Additional Location Information
“Me, as the swallow of Anacreonte, I have left my Nile and I migrated here for the summer, in an isolated house in front of the sea and surrounded by the sweet and sublime scenery of the Gulf of Spezia.” This is the way Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote in 1822, and from here we have to depart for learning to love these places. The tour can start from St. Terenzo, just before Lerici, where we can find the castle , the House of Magni that was residence of Mary and Percy B. Shelley and Villa Marigola with its great park, visited by the painters macchiaioli(Florentine impressionist painter), Gabriele D’Annunzio and Sem Benelli, that in the turret in the middle of the park wrote “The dines of the jokes”(La cena delle beffe). Today the villa is a center of studies that organizes conferences and cultural demonstrations.
At Lerici, “warm and blue” (Virginia Woolf), the beautiful slope to the Castle of St. George that is risen on the rocky promontory in front of the bay. Built in 1152 and modified by the pisans and by the genoese, it assumes the actual conformation around 1555. To see, in the inside, the Chapel of Saint Anastasia in pisano-genoese style of the 13th century , with its decorated hallway in bicromia.
Between the castle and the port (the actual Garibaldi Square) Building Doria is found, so called for having sheltred the admiral Genoese Andrew Doria when, in 1528, he betrayed France for Spain, putting to their service his ships for the control of the Mediterranean. Its central body goes up again to the Middle Ages, when it was the headquarter of the hospital of Saints Peter and Paul that gave refuge to the pilgrims going to the holy places. When the restoration was completed, Building Doria will become museum and place of shows and cultural meetings.
“It is in the tenacious cliff, really where the gangrenes appear on the surface (…) that our houses have roots”, writes Luigi M. Faccini of Lerici. A visit is deserved to: the Ghetto, founded in 1676 by the cardinal Spinola, where numerous families of Jewish merchants of leghorn origin was assembled; the street of Rivellino, with the wall of defence of the castle; the slope Arpara, the Vico de’Pisani, the little squares (piazzette) of the Knoll(Poggio) and St. George, this last in front of the castle and the Baroque oratory of St. Rocco in Marconi Square.
The House Rosa of Fiascherino in which the writer David H. Lawrence lived in 1913-14 (“Here it’s very beautiful. I sit on the rock-cliffs in front of the sea for the whole day and I write. I tell you that it is a dream”), it is destination of English cultured tourists.
And here we are finally to Tellaro, “a nirvana between sea and sky, between the rocks and the green mountain”, as Mario Soldati has written. Coming from the sea the little church of St. George and the fortified village introduce themselves as a ship ready for the launching. Tellaro is a corner of world that seems done to protect from the noises of the world. It is here that Attilio Bertolucci, one of the greatest contemporary Italian poets, came to look for quiet in the half seasons. D. H. Lawrence was spellbound from the women that worked in the olive groves, from their voices ringing on the hills: “When I go to Tellaro to take the mail, I always expect me to meet Jesus talking with the disciples as if he went along the sea under the grey bright trees.” The village situated perpendicularly on the rocks of the sea is still enchanting.
It was the place of the soul of Soldati: “ Walk through these narrow streets that emerge in the sea and then take a seat in a corner among the stones of the shore”-he recommended. This has to be done: let him take from the atmosphere. Climb to the ancient (1660) Oratorical of Saint Maria in Selàa and look at the Mediterranean. Recite the verses of P. Bertolani and M. Tuckett: “… tangle of races passed from here / still testify the streets / the colour of the walls moved by the saline / still in the olive struck by the mistral / in the houses of the fishermen / sleep unnoticed Saracen moons…”
The ruins of Barbazzano, among the green of the olives, are an ancient tower in ruins near the ancient gate and the little church devoted to St. George.