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Published: October 20th 2013
Caro & Jon embrace "Mother Earth"
In spite of being on autostradas for most of the way, we had a lovely drive today along the Apuan Alps through the marble-producing areas of Massa & Carrara to the coastal city of La Spezia. From there, we progressed down a windy road to the Gulf of Poets and the beautiful town of Portovenere, at the eastern end of the Cinque Terre. Our intention was to have lunch in Portovenere, then catch the boat to one or more of the Cinque Terre towns which we had previously visited but which the Scots had not seen. Unfortunately, the fare of 20 Euros (about $AUD30) each for the boat trip made us change this decision and as it turned out, it was the right one!
Portovenere offered a lot more in terms of sight-seeing, history and shopping than any of the Cinque Terre towns. After lunch we walked up to the wonderful old 12th Century castle high up on a hill with superb views over the ocean and the Gulfi di Poeti, so called as a result of the English poets Byron, Shelley & DH Lawrence who visited or made their home there. A small amphitheatre constructed inside the castle walls
The waterfront area of the town
is still used for performances and concerts. We spent time in a small church, San Pietro, constructed in the 11th Century from local black & white marble and sited on the edge of a promontory. Originally this was the site for a Roman temple dedicated to Venus (hence the name Portovenere). Nearby was Byron's Cove, a very pretty area where the poet used to meditate.
After taking lots of photos from the castle and of the two churches in the town, we headed back down to the waterfront to have a drink, watch the boats and people go by and see the sun beginning to set over the water. PIzzas in the Anfiteatro when we returned to Lucca completed a great day.
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