Lerici is a town and a district located in the province of La Spezia in Liguria (northern Italy), part of the Italian Riviera. Its nearest bay is the Bay of Lerici. The town is connected by ferry to the Cinque Terre and Portovenere.
One of the main sights of Lerici is its famous castle which since its first founding in 1152 was used to help control the entrance of the Gulf of La Spezia. Today the castle contains a museum of palaeontology.
The origins of the town date back to the Etruscan period. In the Middle Ages the town came under Genovese control. After it had been sold to Lucca, it became involved in a series of conflicts between Genoa and Pisa, as it was on their common border. In 1479, the town came under Genovese sway for good.
Italian painter Oreste Carpi spent many years in San Terenzo making hundreds of paintings and drawings reproducing town landscapes. English writers Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley lived some three miles north in an isolate d old boat house called Casa Magni, and anchored their sailing boat in Lerici. Their closest neighbours were the villagers of the tiny hamlet of San Terenzo. Percy Bysshe Shelley was drowned on July 8, 1822 in theBay of Spezia, returning to Lerici from a journey to Leghorn and Pisa. His corpse eventually washed up on the beach at Viareggio, located approximately halfway between Livorno and Lerici. The popularity of Lerici with the Shelleys and with Lord Byron earned the Golfo di Lerici its title of the Golfo dei Poeti, the Poets’ Bay.
Hungarian author Baroness Emmuska Orczy, author of The Scarlet Pimpernel had a villa built in the hills above Lerici, near the locality of Bellavista, and called it La Padula. Orczy and her husband Montague Barstow spent several months there in the 1930s – alternating between La Padula, Villa Bijou in Monte Carlo, and trips to Britain. Eventually they decided to abandon fascist Italy for Villa Bijou. La Padula still stands today.
Lerici is one of the mariner communities which take part in the Palio del Golfo, a rowing contest held in La Spezia every first Sunday of August.
Italian author Mario Soldati had a residence in the suburb of Tellaro.
The castle of Lerici: www.castellodilerici.it
What to see in Lerici: www.terredilunigiana.com/eng/golfodeipoeti/lericiarte.php