Every summer, on August 17, the Madonna Bianca feast in Portovenere is one of the most spectacular festivals in the area. St. Peter’s Church, San Lorenzo, and the whole village is lightened by thousands of candles and bulbs, creating an extraordinary view in the night from the sea, or in the distance.
The Saint Peter’s Church of Portovenere during the Madonna Bianca
The Madonna Bianca in Portovenere recalls the ancient legend about Luciardo, a local pious man who, while praying in front of an image of the Virgin Mary, noticed another old Marian picture animating and resuming color. This icon had arrived in the village blackened by time, apparently via sea. Aghast, Luciardo looked at the picture changing shape: the hands of the Madonna were clasping together in prayer and in the hands of the baby Jesus appeared a cartouche inviting everyone to pray and to convert.
During the Madonna Bianca in Portovenere, a procession is organized through the narrow streets of the sea village, lightened by the candles, passing by the ancient church of San Lorenzo, where the icon is collected to be brought to Saint Peter’s forecourt. From there, the view of the illuminated village is absolutely unique. Also from the sea, the view is impressive, as the dark night is lightened by a warm brightness that embraces everything, making of the already awesome Portovenere village an even more magic place.