The Church of San Pietro is an ancient church dedicated to Saint Peter, built on a rocky edge in Portovenere, facing the beautiful Gulf of Poets.
The original church was founded on the ancient remains of a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Venus Erycina, and was consecrated in 1198. The black and white bands on the walls were added by the Genoese in the 13th century, presumably between 1256 and 1277.
The church lost its parochial title at the end of the 14th century, in favor of the Church of San Lorenzo, and was officiated by the secular clergy until 1798.
In 1494, the church was affected by the attacks of the Aragonese, and later, during the Napoleonic era, was used as a battery to defend the Gulf of La Spezia.
The church underwent a significant restoration work between 1929 and 1934.
The original church is a work in the Syriac tradition of the 5th century, with a rectangular plan and a semicircular apse. Two round arches connect this space with the newer church. The latter has a structural wooden roof and the presbytery is divided into three chapels, covered with ogival and cross vaults, set on polystile pillars.
The chapel on the left is surmounted by the square bell tower, that closes on the top with a pyramid. The bell tower is decorated on each side by rows of mullioned windows.
The interior of the church is decorated, as part of the facade, with black and white horizontal stripes.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of San Pietro is located about 500 meters away from the Piazza Bastreri, the main square of Portovenere, where buses coming from La Spezia usually stop. To reach the church, you can walk for about 8 minutes along the quay (Via Calata Doria).