open as well. You can go up to the lighthouse. From the top, you can admire a beautiful view of the Ligurian Sea, Ligurian and Tuscany coast and nearby Palmaria Island.
Near to the local harbour, you can find a small beach where you can swim. Another place where you can take a bath is located on the eastern side of the island.
WARNING! On the island, you won’t find any shops or supermarkets (military zone). That’s why it is so important to bring with you some water and something to eat!
Remember, that the island is a military zone and it is full of soldiers and you are allowed to go only where the path and the buildings are open to the public.
In 1997, Tino island together with the whole archipelago, Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
How and when visit Tino island?
The island of Tino is still a military zone and normally it is closed to the public. However, as I’ve mentioned above, the feast of Saint Venerius is celebrated annually on 13 September. On that date and during the weekend that follows 13th September the island becomes visitable. You can get there by using a ferry from La Spezia or Portovenere. Every year the website of Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti presents schedule and the way how and where you can take a ferry to Tino island.
For me, Tino island is really worth visiting. Especially because it is still very authentic, uncontaminated and so peaceful place of Liguria. If you are going to come in Liguria on 13th September don’t miss this magical island!