Thursday, July 4, 2013

Last but not least: Portovenere

In La Spezia, before we boarded a boat for Portovenere
We ended our vacation with a bang: Our last day in Italy ended up being my very favorite! We started off the day at the beach in Lerici. It was warm, so the beach was crowded. The ocean was cool so the kids were happy. I just sat with my feet tucked into the warm sand and relaxed. It had been a long and busy (but wonderful) two weeks. Italian sales guys would come by us and try to sell us things off their portable racks or boards of goods while we sat on the beach. I didn't mind. The shopping was coming to us! One piece of advice I would give to anyone wanting to travel to Italy is learn your numbers (and a couple other little gems to get around and order food--Acqua Non frizzante, per favore) because in order to buy things, you must know your numbers. Especially to negotiate the prices of things. I got myself and Bianca both a pretty Italian dress (light, more like a swimsuit cover-up) and an awesome handkerchief hat (yes, Eric, this is how I get you back for wearing that fedora everywhere!) Eric said I look like a bike "rider chic". I say, not bike, but definitely a "writer chic." Anyway, it's not fussy, it kept my head cool in the sun, and I didn't have to worry about my bangs that have been giving me problems for the last three weeks!

After we finished swimming in the morning (and unfortunately missed out on the Mary Shelley museum because it kept such odd hours), we headed to La Spezia. We had a quick lunch at a stand near the port (our sandwiches were quite good, considering). I also got some pretty awesome pictures in La Spezia.

Bianca (being the musician she is) like the name of this Piazza in La Spezia
Bianca and Portia by the port in La Spezia
Large anchor, anyone? (La Spezia)
After lunch, we got on a boat headed for Portovenere. It was quite inexpensive (25 euros for all of us) and headed to Portovenere. Here we are right off the boat.

Arriving in Portovenere
This little gulf is called the Gulf of Poets because this is where Shelley and Lord Byron would go to get inspiration for their writing--I think there were others as well, but these are the two I remember. And it was gorgeous! I understand completely why they would be inspired here. When we walked up some steps, it opened up to this cliff intermixed with ruins. It's everything I hoped the coast of Italy would be.

Lord Byron's Grotto
There were little alcoves built into these ruins. I wanted to climb in with a notebook and
start writing poetry myself! 
Playing in Byron's Grotto
The Church of St. Peter and the square Spallanzani
Ah, sitting next to Mother Nature (Madre-Natura)
We stopped at the Church of San Lorenzo, built around 1130, where it is believed a miracle occurred with a Bianca (white) Madonna back in 1399. We even sat for mass here.

We had to take quite a few stairs to make it up to the castle. There was so much to see, it took us forever to get up there.

Lots of stairs to climb in Portovenere
Taking the stairs up
The view from Portovenere is just beautiful!
Still on our way up to Doria Castle (that's it in the background)
Bianca exploring the ruins
More ruins
We went up to the Doria Castle next and wandered around its ruins. The view out to the sea was awesome here and there were so many little windows and niches. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 I love the reflection in the window

On our way down, we had some gelato, bought some pesto (Portovenere is famous for their pesto), and had to get on our boat back to La Spezia.

Bianca and Portia found some friendly Italian gatti (Portovenere is called Kitty City!)

The view was amazing!


In town of Portovenere

Isn't the knocker cool?
The doors to San Lorenzo Church (see statue above the door)
I love the foliage everywhere!
It's kind of a door-like opening
Sadly, this was our last day in Italy. We packed up that night and headed out bright and early the next morning (about 4:30am) to drive to Milan to board the plane. As we were saying goodbye to Carro for the last time, I saw a firefly. I didn't know fireflies were in Italy! We were exhausted by now but still realized what we were leaving. Italy was as beautiful as I'd hoped. 

1 comment:

Cami said...

Lovely photos! what an adventure!