The village of Le Grazie is nestled amid dense olive groves in an enchanting natural inlet in the Gulf of La Spezia, between the Pezzino and Varignano promontories, sheltered by the Castellana and Muzzerone hills. The attraction of the village does not only spring from its beautiful landscape but also from its richness of historical and archaeological remains.
Golfo dei Poeti, The village has a splendid natural harbour
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The village has very ancient origins and takes its name from the Monastery of Nosta Signora delle Grazie ( Our Lady of Graces). The monastery and its Church were built in the 15th century on an older Cistercian hermitage by Olivetan monks. The layout of the monastery underwent substantial transformations once the monks were driven out in 1798 and from then on the Church started being used as a parish church too.
Golfo dei Poeti, The Church of Nosta Signora delle Grazie
Visiting the Church today, you can marvel at the centre of the church's high altar at the miraculous image of the Virgin painted by to Andrea de Aste (1432) as well as other paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, an inlaid chancel done by Paolo da Recco, an organ constructed by Agati Nicomede and his brothers in 1865 and two big processional crosses belonging to the Sant’Anna confraternity. While in the ancient refectory of the monestary you can admire the splendid frescoes by Nicolò Corso dating from the end of the fifteenth century.
Golfo dei Poeti, The entrance to the Church of Nosta Signora delle Grazie
Since being restored by the Superintendency for Environmental and Architectural Heritage of Liguria , the former monastery has become the ideal place for cultural events , exhibitions and concerts. The monastery becomes a center stage during the feast of Our Lady of Graces which is celebrated each year on September 8 and is considered one of the oldest religious festival in Liguria.
During these celebrations thousands and thousands of pilgrims descend on Le Grazie from nearby villages as well as from outside the province to honor the patroness Our Lady of Gulf and renew their testimony of devotion. The event is marked by a rich events program organised by the local tourist board and is not to be missed. The festivities include an exhibition of paintings in the refectory of the former monastery, the launch of the Navy Parachute , concert in the piazza, as well as theater and musical evenings .
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At the center of the village you can enjoy the shady pine wood that in summer is a gathering place for local people and tourists and also a place in which public events are held.
Another must see place in Le Grazie is the Roman villa at Varignano. The villa is situated at the base of the Muzzerone hill and has an open view of the sea, set in a landscape of exceptional beauty. It has a great archeological significance and allows you to glimpse at the lifestyle of the area centuries back. The villa dates between the II century BC and the V-VI AD and was built in different phases, so it went through various transformations.
The first owner of the villa was probably the dominus romano Varenius (from whom Varignano took its name) which must have thought the position of the villa was extraordinarily beautiful, surrounded by the green olive trees and the perfect sheltered harbor of Le Grazie.
The Villa had many rooms, the floors were mainly paved with decorated red terracotta. The excavations that took place discovered the wall structures of an entrance hall and other utility rooms (prefurnium, tepidarium and frigidarium). The private bathroom of the villa is of particular interest - it was built on the sunniest side of the house based on a highly perfected heating system.
In the north-western area, on a higher level than the Villa was the "pars rustica", the working area, with machinery to press olives and for the preservation of cereals were situated. The most significant findings of the excavations that were carried out are now displayed at the Antiquarium.
As you would expect the sea, in addition to affording a charming seascape and as is the case with the other villages along the Gulf, has marked the life of the village of Le Grazie.
Throughout the centuries the inhabitants of Le Grazie have gained
themselves the reputation of being excellent divers as well as very
skillful constructors of gozzi - a kind of small double-ended
fishing boat. Today, the village has a boat construction yard with a
big boat stogare area.
The recent construction of two main roads and the renovation of the old waterfront path " Codevalle ", today afford a pleasant pedestrian area to take a leasurely walk that covers almost the whole coastal area of the bay from Punta Varignano to Pezzino .
The natural harbour with its great location attracts water tourism to the area too. It is considered among the safest anchorages in the Gulf of La Spezia as it is well protected from almost all winds and rarely makes much waves.
In the bay, there are lots of picnic areas for recreational moorings enjoyed by residents and members of the concessionaires alike.
The arrows move you up, down, left and right (or grab the screen and pull in any direction)
The + and - to zoom you in and out
The "Map" button shows the village in map illustration form
The "Satellite" button shows La Serra in satellite images (zoom in for detail!)
The "Terrain" button shows an artistic rendering of the terrain that covers the village (zoom out to use this feature)
To see images and photos of the roads in the map, click Golfo dei Poeti and then click on the little person figure above the + zoom option and grad it to the map. For example, place the little person figure (shown on the right) over Via Liberta and see the main road leading to the village… For even more fun and pictures, as well as to get a real feel for the area, view the map in Google Earth by clicking on the "View in Google Earth" option above the map.
You can zoom in and out, finding the best scale and then print it to .pdf and bring it along on vacation! You definitely won't find a more detailed, up to date map online or on vacation.
Thank you for visiting Liguria Guide… we look forward to welcoming you to Liguria and hope you will love it as much as we do !
Thank you for visiting our guide… we look forward to welcoming you to Liguria and hope you will love it as much as we do !
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