Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The best way to enjoy the Cinque Terre is on foot!

Cinque Terre are five fishing villages in the province of La Spezia, nestled in the region of Liguria on the northern coast of Italy. The five towns, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, are connected by a scenic, and at points, treacherous 400 km hiking path.

Monterosso al Mare has the best beach in the Cinque Terre and is convenient for walking the trails between the 5 towns, walking north to Levanto, or visiting other nearby areas. Monterosso al Mare is the largest of the 5 towns in the Cinque Terre.

Vernazza is the only real port in the Cinque Terre (see above painting). The small fishing village Vernazza is probably the most characteristic of the Cinque Terre. The medieval castle, Belforte, was built in the mid-1500's, primarily to protect the village from pirates. The tiny port is surrounded by subtle colorful pastels and the charming piazza is lined with good restaurants and bars. The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce among the finest olive oil in the country.

Corniglia is located in the middle of the Cinque Terre. It is the only town without access from the sea. Corniglia hangs above a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, surrounded by a basin of vines. It is reminiscent of the farmland further away from the Ligurian coast.

Manarola is surrounded by vines and is situated along a stream. The wine of Manarola is very famous and the "Via dell’ Amore" starts here: an easy to walk, paved path a distance of two kilometers, connecting Manarola to Riomaggiore.

Riomaggiore is the most southern beach of the Cinque Terre. The town climbs up along the ridges overlooking the sea and it is characterized from the typical stone houses with colored facades and slate-roofs.