On August 17th Porto Venere will celebrate the so called Madonna Bianca, among pure beauty, folklore and devotion. A traditional festival always succeeding in moving people from all over the world.
The celebration program:
At 8.30 p.m., the Holy Rosary
At 9.15 p.m., procession accompanied by the Riomaggiore Music Band
The history of the Madonna Bianca in Porto Venere
In 1399, Porto Venere, as well as Genoa, was torn apart by intestine discord, lost its freedom, and on its castle was waving a foreign banner. Additionally, a terrible plague was slaughtered outside its district, which was threatened.
While devoted patron Lucciard was praying in front of home pictures to ward off the danger, one of them (a discolored parchment drawn with a pen in the ’300) slowly took on its colors, together with the baby and two small figures of saints.
Many witnessed to what was judged as a miracle of the Savior village, as documented by the legal act kept in church of San Lorenzo with the precious icon.
It is said that the painting, still exposed in the church, came from the sea in 1204, in a trunk of cedar of Lebanon. At that time, the returning ships from the Holy Land had trunks on board, in which they kept such objects, which were sealed and thrown at sea in case of storm or pirates attacks.
The ferry from Levanto
From Levanto there’s a ferry departing to Porto Venere at 7.45 p.m. and coming back after the festival, at around 11. The ticket costs € 30 and to avoid queuing last second to buy tickets, we recommend buying them in the morning, ate the travel agency downtown.
Sailing to Porto Venere in the evening is always crowned by a splendid sunset over the Mesco Peak and an unforgettable sight on the Cinque Terre. Plus Corniglia from the sea looks like an enchanted nativity scene.
The arrival in Porto Venere is always announced by a choir of ”ohhhhhh” 🙂 The view of the cliff and the Church of St. Peter illuminated by thousands of candles leaves everyone breathless and even for those who already know what to expect is always a very strong emotion.