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Portovenere, Italy

Located on the costal region of north-western Italy known as Liguria in the province of La Spezia lies the hidden treasure of Italy known as the town of Portovenere (Map of Portovenere). The distance from Riomaggiore is only 25 km (around 35 mins with car).

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This treasure comprises of the villages of Le Grazie, Porto Venere, and Fezzano in addition to the three islands of Tinetto, Palmaria and Tino. PortoVenere along with the three villages of Cinque Terre coast on the Italian Riviera were formally designated by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a place of special cultural and physical significance or World Heritage Site.

The inspiring experience gained upon visiting Porto Venere provides a breathtaking architecture built by the natural elements filled with a rich history and historic artifacts. Making your way by ferry is quire an easy trip by taking an approach from either the Cinque Terre, Lerici or by a train which runs along the Italian coast from La Spezia.

What to See and Explore!

The famous things to see and explore in Portovenere are the Genova castle, the rocky houses, the San Lorenzo churce and San Pietro Church.

The San Lorenzo Church was built during the 12th century. Previously damaged by cannon fire in on several occasions saw the church and it's bellower being rebuilt. An altar piece built in the 15th century contains a painting of the White Madonna which was reportedly brought to the location in 1204 and was on August 17th 1399 transformed into it's present form today. Each year on August 17th this event is celebrated via torchlight procession.

Chiesa di S.Pietro a Portovenere The San Pietro Church one of the famous attractions in Porto Venere was historically built as one of the earliest Christian Churches constructed from black marble dating as far back as the 6th century. During the 13th century the church was extended with a medieval architectural design displaying bands of white and black stones in addition to a bellower. The Church is surrounded by a Romanesque loggetta with arches which seem to frame the existing coastline. The Church can be spectacularly viewed from the path leading up the Doria Castle.

Built by the Genoese during the 12th and 17th century, the Doria Castle or Porto Venere's Fortress is one of the town's more dominant land marks. On the hill visitors will come across quite a few historic towers on the hill during their fascinating walk towards the Doria Castle. Opening hours to visitors during the simmer season are from 11:00 am as visitors are additionally able to view several priceless art exhibits. Many tourists have been filled with fascination in sight of the wondrous oceanic views of the San Pietro Church.

The Porto Venere harbor area is strictly a pedestrian only area restricting any vehicular traffic. The area is filed with brightly lit houses, excellent seafood restaurants, and a few bars. Excursion, fishing and a few private boats can be seen docked.

Several popular rocky areas are available for swimming as the area contains no sandy beaches. One such area is Byron's Cave, a popular rocky area swam by the famous poet Byron. Visitors looking for specific areas for sunbathing,and swimming often find themselves on the island of Palmaria located across the straight.

The town of Porto Venere has three islands which were at one point colonized by the Benedictine monks and have been recognized by UNESCO as one of their World Heritage Sites. Visitors by boarding excursion boats in Porto Venere can take selective trips around the islands.

isola-palmariaThe largest of the three islands known for its excellent beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming and relaxing is known as Palamaria. The island is easily accessible by either ferry of boat taxi from Porto Venere in addition to the ferry from La Spezia. The main tourist attraction is the Blue Grotto which can only be accessed from sea, Other highlights include attractions such as the Grotta die Colombi via hiking route.

Overall the town of Portovenere is simple and elegant with its good natured people, tourist friendly atmosphere and nice architecture.

What makes Portovenere remarkable is that the miraculous structures and beautiful landscapes are a balance of manmade and nature based sighting and areas that truly takes the breath of those who visit it away. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea in shades of turquoise, it also has cascading lush fields and vegetation throughout.

Many tourists simply enjoy walking the main town streets and admiring the beautifully colored homes that line them. Though tightly clad, these row homes have an old style appeal that is both charming and dated at the same time, and the locals are more than friendly, willing to talk at length to tourists about the rich culture and history here.

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