The Legend of Palmaria Island

Leggenda dell'Isola Palmaria- Isola Palmaria- Promontorio Portovenere- Papà Lucerna- Leggenda-Chiesa di San Pietro-Golfo dei poeti-Portovenere

The Curious Tale of its Origin in Front of Portovenere

When standing in Portovenere and gazing at Palmaria Island, one often wonders: How did an island end up right there? A curious answer lies in the Legend of Palmaria Island, featuring the legendary Papà Lucerna. If you’re intrigued, keep reading!

According to old fishermen, Palmaria Island didn’t emerge through geological events but owed its existence to the skill, vigor, and determination of the legendary Papà Lucerna.

The Legend of Palmaria Island: Who is Papà Lucerna?

This mythical figure is renowned in Liguria for a legend labeled by scholars as “a Ligurian variation of the Nordic legend of the ‘Ghost Ship’.” Papà Lucerna sailed a ship destined to never dock, yet unlike the Ghost Ship, encounters with his vessel promised a fortunate voyage. Papà Lucerna is a positive, colorful, and witty character.

The Legend of Palmaria Island

The legend aligns with the positive aspects of Papà Lucerna and predates his eternal sea journey. It starts with Papà Lucerna, initially weak and abandoned by his mother due to embarrassment, adopted by a relative. To strengthen him, she devised an unusual method—suspending him from the ceiling to toughen him with smoke and warm air.

This peculiar cure worked, making him robust. Rejoining his family, he faced mistreatment from his older brothers, envious of his superiority. Lucerna, inventing innovative fishing devices, outshone them. The final blow occurred when his brothers attempted to replicate his fish traps, failing miserably. Furious, they banished him, denying him boat access and fishing gear.

Palmaria Island’s Genesis through Papà Lucerna’s Ingenuity

Undeterred, Lucerna, resourceful and determined, crafted a fishing hook from shipbuilding iron, attached a rope, and cast it into the sea from Portovenere’s promontory. Within minutes, to everyone’s astonishment, he hauled up an island: Palmaria.

Legend of Palmaria Island - Palmaria Island - Portovenere Promontory - Papa Lucerna - Legend - Church of San Pietro - Gulf of Poets
Palmaria Island seen from the Church of San Pietro on the Portovenere promontory (Credit to spettacolopuro on Visual Hunt CC BY)

This marked one of Papà Lucerna’s last feats before assuming command of the famous ship. Its size necessitated horseback couriers to convey the commander’s orders to sailors.

When in Portovenere, recall the Legend of Palmaria Island, and perhaps on the horizon, you might glimpse Papà Lucerna’s legendary ship!

Article Name
The Legend of Palmaria Island
Palmaria Island seen from the Church of San Pietro on the Portovenere promontory
Publisher Name
La Scimmia Viaggiatrice

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