Day 60, Friday November 3, 2017
Bob called me to come look out our window and this is what he wanted to show me. We thought the driver was crazy to attempt going into this narrow side street but a few minutes later he disappeared around the corner! When we went out to catch our bus we saw the truck coming the other direction. I told Bob never to complain again about driving our little rental car on street that are too narrow!
We are going to Portovenere, but we miss our stop to transfer buses. We go for a 45 minute ride to the far side of La Spezia before the bus starts its return trip to where we needed to be. We finally catch the right bus and Bob is very thankful he is not driving the narrow twisting road to Portovenere. The bus takes up both lanes on the corners, so the driver just honks to let oncoming cars know there is no room for them on the road! Portovenere is a UNESCO world Heritage Site, as are the five villages of Cinque Terre.The old town gate opens up onto the main street with lots of little shops.We walk through town towards the stone promontory and the black and white 13th century church of San Pietro.The sunlight on the water was beautiful.This is called Byron’s Grotto because it was here that the English poet Byron swam across the Gulf of La Spezia to visit fellow poet Shelley in 1822. The grotto cave collapsed in 1930.There are lots of rugged black rocks and big waves. The waters look too dangerous for swimming.We walk up to San Pietro Church. It is easy to miss the beautiful small details when visiting these churches.These windows give a great view of the coastline. On a clear day it is possible to see the Cinque Terre villages.
On the way to the Castle high above the town we pass these stone walls. The old doorways have been filled in with stone.One of the streets we pass on our way to the castle.We climb all the way up to visit the Castle of Doria and discover that it is only open on Saturday and Sunday!
A view of the promontory and San Pietro Church from beside the castle.There is a cemetery at the base of the castle walls. Yesterday was a day in Italy when families visit cemeteries and leave flowers for the departed so there were lots of flowers on all the graves.
We climb down a very narrow staircase beside the 12th century San Lorenzo church… and find this interesting area just as the church bells start to ring the hour. I thought the huge candle holders beside the door were interesting.On our way back to the Main Street we hear lots and lots of sirens. We wonder if there has been some sort of disaster, or even if it is a tsunami warning. However when we turn the corner we see that it is a funeral procession. There are over thirty ambulances and emergency vehicles parked nearby and several hundred mourners including many paramedics. This street had a very little door at the end of it.I wonder who lives in a house with a door this small?Here are a couple of views of the ‘fortress houses’ that were built side by side to help defend the town. Too bad the sun wasn’t shining.
These narrow tunnels connect the waterfront to the Main Street behind the fortress houses.There are no cars in town but there are boats parked along the streets.
This wreck a building on the waterfront as just been purchased for €6,000,000! It is to be restored as a luxury hotel. I can’t imagine how much the will cost! The roof and many of the floors have caved in and it is in very bad shape, but how wonderful for the town the it will be restored to its former glory.We stopped to say hi to this huge dog sitting on a step…before leaving through the town gate and catching the bus home.