In the Bay of the Poets, the term “borgata marinara” refers to a sea village that participates in the local historic regatta known as Palio del Golfo di La Spezia. You can read all about the event in this article “Palio of the Gulf: pride & tradition”. In today’s post we want to focus on our hamlet and its team, Borgata di Portovenere!
The history of the Borgata di Portovenere, officially called “U.S. Portovenere”, is tied to that of the Palio del Golfo and its pioneering editions in the late 1920s. The hamlet won the 6th edition of the Palio in 1930 with a boat called Isa, which featured a new model that would inspire future vessels. At that time, villagers competed using normal fishing boats full of mitili or muscoli (the famous mussels from the surrounding waters).
The first official edition of the Palio del Golfo was held in 1932, but the fishing boats were only substituted by racing boats in 1934. Since then, U.S. Portovenere has won 3 titles in the editions of 1953, 1954 and 1977. Apart from the “Seniores” category, which is the main and most prestigious one, there are also races for the youth (Juniores) since 1964, and for women since 1995.
1977 was a golden year for the Borgata di Portovenere, because it won not only the Seniores category, but also the Juniores race and the parade competition. In fact, an integral part of the Palio is the traditional parade that takes place on the Friday evening preceding the big event. Each village participates in this masked competition, which is a sort of summer carnival complete with floats. The Borgata with the most creative costumes, choreography and concept wins the award.
Spezia’s Borgate Marinare
The Palio race is among 13 handmade boats, each representing a borgata located on the bay: Portovenere, Le Grazie, Fezzano, Cadimare, Marola, CRDD (a sports society representing La Spezia’s historic center), Canaletto, Fossamastra, Muggiano, San Terenzo, Venere Azzurra, Lerici and Tellaro.
Here are the colors of their boats and flags so you can recognize them when you will visit the Bay of Poets in occasion of the Palio del Golfo!
The Palio from the sky
The supporters of Borgata di Portovenere