Palmaria (island)

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Native name:
Isola Palmaria
Titti and Piscinin.JPG
The Blue Cave
Italy provincial location map 2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Location Ligurian Sea
Total islands1
Major islandsPalmaria, Bergeggi, Gallinara, Tino and Tinetto
Region Liguria
Province La Spezia
Official name Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)
Criteriaii, iv, v
Designated 1997 (21st session)
Reference no. 826
State Party Italy
Region Europe and North America

Palmaria is an Italian island situated in the Ligurian Sea, at the westernmost end of the Gulf of La Spezia. Measuring 1.6 square kilometres (0.6 sq mi), it is the largest island of an archipelago of three closely spaced islands jutting out south from the mainland at Portovenere. The other islands, Tino, and the tiny Tinetto lie further south.

Italy European country

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in Southern Europe, and it is sometimes considered as part of Western Europe. The country covers a total area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.

Ligurian Sea Arm of the Mediterranean Sea between the Italian Riviera (Liguria) and the island of Corsica

The Ligurian Sea is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea, between the Italian Riviera (Liguria) and the island of Corsica. The sea is theorized to be named after the ancient Ligures people.

Gulf of La Spezia

The Gulf of La Spezia is a body of water on the north-western coast of Italy and part of the northern Tyrrhenian Sea, specifically of Ligurian Sea. It measures some 4.5 (length) by 3-3.5 (width) kilometers.


In 1997, the archipelago, together with Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Cinque Terre rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera, Liguria

The Cinque Terre is a coastal area within Liguria, in the northwest of Italy. It lies west of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris, France. Its declared purpose is to contribute to promoting international collaboration in education, sciences, and culture in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.


The marble caves Marble caves on Palmaria island (Liguria, Italy).jpg
The marble caves

The Palmaria island with a surface area of 1.89 square kilometres (0.73 sq mi), is the largest of three islands in the Gulf of La Spezia and the Liguria region of the whole, the other two islands, Tino and Tinetto meet down a few hundred meters straight line to the south.

The island has a triangular shape: the sides that face Portovenere and the Gulf of La Spezia are the most humanized and slope gently down to the level of the sea, covered by typical Mediterranean vegetation, the side that faces west, i.e. towards the open sea, is instead characterized by high cliffs overhanging the water, in which there are many caves. The sides humanized see the presence of some private homes, a restaurant (in Pozzale) and especially bathing establishments, both public and confidential employees of the Navy and Air Force.

As for the western side, the most difficult to reach, are worthy of note the Blue Cave, visited by boat, and the Cave of Pigeons, which can be reached only by climbing down ropes. The latter in particular has been very important in the study of historical events in the Gulf, as have been found inside the fossilized bones of Pleistocene animals such as chamois and the snowy owl, but above all remains of human burials, testifying the presence of man at least five thousand years ago.

The Pleistocene is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world's most recent period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.

On the island there are also many buildings of a military character and of great historical interest: the top, inaccessible as a former military area and is currently in a state of neglect, the Fort Count of Cavour (or Fort Palmaria), the battery now used as experimental environmental education center and Batteria Semaforo near the Scola Tip, the tower ironclad Umberto I and used in World War II to a military prison and renovated a few years ago and the remains of the battery Albini, scattered throughout the island, several bunkers from the Second World War and the remains of coastal artillery and antiaircraft mostly inaccessible since abandoned and submerged vegetation.

Portoro marble

Remarkable is the presence (in the south, called Pozzale) of an abandoned quarry, once used for the extraction of the precious black marble with streaks of gold called portoro. There are still remnants of cranes and hoists used for moving the blocks of marble and the walls of the houses of the miners. [1]

Natural habitat


The flora of Palmaria is composed of about 500 species. The original vegetation, which was to be formed mainly from the Mediterranean and the forest of oak, was modified to anthropogenic causes such as fire, agriculture, introduction of alien plants and animals (plane trees, palms and rabbits). Today the pines ( Pinus pinaster and Pinus halepensis ) share space with typical Mediterranean species such as oak ( Quercus ilex ), oak ( Quercus pubescens ), mastic ( Pistacia lentiscus ), strawberry tree ( Arbutus unedo ), the cysts ( Cistus monspeliensis , Cistus salvifolius, Cistus incanus), the gorse ( Spartium junceum ), etc.. Other important groups are the spot to plant spurge ( Euphorbia dendroides ) and nearest to the sea cliffs on those characterized by samphire ( Crithmum maritimum ). Among the new flora, Centaurea cineraria veneris, Iberis umbellata var. linifolia, exclusive in Palmaria, Centaurea aplolepa lunensis, endemic to eastern Liguria. Finally, also worth Brassica oleracea robertiana, Serapias neglecta and Cistus incanus, rare in Liguria, where it reaches its northern limit.

<i>Pinus pinaster</i> Species of plant

Pinus pinaster, the maritime pine or cluster pine, is a pine native to the Mediterranean region. It is a hard, fast growing pine containing small seeds with large wings.

<i>Pinus halepensis</i> species of plant

Pinus halepensis, commonly known as the Aleppo pine, also known as Jerusalem's oren, is a pine native to the Mediterranean region. Its range extends from Morocco, Algeria and Spain north to southern France, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania, and east to Greece, all over Malta and northern Tunisia, with an outlying population in Syria, Lebanon, southern Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Palestinian territories.

<i>Quercus ilex</i> species of plant

Quercus ilex, the evergreen oak, holly oak or holm oak, is a large evergreen oak native to the Mediterranean region. It takes its name from holm, an ancient name for holly. It is a member of the Cerris section of the genus, with acorns that mature in a single summer.


Islands of Palmaria and Tino Palmaria Tino.jpg
Islands of Palmaria and Tino

On the island there are some of the largest reptile wildlife emergencies, such as tarantolino Phyllodactylus europaeus, the smallest of the European geckos, easily recognizable by the absence of tubercles on the dorsal side. In addition to the islands of Tino and Tinetto, this is present in very few other sites in Liguria. Between the birds deserve to be mentioned the kestrel ( Falco tinnunculus ), peregrine falcon ( Falco peregrinus ), sparrowhawk ( Accipiter nisus ), the red partridge ( Alectoris rufa ), gulls ( Larus argentatus , Larus michahellis ), the raven ( Corvus corax ), rock thrushes ( Monticola solitarius ), cormorant or shag ( Phalacrocorax aristotelis ). Between the mammals you mention the bats found in caves: the trunnion ( Plecotus auritus ), the greater horseshoe bat ( Rhinolophus ferrumequinum ), the lesser horseshoe bat ( Rhinolophus hipposideros ). There are colonies of rabbits and goats, remains of a recent past when the island was inhabited more than now. Between the invertebrates on the islands is to report the beetle Parmenas solieri, an endemic species linked to the Tyrrhenian patch of spurge.

The climate is typically Mediterranean, with a temperature range, both daily and seasonal. In winter there are very few episodes of extreme cold and frost, while in summer the heat is damped by the effect of sea breeze, the modeled rainfall trends on the Riviera di Levante, presenting abundant, especially in autumn and spring. For the maritime links is possible reach the island by private boat or, in the summer months, with ferries that connect to Portovenere, Lerici and La Spezia.

See also

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Coordinates: 44°02′34.21″N9°50′37.92″E / 44.0428361°N 9.8438667°E / 44.0428361; 9.8438667