Every Aug 17, the village of Porto Venere celebrates the festival of its patron saint
© Peter Sampson/Alam
Festival of the White Madonna
Each year on August 17, the Northern Italian fishing village of Porto Venere is illuminated with more than 2,000 torches for the festival of the White Madonna, a tribute to the town’s patron saint. The lights extend onto this rocky spur, which juts into the Gulf of La Spezia, also known as the Gulf of Poets. With views like this, we can easily see how it inspired poets and artists throughout history–including Lord Byron, who is said to have swum across this body of water to visit fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.