viareggio FUORIPORTA

Portovenere, Viareggio, Gaeta, Positano and Scilla: the advice of Fuoriporta

It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of the pearls of the Ligurian Riviera: Portovenere, in the province of La Spezia, overlooks the splendid “Gulf of Poets” with its characteristic colorful houses that tell of an ancient and glorious past. Portovenere is part of the “borgate marirare” that take part every year at the Palio of Golfo, which on the first Sunday of August sees the villages facing the Gulf of La Spezia, provincial capital which on 13 September celebrates Saint Venus with a procession at sea that brings the statue of the saint from the city to the island of Tino. But this is also a land in which is produced extra-virgin olive oil of the highest quality, which is the basis of the classic Pesto Genovese: and so on, in April 9th, comes back every year the appointment with the basil feast.

In Viareggio, one of the pearls of Tuscany: the small town in the province of Lucca, notably famous for the ancient carnival organized for the first time in 1873, is actually an old center very active within the shipbuilding industry (the Viareggio craftsmen have invented new types of boats during the centuries), floriculture and of course fishing, and it is also famous for its Liberty and Deco palaces. In winter time, the “Versilia’s capital” organizes the most famous Carnival of Italy, whose official masks are Burlamacco and Ondina, born in 1931 by the pen of Uberto Bonetti; in the week preceding March 25th is the turn of the feast of Maria Annunziata with the traditional Ciottorini Fair, artisan small art objects. And yet between literary prizes, movie shows and musical events, until the summer and beyond in Viareggio it is really impossible to get bored.

From Tuscany to Lower Lazio, and more precisely to Gaeta, the town in the province of Latina. From Diodoro Siculo passing through Virgilio to Aiete, the brother of Maga Circe (Mount Circeo is only a few kilometers) the hypotheses are so many, and all fascinating. Certainly, Gaeta is not only a well-known seaside resort overlooking one of the most beautiful seas of the whole Lazio, but it is also a small jewel of architectural jewelery, the Sanctuary of the Most Holy Place at the Cathedral of Saints Erasmus and Marciano at the picturesque Temple of Saint Francis. A center live all the months of the year, where the procession stands in honor of the Madonna of Porto Salvo, the protector of fishermen and sailors (second Sunday of August), and the particular “Gliu Sciuscio”: the night of December 31 the orchestras of young people sing typical songs to wish a good year.

Positano, a holiday resort since ancient Rome and glamorous resort since the ’60s, is one of the most fascinating places on the Amalfi Coast, a true corner of paradise in the province of Salerno overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. According to the legend, its name comes from a ship carrying a picture depicting the Madonna, who miraculously spoke (“posing, laying” or “hanging out here”) saving the sailors from the sea in storm right in front of what was a small fishing village. And now it has become a tourist destination from all over the world, “alive” 12 months a year and rich in events: from the patron saint of San Vito (June 15) to the feast of St. Joseph (March 19th) from the Festival of Christmas (at Christmas time) to fashion events, there is really planty of choice.

And it’s always a fascinating mix of history and legend that has given its name to Scilla, the last trip stage along the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In that part of Calabria, that once was Magna Grecia, the town in the province of Reggio was known as Skylla or Skyllaion, or “rock”, just because it is climbing on a cliff of the Pomponus Scillèo; but Scilla is also the name of the daughter of Niso, who helped Minosse before being repudiated and abandoned by the sea, which dragged her body to this wonderful corner of the Mediterranean. The one that for many is the most fascinating seaside village in Italy abound the events, starting with the patron saint San Rocco (August 16), continuing with the “Vicoli Festival” (early August) and with numerous fashion shows and theatrical performances.

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