Church of San Pietro (Porto Venere)

Church in La Spezia

Church Of San Pietro Porto Venere
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Davide Papalini

The Church of San Pietro stands as an ancient testament to devotion, perched on a rugged promontory in Portovenere that gazes out upon the captivating Gulf of Poets.

History of Church of San Pietro (Porto Venere)

The foundations of the original church trace back to an ancient pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Venus Erycina. In 1198, it was consecrated as the Church of San Pietro. The distinctive black and white bands gracing the walls were incorporated by the Genoese during the 13th century, likely between 1256 and 1277.

As the 14th century came to a close, the church ceded its parochial status to the Church of San Lorenzo. From then until 1798, it was administered by secular clergy. The year 1494 bore witness to the church’s vulnerability during the attacks of the Aragonese. During the Napoleonic era, it was repurposed as a battery, standing guard over the Gulf of La Spezia.

A substantial restoration of the church unfolded between 1929 and 1934, breathing new life into its ancient walls.

Architecture of Church of San Pietro (Porto Venere)

Rooted in the Syriac architectural tradition of the 5th century, the original church assumes a rectangular layout with a semicircular apse. Two rounded arches connect this space to the newer addition. This latter construction showcases a wooden structural roof, and the presbytery splits into three chapels, adorned with ogival and cross vaults that rest upon intricate polystyle pillars.

Dominating the left chapel is the square bell tower, crowned with a pyramid-like top. Each face of the bell tower boasts rows of mullioned windows, lending a sense of elegance to its structure.

Within the church’s interior, the same alternating black and white horizontal stripes that grace the facade continue, enveloping the space in a timeless harmony.

How to get to the Church of San Pietro (Porto Venere)

The Church of San Pietro stands roughly 500 meters from Piazza Bastreri, the main square of Portovenere, a common stopping point for buses arriving from La Spezia. To reach the church, a picturesque stroll of around 8 minutes along Via Calata Doria’s quay awaits.


The Church of San Pietro (Porto Venere) appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting La Spezia!

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Visiting Church of San Pietro (Porto Venere)

Address: Chiesa di San Pietro in Portovenere, Piazza Lazzaro Spallanzani, Porto Venere, SP, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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