Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For the Love of Italy

I got married in February, but we didn’t go on our honeymoon until this past week. Traveling around Europe by plane is fairly cheap, and we had started to plan this trip in January. We wanted something romantic and different … and that’s exactly what we got in the Italian Riviera. Since we had a wonderful time, and the places we visited brought inspiration to artists, I thought I’d share a tiny bit of our experience with you.

Most people know of Portofino and the Cinque Terre, but I found a gem of a place called Porto Venere. It had so much character with plenty of things to see and do. Porto Venere was built in 1160 A.D. It’s part of the Golfo dei Poeti (Gulf of Poets), a place where poets such as Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Dickens and others found inspiration. Below are a few pictures of Porto Venere’s seaport. 

We also took a few night pictures. Here's one of them.

This is considered the inside of the old entrance gateway. Above the gateway is a fresco of the “Madonna Bianca” from the 15th century. To the left, are one of the many sets of stairs that lead up to the Castle Doria.

Here’s a night picture of the gateway.

Carugio O Via G. Capellini is the main street. It’s the leftover of the past, and admired for its integrity. These pictures are a few things we saw on the street.

A night picture of Capellini street.

At the tip of Porto Venere stands the Church of S. Pietro. It’s presumed that it was a pagan temple for Venus Erycina, in which the name Porto Veneris is derived, and then the site was transformed into a Christian temple. The current church was built in 1256 A.D. by the Genoese.

These are a few pictures of the door and the inside of S. Pietro.

Here is a picture taken from a boat.

Right by S. Pietro is Byron’s Grotto. It’s the place where Lord Byron swam and found inspiration for his poetry.

On our first day, we ventured all around Porto Venere. Climbing up one of the many staircases that lead to the Church of Lorenzo and Castle Doria, we snapped a few shots of things we saw along the way. Below are pictures taken to and from the Church of Lorenzo.


From here, we continued our ascent to Castle Doria, built in 1161. Parts of the castle are from a reconstruction in 1458.

These pictures are views from the Castle Doria. 

My husband and I are not ones to sit around and relax when we go on vacation. We love to explore and see different things. Across from Porto Venere are three islands; Island Palmaria being the largest of the other two, Tino and Tinetto. I suggested to my husband that we take a walk around the island. Crazy me didn’t realize that walking the island meant rock climbing. We were in for a rude awakening. Below are views of Porto Venere and S. Pietro taken from Island Palmaria and the island itself.

While we explored the Gulf of Poets and onward, we drove through the mountains, at one point reaching 1,900 feet. Here are a few pictures. 

We took a train one day, and a boat the next to explore the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a portion of coast in the Liguria region of the Italian Riviera. It’s comprised of “The Five Lands”’: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. In October 2011, the villages of the Cinque Terre were affected by floods and mudslides, Monterosso and Vernazza having the most damage. Below are a few pictures of each place.








Portofino was our last excursion and I'm glad we didn't spend much time there. It’s one of the well-known places in the Italian Riviera, but in my opinion, it doesn’t have Italian charm. The buildings are fake with paintings of windows and other designs. It didn’t have the flare of other Italian villages, and the streets were lined with high-end shopping; Gucci, Pucci, and any other Ucci. Here are a few pictures.

We filled our days with adventure, focaccia, seafood and wine, and I wouldn’t want to have experienced it with any one else.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane … even though it was 5 days ago.:D

Italy and Old Worlds,