The Tino Island and the San Venerio Festival
The Tino Island is a very small pearl in the Gulf of Poets, between the Palmaria and the beautiful Porto Venere. In 1997 it was included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with the island of Tinetto and the five villages know as Cinque Terre.
Visiting the Tino Island during the San Venerio Festival
The Tino Island can only be visited during the San Venerio Festival, the patron of the Gulf of La Spezia and, since 1961, the protector of the caretakers of the Italian lighthouses. He was born on Palmaria and lived in his own hermitage on Tino until his death, celebrated on September 13th.
There are actually three days of visits and events, this year on September 13th, 16th and 17th. The program includes a solemn Mass on 13th at 11 a.m., followed at 12:15 by the Angelus and the blessing of the boats. On this occasion you can visit the island, but not the museum or the lighthouse.
On September 16th and 17th, however, everything will be open to the public between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Access to Tino Island and sightseeing are free and no reservation is required.
What to see on the island
The ruins of the monastery on the north coast of the island: this is the monastery dedicated to St. Venereo and built on its grave. In the 7th century Lucius, the bishop of Luni, built a sanctuary to the memory of the saint and in the eleventh century it was transformed into a Benedictine monastery. The Benedictine monks were then followed the Olivetans who maintained the monastery until 1446. Today the convent is home to a small archaeological museum.
The lighthouse of Tino: a small neoclassical fortified building, wanted by King Carlo Alberto and powered by vegetable oil. In 1884 another tower was built, higher than the original one, topped with incandescent lenses, powered by two steam engines. However, this system gave too much power to the beam of light and in 1912 the system was replaced with an oil vapor one. Thanks to the arrival of the electric power, the light was electrified, while the complete automation took place in 1985.
There are also several ruins of turrets and other defensive elements built over the centuries and scattered on the island.
Getting to the island
The only way to reach the Tino Island during the San Venerio Festival is the ferry from Porto Venere or La Spezia.
From Porto Venere at 10 – 11 – 12 – 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., getting back at 11.15 – 12.15 – 2.15 p.m. – 3.15 p.m. – 4.20 p.m. and 5 p.m. The ticket costs 8 € for adults and 5 € for children from 6 to 11 years old.
From La Spezia (pier in Viale Italia) at 9.10 – 10.20 – 11.30 – 2.00 p.m. and 3.15 p.m., getting back at 10.50 – 12 – 2.30 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. The ticket costs 12 € for adults and 8 € for children.
Another beautiful option can be a sailing day in the Gulf of Poets.
P.S. Next to the smallest Tinetto Island you can see the statue of Our Lady, a Stella Maris that seems to float, but that actually marks a rock outcrop to sailors.