Friday, March 29, 2013

Porto Venere

Porto Venere is a fishing and tourism community located on a small peninsula on the west coast of Northern Italy, on the arm of the Mediterranean known as the Ligurian Sea.  We arrived there around 1pm, with two and a half hours for lunch on our own, and self-guided tours of the area.

Here we're looking across the harbor to the downtown area.  Along the water's edge are plenty of seafood restaurants and pizzerias.  We were told that fishermen would paint their houses in vibrant colors so they would be easier to see through the mist at sea.

Some of our group choosing a restaurant downtown.  Only Emily appears to be aware there is a camera present.
Among the stunning ancient buildings in Porto Venere are two old churches.  A long path of stone steps leads to the Church of St Lawrence, built around 1100 by the Genoese at the tip of the peninsula, overlooking the sea below.  It is no longer active as a church, but couples have their weddings at the small altar inside.
The Church of St Peter further inland and up the hill, was consecrated around 1200 and is still active.  In fact, a Good Friday service was going on as we arrived.

The remains of the Doria Castle surround the entire historic area, and often frames some absolutely stunning natural formations.  Sea walls, inlets and grottos, breathtaking at every turn.

Waiting for the busses to take us to our hotel, we had the first real opportunity for a group shot.  Just about everybody, aside from a handful of us with our cameras, posed (more or less) near the shore.  Mrs.McB is front and almost center.

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