Portovenere is situated at the southern end of a peninsula. It consists of some islands and the former fishing village itself. Close by there is a larger town called La Spezia. Nonetheless Portovenere seems remote and you don’t really notice to be in the vicinity of a fairly substantial metropole. The town is popular for visitors staying a couple of hours but also for guests spending their entire vacation right here.
Riomaggiore, one of the five towns commonly known collectively as Cinque Terre, is a lovely place. Certainly you can see the whole city in a few hours; there is the main street with all the shops and restaurants, but there are also lovely walkways in the north and south of the center with a beautiful church and changing perspectives at the port and at the sea. Sure, you can stay an hour or two, but Riomaggiore offers enough to stay one weekend or even longer. In any case: Take it slow and enjoy it the Italian way! There must be some time for wine and pasta in between, that’s for sure.
Being in Cinque Terre you cannot stop to marvel at the beauty of nature in this particular spot on our planet. There is the deep blue sea, the endless hills with steep cliffs and the green forrest and endless vineyards. In between there little humans running around seeming all but insignificant in the larger scheme of things. The power of nature can be truly felt here.
Genova is certainly an interesting city. It has a long and troubled history, once being an independent republic similar to Venice and dominating the Mediterranean sea, it later sunk almost into obscurity and reemerged after WII with many people all over Italy coming to the Genova for work in the growing shipment industry. In the 50s and 60s the city seemed to grow without a grand plan and being on a narrow strip of flat land it soon grew up the hills, today making it a labyrinth of smaller lanes and larger streets on many different levels. A unique city indeed.
Portovenere (sometimes Porto Venere) is old, very old. Most probably it was founded in the middle of the 1st century BC. Originally the town was called Port of Venus, named after the beloved goddess Venus. We assume that on the spot where the church of Peter the Apostle can be found today (last picture) originally there was a temple, which would make sense because the position is elevated and can be seen well form the sea. Also very often known places of worships were later reused by Christians, which also happened in this case. In Roman times the city was essentially a fishing community. Later the Byzantine fleet was situated here. Today it is a place visited by many people from all over the world.
Riomaggiore is known to be the southernmost village of Cinque Terre. It was founded in the early 13th century and lived off fishing and winemaking for centuries to come. Until today vineyards play an important role in the economic life of the region, though tourism became much more important to the people living here. Though there are many tourists especially in summertime there are no grand hotels or beach clubs to be found. The architecture of the village remains largely the same and so the feeling of pure Italy.