Porto Venere, Italy’s hidden treasure
Some call it Italy’s hidden treasure and some jewel of Liguria. Porto Venere is an Italian Riviera village known for it’s picturesque harbor, colorful houses and for San Pietro Church, perched on the edge of the rock.
History Porto Venere
Built by Romans it dates back to at least the middle of the first century. During Roman time it was a small fishing village but later used as a navy base. Along with the nearby Cinque Terre, it’s one of Northern Italy’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Chosen for being distinguished examples of the ways man has been able to work the steep, uneven terrain without altering the beauty of the landscape.
What to see in Porto Venere
Overlooking the historic center of Porto Venere are the ruins of Doria Castle. Built by the Genoese between the 12th and 17th centuries for the very wealthy and influential Doria family, it’s a nice walk up to the castle that offers stunning views.
From the castle, you will see the Gothic San Pietro Church, standing on a rocky outcrop. It was built in 6th century. The black and white stone bands of marble were added in the 13th century. Porto Venere offers dramatic setting for a wedding. For Catholic ceremony there is no better place than the romantic ancient church on the sparkling waves of the Mediterranean.
Porto Venere is a great starting point if you want to visit Cinque Terre by boat, that’s actually the reason how I discovered this beautiful place. It’s usually less crowded and makes a good alternative if you can’t make it to Cinque Terre.
What we left for the next time:
There are three small islands just across the strait. They were once colonized by Benedictine monks and are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Excursion boats from Porto Venere take trips around the islands. Palmaria is the largest and most appreciated by tourists, especially to visit the Blue Grotto by boat.
I would like to come back to Porto Venere for a relaxing weekend. The half a day we spend here was enough to understand how beautiful this place is and worth coming back for. Hopefully sometime soon.