This is a story of black and white, a beautiful woman and a Saint.
Portovenere is told to be called like this after Venus, a Roman goddess whose beauty apparently was bore in a shell and generated from the foam of waves crashing on the rocks : a little complicated as every woman but really unique, the way only a goddess can be. She enjoyed pristine Italian shores, she had already been in the Sicilian town of Erice, where she got the status of Venere Erycina, a very special kind of Venus who beside being incredibly beautiful would also bring luck and power. For this reason she was praise as a very important goddess in Rome, and worshipped wherever the beauty could be recognized: in the Castrum Vetus of the II century AC, outpost soldiers and local fishers decided to thank her for the beauty of this place with a temple. It had to be beautiful and, like her, it had to come out of the waves and to bring natural beauty in human life, it had to establish strenghth and luck against the storm: so this is how the black and white lines of the rocks at the very edge of this peninsula became a temple made of local black and white marble blocks.
So beauty established itself in the long years to come, during which Portovenere increased its importance, luck and power, the temple on the rocks was a stunning welcome to beauty from the sea for the visitors and a warn to the pirate, who never dared destroying the temple of beauty.
Around 1100, genovese came and reinforced the temple, transforming it into a more to the time suited church. Despite the beauty all around, they didn’t know about Venere, and they invited Saint Peter to stay here, to found a Church on the rocks (Peter comes from Pietrus which is Latin for rock) to stay eternally strong.
Saint Peter stayed in the centuries, joining Venus in the task of protecting the town from ugliness, time elapsing, and pirates.