Porto Venere is a town and comune (municipality) located on the Ligurian coast of Italy in the province of La Spezia. It comprises the three villages of Fezzano, Le Grazie and Porto Venere, and the three islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto. In 1997 Porto Venere and the villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The ancient Portus Veneris is believed to date back to at least the middle of the 1st century BC. It has been said that the name refers to a temple to the goddess Venus which was sited on the promontory where the church of Peter the Apostle now stands. The name has also been linked to that of the hermit Saint Venerius. In Roman times the city was essentially a fishing community. In 1815 will be incorporated in the Kingdom of Sardinia, according to the decisions of the Congress of Wien of 1814, and subsequently in the Kingdom of Italy from 1861.
From 1859 to 1927 the territory was included in the First district of La Spezia, part of the Eastern District of the Province of Genoa before and, with the establishment in 1923, the Province of La Spezia then. In 1998 it obtained for its architectural heritage and natural entry in the list of protected World Heritage Site, with the Rolli in Genoa's historic center and the only two goods entered for Liguria, and in 2001 established eponymous Regional Natural Park.
Coat of Arms
The municipal Coat of arms was approved by the special decree of the Head of the Government dated 19 April 1933. In addition to the emblem and banner of the city is the cross of St. George to be also a symbol of civic and historical community of Porto Venere, including banner bearing its coat of arms (the color of Genoa are the flags of the three towers) and wants to emphasize the secular alliance of the village with the ancient Republic of Genoa. This "objective" is also mentioned in the municipal charter.
The village lies at the southern end of a peninsula, which, breaking away from the jagged coastline of the Riviera di Levante, forms the western shore of the Gulf of La Spezia Gulf, or also known as the Poets. At the end of this peninsula are three small islands: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto; only Palmaria Island, which lies directly opposite the village of Porto Venere beyond a narrow strait, is a small part inhabited. Bordered to the north by the municipality of La Spezia and south, west and east is washed by the Mediterranean Sea.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, with almost no excess heat in summer and freezing in winter episodes. However, rainfall can be very abundant, especially in autumn and spring, due to the orography of the Riviera di Levante. In the municipal area, the weather station is located on Island of Palmaria, where data can be considered similar to those occurring in Porto Venere and the surrounding areas. The area of Portovenere-Palmaria Island is the only point behind in the Ligurian Sea between the Isle of Elba and the islands of Hyères, France. Hence also the strategic role in the history of seafaring.
In the municipality of PortoVenere, in Panigaglia, into the Gulf of Spezia, there is a regasification plant, thanks to which it can import by sea, in the liquid state, natural hydrocarbon gas such as liquified natural gas. Portovenere is a town that lives mainly tourist trade, catering and activities related to tourist accommodation. In recent years have become very important activities such as hotels, Bed and Breakfast, guest houses and residences. Very popular shopping promenade in the Doria quay and picturesque Alley and panoramic views to the church of St. Peter and the Doria Castle. The harbor of Portovenere, although the smallest of Liguria, in the summer season is always sold out and also host many celebrities.
Among the natural places in the Porto Venere is the famous sea caves Byron (Cala dell'Arpaia), Azzurra or Blue Cave (semi-submerged) and Tinetto; the cavity of the Doves and the wall of Tino, the shoal of Dante and Small and Big creeks. The Byron's cave, named after the English poet George Gordon Byron in this place that drew inspiration and meditation for his literary works, it is located at the spur of rock below the church of St. Peter and the old defensive position, the marine cave has a minimum depth of five meters and a maximum of twenty along the side.
Regional Natural Park
The Regional Natural Park in Portovenere offers a unique landscape with its high coasts, caves and vegetation that permeates the atmosphere in any season with the changing shades of color. An element that blends and harmonizes every detail is the sea, sometimes calm and clear, so as to reflect like a mirror enchanted multicolored rocks and seagulls, sometimes rough and almost angry.
- The Gothic Church of St. Peter, consecrated in 1198. It was built over a pre-existing 5th century Palaeo-Christian church, which had rectangular plan and semicircular apse. The new part, from the 13th century, is marked externally by white and black stripes.
- The Romanesque church of St. Lawrence, erected in 1098 by the Genoese. It probably occupies the site of ancient temple dedicated to Jupiter. The church was damaged by a fire in 1340 and by the Aragonese attack in 1494, and was further restored in 1582.
- The Doria Castle with the walls around the historyc center.
- The Grotta dell'Arpaia (now collapsed), known as Byron's Grotto, from which the English poet Byron swam across the gulf of La Spezia to San Terenzo to visit Shelley in Lerici, in 1822.