“Plan de Porto Venere” by Jacques Ayrouard. Date unknown, artist lived 16.. – 17.. Shows the passage between the “two narrow horrid rocks”. Source: BnF

We embarked in a felucca for Livorno, or Leghorn; but the sea running very high, we put in at Porto Venere, which we made with peril, between two narrow horrid rocks, against which the sea dashed with great velocity; but we were soon delivered into as great a calm and a most ample harbor, being in the Golfo di Spetia. From hence, we could see Pliny’s Delphini Promontorium, now called Capo fino1 . Here stood that famous city of Luna, whence the port was named Lunaris, being about two leagues over, more resembling a lake than a haven, but defended by castles and excessive high mountains. We landed at Lerici, where, being Sunday, was a great procession, carrying the Sacrament about the streets in solemn devotion.

After dinner we took post-horses, passing through whole groves of olive trees, the way somewhat rugged and hilly at first, but afterward pleasant. Thus we passed through the towns of Sarzana and Massa, and the vast marble quarries of Carrara2 , and lodged in an obscure inn, at a place called Viregio.


  1. The order of this text seems incorrect – John Evelyn would have passed Capo fino before arriving at Porto Venere on the way from Genoa.  -GS 

  2. White or blue-grey marble is still quarried there today -GS