Porto Venere is a small town in Italy, next to the Cinque Terre National Park. The name, literally meaning "Port of Venus" (or "Shelter of Venus"), he received in honor of the Roman goddess of love, whose temple was erected here in antiquity. The city combines three small villages: Portovenere, Fezzano and Le Grazie - and three islands: Tino (Tino), Tinetto (Tinetto) and Palmaria (Palmaria). The population of the city is a little more than 4000 people.
Initially, Cape Portovenere belonged to the Fezzano family - one of the three families that ruled the region where the Cinque Terre Park is now located. The main population of the small village on the cape was fishermen; they erected a church dedicated to the apostle Peter - the patron saint of fishers. The church was built on the site of the destroyed sanctuary of the goddess Venus, which once gave the name of the area.
In 1113, Fezzano transferred these lands into the possession of Genoa, and the Genoese turned the cape into a reliably fortified city surrounded by fortified walls. A part of the medieval city fortifications has survived to this day.
In 1997, the city, along with the Cinque Terre National Park, was recognized as a cultural heritage and was taken under the protection of UNESCO.
There are not too many attractions in Portovenere, but it is definitely worth a visit. The main ones are the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, the Church of St. Peter and the Roman Gate.
St. Lawrence Cathedral
St. Lawrence Cathedral (Chiesa di San Lorenzo) was built from 1116 to 1130, after which it was consecrated by Pope Innocent II himself. Over the centuries of its existence, the cathedral has been repeatedly modified, rebuilt and rebuilt: marble columns, black and white stripes on the facade, characteristic of Genoese architecture, an octagonal dome and other details were added to its original appearance. As a result, the cathedral building became a model of an amazing mixture of different architectural styles - Gothic, Renaissance and Romanesque. However, his beauty and grandeur did not suffer from this at all.
On the facade of the cathedral, above the entrance, there is a bas-relief depicting St. Lawrence himself. Inside the temple you can see the old marble altar, skillfully executed wooden crucifix, as well as the image of the White Madonna (Madonna Bianca). It is Madonna Bianca who is the patroness of the city of Portovenere; a holiday in her honor is celebrated annually on August 17.
Church of St. Peter
Church of St. Peter (Chiesa di San Pietro) was built in the middle of the XIII century on the site of a black marble basilica erected seven centuries earlier, also dedicated to the Apostle Peter. The church building was built in the Genoese architectural style: black and white stripes adorning the facade, arched windows and balconies from which visitors enjoy amazing views of the city.
The building is divided into two parts, interconnected by beautiful arches: one of the parts is the church itself, the other is the bell tower under it.
In modern times, St. Peter's Church has become one of Portovenere's most recognizable sights, literally its hallmark.
The Roman gate leading to Via Capellini - one of the main streets of the city - was built in 1113. Next to them is a tower, built almost half a century later - in 1161. Ancient buildings, coupled with narrow streets, seem to carry tourists into the past, several centuries ago, and amaze with beauty and grandeur.
After seeing the city sights, you can go on a boat trip to admire the city from the sea, the beautiful islands of Palmaria, Tinetto and Tino, see the famous caves of Azurra and Arpaia, where once the great English poet George Gordon Byron was very fond of solitude. All this can be seen in the framework of the tour “Around the Three Islands” (Giro delle isole), which lasts about 40 minutes and costs 10 euros per person (for children from 6 to 11 years - 6 euros). If you purchase a single ticket Cinque Terre + Portovenere, then this tour is already included in its price. The season of excursions lasts from April 1 to November 2 of each year.
You can also get by sea to four of the five cities of the Cinque Terre - Vernazza, Manarola, Monterosso and Riomaggiore. There is no port in Corniglia, but you can easily reach it from any of these cities by train.
It is better to book hotels in Portovenere in advance, before the planned trip - otherwise you may encounter a situation when there are simply no empty seats. This often happens at the height of the tourist season, as the city is very popular among tourists.
Hotel Le Grazie
Hotel Le Grazie is 4 kilometers from the center of Portovenere. It offers guests comfortable, classic-style rooms equipped with TVs, air conditioning and other amenities, free parking, a restaurant. Allowed to stay with children of any age, kids up to 2 years old cot is free, as well as an extra bed for children from 2 to 5 years. A night in a double room will cost 87 euros.
Belvedere Hotel's terrace offers beautiful views of La Spezia Bay. It offers beautiful and comfortable rooms with air conditioning, TVs and free Wi-Fi, and organizes excursions around Portovenere, the Cinque Terre and other cities in Italy. The cost of living in a double room is 170 euros per night.
Albergo Ristorante Paradiso Hotel
Albergo Ristorante Paradiso is a luxury hotel on the bay with stunning views of the mountains and the sea. Each room has a bathroom, a small bar, air conditioning, TV; The price includes breakfast (as an option - breakfast + dinner). Guests can make use of the laundry facilities, fax, safe, etc. A night in a double room will cost from 180 to 240 euros.