While visiting Italy in the fall of 2013, I had an opportunity to visit the region of Cinque Terre in Liguria. I was amazed to find myself amongst pastel coloured houses and breath-taking views. The Cinque Terre was a trigger for me to visit the unexplored regions around that area. One such trigger led me to Porto Venere.
Located in the La Spezia area, Porto Venere is easily reachable from any of the five Terre by bus/ferry. It was a nice balmy day for a visit there and after spending a couple of hours at the beach in Monterosso el Mare, I headed to catch a train in the afternoon to La Spezia.
Once I reached the town centre, I asked a very chic Italian lady about the bus timings for Porto Venere. She did not know English but gestured to me towards the stop giving directions in her style. She was so warm and kind! I walked another 10 minutes till I reached the bus stop and took an opportunity to have one of my favourite fragola gelato (yet again) There were regular buses to Porto Venere every 20-25 minutes so after a 15 minute I was on board! And that too with a window seat overlooking the harbour of La Spezia.
On entering the laid back and quiet town of Porto Venere I was immediately smitten! It was like Cinque Terre without the tourists! Multi coloured houses, a small piazza and shops lined to my right while I could see the port on my left! I was told by someone that there was a Doria castle and Church of St. Peter if I wanted to go visit.
But I was interested in visiting neither. I lately started believing in the concept of “slow travel”, just take time as it comes and do not rush too many things in a day. So instead of visiting the two places, I wanted to immerse myself in a beautiful sunset. It was one of the most phenomenal and peaceful moments of my trip. I realized why poets like Lord Byron were lured to this little port, and why it was aptly under the “Gulf of Poets”.
My evening at Porto Venere was magical and unforgetful. On the way back I brought fresh fruit and pesto- a speciality of the Ligurian region.
Anyone going to the Cinque Terre must visit this lovely seaside town. It is the real Italy which will sweep you off your feet!
Ishita is an Indian blogger who visited Italy for a couple of weeks and fell in love. Since then, she has been writing, reading and researching on the country. Ishita plans to return to the country soon and visit the unexplored regions. She writes at http://www.ishitasood.wordpress.com. Twitter: @Italophilia