LERICI | LIGURIA REGION
Lerici is a village along the Italian Riviera on the Bay of Lerici, also called the Gulf Pearl, which has recently become appreciated as a tourist center, though had always been a favorite destination for poets and writers, including Boccaccio, Petrarch, Shelley and Byron, D.H. Lawrence.
Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary lived about three miles north in an isolated old boat house called Villa Magni, and anchored their sailing boat in Lerici; the poet drowned on July 8, 1822 in the Bay of Spezia, returning to Lerici from a journey to Leghorn and Pisa, and he is buried in the English cemetery in Rome.
Its name comes from portus illycis, possibly derived from the Greek iliakos (that is, originary of Troy), leads to the theory that it was founded by refugees of the trojan war. This is confirmed by the similarity of the territory to the Trojan coast, and by the name of a bay, Venere Azzurra, dedicated to Venus, the goddess worshipped by the Trojans.
In Roman times Lerici was a minor center, but after the fall of the ROman empire in 476 AD and the rise of Genoa, Lerici became a war theatre for the strife between Genoa and Pisa.
In 1241 after the Giglio island battle, Pisa occupied the town, and changed it into a fortified harbor, but only 15 years later Genoa reconquered Lerici and the castle of San Giorgio was built. For a century, between 1396 and 1491, it was occupied by the French, who used it as a transit port. Then in the 17th and 18th centuries it grew in importance, and in the 19th century was very active in the movement for Italian unity.