September 2018 – On the same day that we visited Pisa, we managed one more stop, and I am so glad we did. I saw Porto Venere from a distance, when we stopped for me to take some photos, I suddenly realised that I was seeing a gem. I did’nt have to beg too much for husband to drive about another 30 miles, if you could go straight, no time at all, but we had to go back through La Spezia and then follow the coast until we reach Porto Venere. So off we went in search of this wonderful medieval town, it was getting late, and I just hoped that we would be able to visit the church I could see at the end of the town.
This was my first sighting of Porto Venere
We did have trouble parking, the same as we had earlier in that day, but this time we were not giving up. We ended up in a nearby marina, not sure if we should have parked there, but by then we really didn’t care. A brisk walk, and we were there. I could not stop smiling, this is what I had wanted to find, these amazing colourful tall slender houses.
The town had been made a UNESCO site along with the Cinque Terre in 1997, but this picturesque town on the Gulf of The Poets is still under the radar of millions of international visitors flocking to Cinque Terre. There were tourists there, but really only a handful, compare to the villages of the Cinque Terre, it was more like Portofino. We made our way to the church, as I was panicking that I wouldn’t get to see it……..of course it was open, in fact they were getting ready for wedding later on in the evening. Now….. that I would have loved to have seen. After our visit to the church ( post to follow) we ambled back through the narrow streets of the town. It was still very hot, and I would have loved to have visited the other church and castle, but I was still suffering from the cold from hell, and there was no way I could climb the steps to both of them. I just wished that we had had more time, but even this short visit was special, after my disappointment with all the tourists in the Cinque Terre, Porto Venere more than made up for it.
History…..Porto Venere has roots that predate the Romans, though the name was bestowed by them in homage to the goddess Venus. After the fall of the Roman empire, the Byzantines took an interest here, but were overtaken by the Lombards in the 600’s. Later, Porto Venere was made famous due to the interest taken in its by famous poets and authors, who sought its wild bay as a place of inspiration. Namely Lord Byron who took a sybaritic interest in the place, for meditation by the sea and inspiration for his many works.
Next post……The Church.
Grotto of Byron
The Castle of Doria or “Castello Superiore” built for the Genovese ruling family from the 12-16th centuries.