Villages that make up the Cinque Terre: Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza
What to see and do: walking, hiking, sightseeing the breathtaking views, restaurant visits, local wine tasting.
the mountains of the Maritime Alps and the Ligurian Appenines plunge down to the
coast of the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas you'll find a section of Italy known
as Liguria, the Italian Riviera.
weather is balmy and the mountains that tower high above these seas create a stark
contrast to the shore as they meet in rugged, crashing beauty.
this coastline, clinging to the rocks that rise out of the waters, there is a
necklace of five villages strung together by walking paths that hug the
stone walls and provide incredible views of the junction of land and sea. These
five small villages are known as the Cinque Terra, five lands.
al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore and are the names of the
villages that make up the chain. The towns lie hidden between Genoa and Pisa,
in an area known as the Riviera di Levante that translates to 'the common
man's Riviera' or 'the working man's Riviera'.
Isolated from the neighboring areas of the French and Italian Riviera, these small
villages remained the homes of fishermen and farmers. Although roads and railroads
finally reached them, the rugged personality remained intact. The coastline, the
five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre
National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
between the villages of the Cinque Terra is a hiker's dream. The groves of olive
and citrus trees alternate with vineyards on one side. The other side features
stunning views of stretches of white beach reaching into the Mediterranean Sea
punctuated by steep cliffs dropping down to the water with waves spraying
as they break against the rocks.
through the Cinque Terra
Sentiero Alto (high path) begins at Levanto, on the west and terminates at Portovenere
on the east. The entire walk takes about ten hours along an old mule path.
Sentiero Azzurro (blue path) requires a daily pass that costs 5€ for the
entire Sentiero Azzurro trail system. This is the most popular path through the
five villages and can get crowded during the height of the tourist season.
east bound route starts in Riomaggiore and hugs the coast and mountains as it
meanders through to Monterosso al Mare. The entire walk will take five hours at
a steady pace.
you just want a taste of the experience ride the train to Manarola and start west
at that point. The section of the path that runs between Manarola and Riomaggiore
is called Via dell'Amore. There is a small fee to access the path and a
cafe midway through so make sure you bring Euros. Although travelers report that
this road is tame enough to attempt with high heels, sensible walking shoes are
recommended. Basically, this stretch is a wide paved pathway with a rail between
you and the drop to the sea. The path was carved into the mountain more than a
This is the section that anyone not used to hiking should
find easy. In return for the half hour of walking you will be rewarded with a
taste of some of the most beautiful scenery on the Riviera.
The Via Dell'amore
is not the most awe-inspiring section of the walk, but still very memorable. Between
Manarola and Corniglia, the path tends to be more the original dirt path. There
are more hills to navigate and one steep part is definitely not for the faint
hikes from Corniglia to Vernaza and then on to Monterosso are narrow paths that
wend up and down the hills. Not every part of the path provides guard rails to
grab where footing is difficult. In some places, going downhill is harder than
climbing up. Between the steep grade and rocky dirt path keeping balanced on the
downhill slopes can be tricky.
If you intend to make the entire trek in
one day, be sure to start early. The road is tougher to navigate in the dark and
you miss the views. The best idea is to plan several days for the walk and overnight
in the villages.
you are visiting the Cinque Terra, make sure to sample the wines. The simple dry
white wine 'Cinque Terre' is delicious with the fresh fish but the prize is the
sweet dessert wine 'Sciacchetrà'. Limoncino is a local liquor made from
the sweet lemons of the area.
the Web, discover more about the sights, sounds, aromas and the friendly locals
of the Cinque Terra, with top online guides offering special looks by activities
and events, related photo galleries, travel video, and more reasons why a trip
to the 'working man's Riviera' should be on your itinerary if you plan a visit
to the Mediterranean area.
from Cinque Terra - The name may give the impression that you'll only
find pictures here... not so. The descriptions are almost poetic, the directions
are specific and, then, there are the pictures...