"" Writer's Wanderings: Cinque Terre, Italy -- Porto Venere

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Cinque Terre, Italy -- Porto Venere

Just to the south of Cinque Terre is Porto Venere. It is a large port town and resort area. On our last day exploring the region, we decided to purchase a ferry boat ticket that allowed us to board in Levanto and travel all the way down to Porto Venere with stops along the way in the five towns. It gave us a seaside view of the towns and only took about an hour and a half.

There are those who use the ferry which costs 25 Euros for the day as their means of transportation to the towns. I thought the train was a bit more practical and certainly less expensive. The ferry does not take you to Coniglia since it has no natural harbor and if the seas are a bit choppy, it will cancel stops in Manorola and Vernazza as well. You can see why if you look at the picture of riders “walking the plank” to get on and off. The gangway moves in and out and up and down with the ferry.

Along the way to Porto Venere, we passed a huge vein of what I believe is pink marble. This is near the area where much marble mining is done and in the Italian commentary that was given on the ferry, I heard a word that sounded like “mineral.” I could be wrong but blame my lack of knowledge of the Italian language beyond bon journo and grazie.

The boardwalk of Porto Venere was bustling and by the time we arrived, we were hungry. We picked one of the many sidewalk cafes and enjoyed a sandwich for lunch. Tomatoes were obviously in season and tasted sweet on a sandwich with cheese and lettuce.

After lunch, we roamed down the boardwalk to the church of San Pietra (Saint Peter) that overlooks the entrance to the harbor. It was built in the 13th century. From there we wandered along a few streets and back alley ways finding picturesque nooks and crannies.

We caught an afternoon ferry to Monterosso and explored that little town a bit more as well as enjoying a cappuccino before our return to Levanto by train. Another wonderful dinner at our favorite Levanto establishment, Le Palme, and a gelato to indulge in while watching the sunset concluded our last night in Levanto. Well, almost concluded it. The next day was a holiday (something like our 4th of July) and the night went on and on with waves of revelers marching down the street singing at the top of their voices. Morning came before we were ready to be up and about and on our way to Civitavechia to board our ship.

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