Palmaria is an Italian island situated in the Ligurian Sea, at the westernmost end of the Gulf of La Spezia. Measuring 1.6 km², 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. In 1997, the archipelago, together with Portovenere and the Cinque Terre, was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The Palmaria island with a surface area of 1.89 square kilometers, 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, ie 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.
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, salvifolius Cistus, Cistus incanus), the gorse (Spartium junceum).
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 geconide 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).
Climate and Maritime Links
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.