If you find yourself on a ferry visiting the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre in Italy, do yourself a big favour and stay on the ferry heading south! At the end of the line is the gorgeous UNESCO town of Portovenere on the Gulf of La Spezia.
Like its Cinque Terre neighbours, it has the same colourful collection of buildings, boat-filled harbour with small beach, and narrow back streets with restaurants and shops. But it has its own treasures like the Doria Castle perched above the town, the ancient striped St. Peter’s Church out on a rocky point, and the most beautiful and peaceful seaside cemetery. For me, each of these spots has a serene and meditative quality in part because the Mediterranean and Gulf views from them are spectacular and mesmerising.
This town also holds a special history with artists. In the 19th century, this area became a vacation and “inspiration” destination for authors, poets and painters, the more famous being Mary and Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and George Sand. Today there are galleries and sculptures, as well as painters set up with easels capturing the town. It’s no wonder I’ve sketched and painted it a few times, but never as a “Mini Vacation” piece… until now.
And I don’t believe I’m done painting this extraordinary place, but like my fellow artists, I may need a return visit for another injection of “inspiration”!