Boats in Porto Venere, Italy




Saturday Afternoon in Portovenere

Driving to Portovenere

We drove down the A15 from Parma to La Spezia. From there it was a narrow winding road to Portovenere.

Portovenere map La Spezia and Portovenere. You can also see the location of Palmaria Island (Isola Palmaria.)


Portovenere map One-way loop
Portovenere map Location of the Grand Hotel Portovenere


In this map above on the left, you can see the road coming south from La Spezia in yellow. This is one area where the GPS got a little mixed up. As we got closer to the hotel, it kept telling me to turn right in places where there was no right turn. Fortunately there was only one way to go, so it wasn't a problem.

Also you can see the yellow loop road. In the description below I write about the first pass, the second pass and the third pass. What I am referring to is going around this one-way loop three times before getting the car in the garage.

In the map above on the right, you can see the location of the hotel, and the hairpin turn that I also refer to below.

Here are some sights along the way from Parma to Portovenere.



Driving to Portovenere, Italy
Driving to Portovenere, Italy


Driving to Portovenere, Italy


Driving to Portovenere, Italy


Driving to Portovenere, Italy A shopping center
Driving to Portovenere, Italy Parma Exhibition Centre


Driving to Portovenere, Italy
Driving to Portovenere, Italy Barilla factory


Driving to Portovenere, Italy


Driving to Portovenere, Italy


Arrival in Portovenere

Our first night, Saturday night, was spent in the seaside town of Portovenere. I had thought that it would be full of foreign tourists, but it turned out that it was mostly Italians on holiday. So most of the shop keepers didn't speak English, but we managed just fine. The people at the hotel and the restaurant spoke English, so that helped.

Portovenere from our hotel room This is the view of Portovenere that we had from our hotel room.


Portovenere from our hotel room Another view from the room.
Church San Lorenzo in Portovenere The Church San Lorenzo


The road that led into Portovenere was very narrow and winding. As it got close to where the hotel is located, it became a one-way road. On the first pass by the hotel, I thought I saw where the parking was located for the hotel, but it was blocked off. On the second pass, I let Karen out of the car to check with the people at the hotel. On the third pass, I was finally able to get the car into the parking garage under the hotel, exactly where I thought it was on the first pass.

The road in Portovenere

Looking down from the room, you can see the narrow road. The road passes left-to-right below us where you can't see it, and there is a sharp hairpin turn in front of those trees and then it passes right-to-left by the water.

The road in Portovenere

The busses that come through here have a very hard time making the turn. They have to backup several times before they can get going around the corner. And of course the motorcyclists don't wait for all of that to happen!



Exploring Portovenere

After getting settled in our room we took a walk through the village of Portovenere.

Tower Capitolare in Portovenere

The Tower Capitolare stands near the entrance to the main street of the village.

Carugio o via G.Capellini in Portovenere

This is the beginning of the Carugio o via G.Capellini, the main street of the village. It is lined with various types of shops.



Madonna Bianca (White Virgin) in Portovenere

When you turn around after passing through the archway into the Carugio o via G.Capellini, you can see the Fresco of 1494 above the arch. This is the Madonna Bianca (White Virgin.) It was discovered in 1896 and has been restored several times.







Madonna Bianca (White Virgin) in Portovenere Here is a close-up of the Madonna Bianca.


Shop in Portovenere This is a photo I took through a window into one of the shops.
Piazza P. Centinaro in Portovenere

This is the Piazza P. Centinaro, named after a local benefactor. The fountain was built over the public well to collect rainwater from the nearby roofs.



Church S. Pietro

We walked through the Carugio o via G.Capellini, checking out the shops as we went. At the other end, we came out into the Piazza Spallanzani, the center of the early-roman establishment of the "castrum Vetus." The piazza is at present named after the biologist and naturalist L. Spallanzani (1729 - 1799), who spent a long time in Portovenere in 1783. During his stay he carefully examined and furthered his studies on the formation of strata in the local territory.

Church S. Pietro in Portovenere

This is our first view of the Church S. Pietro. On this spot during pagan times was a temple to Venus Erycina. During the early years of Christianity the temple was converted into a Christian temple. The Genoese built the church of S. Pietro over the early Christian temple in 1256 to thank the inhabitants for their help in taking Lerici castle.



Palmeria Island

This photo shows Palmeria Island off to the left of the Piazza Spallanzani. It is separated from Portovenere by a narrow channel known as "Le Bocche" (the mouths.) In this photo you can see some ruins on the island.

Fortress in Portovenere

In this photo you can see the castle, built by the Genoese in 1161.



Church S. Pietro in Portovenere

Here is another view of the Church S. Pietro. There was a wedding going on so we did not go inside.
But we did go to the top of that square portion of the building on the right, where the two people are on the stairs.



More of Portovenere

Here are some more photos of Portovenere.

Looking back from Church S. Pietro in Portovenere The photo was taken near the Church S. Pietro, looking back to where we just came from.


There are several stone arches where you can get a nice view.

Arches at Portovenere
Arches at Portovenere
Arches at Portovenere
Arches at Portovenere


Grand Hotel Portovenere As we walked back along the water, I took this photo of our hotel, the Grand Hotel Portovenere
The section with the arches, below where our room was, is the open air dining area of the restaurant at the hotel


Here are a couple of photos I took as we walked back along the water from the Church S. Pietro toward our hotel.

Views in Portovenere
Views in Portovenere


Dinner in Portovenere at the restaurant in the Grand Hotel Portovenere

My goal was to schedule things so that we could eat dinner in Portovenere and watch the sun set. The scheduling was right, but there were no restaurants that were facing in the right position to see the actual sunset. The restaurant where we ate, at the Grand Hotel Portovenere, was facing the right way, but there were buildings in the way.

Restaurant at the Grand Hotel Portovenere This is the restaurant at the hotel. This photo was taken from our table.


That night I was very nauseated and became violently ill, losing my dinner with several trips to the toilet. It was fun the next morning trying to explain the problem to the pharmacist who didn't speak English and trying to tell him what I needed. Then we walked around a little more before leaving Portovenere.

Sunday morning in Portovenere

On Sunday morning, we walked through the village one more time before setting out on the road.

A Home in Portovenere Someone's home in Portovenere.
The entrance to the village of Portovenere The entrance to the village of Portovenere.


Outside the entrance to the village of Portovenere The piazza outside the entrance to the village of Portovenere.
Outside the entrance to the village of Portovenere An area outside the entrance to the village of Portovenere.


Piazza Spallanzani in Portovenere

We took one more photo of the Piazza Spallanzani on Sunday morning before we left.
If you ever wondered what a photographer meant when he or she talked about how different light affects a photograph, compare this photo to the similar one above that I took on Saturday evening. You could bring that photo into Photoshop and do all the manipulation you wanted to it and you would never get a result that is quite like this one that I took on Sunday morning with the sun in a different position.



Looking Across Le Bocche Toward Palmeria Island Here is a view looking out across Le Bocche toward Palmeria Island.









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