The rugged coastline, the buildings perched on cliffs, the little restaurants selling the best seafood, it all makes the Cinque Terre (Five Lands), a very special place to visit. Add to that, the produce that is being grown and produced along the hillsides of this Ligurian province makes it one of my favourite’s and definitely worth adding to the bucket list of Italian must see’s.
To experience life here stay in an apartment that hangs over the winding main street that runs down to the waterfront. It is magical. Watch the fishermen bring their catch in and sell directly to the many little restaurants that line the main street. No cars allowed, so be prepared to walk. The walkway round the waterfront cut into the cliffs to Manarola is spectacular, and probably the easiest of all the walks.
Tiny, almost isolated, and absolutely delightful. We found some real gems here, met some amazing locals. Try travelling between the towns by boat if you are not up to walking. If you like a challenge (and the coastal pathway is closed) walk the 750 steps up and over to Corniglia.
This ancient hilltop village Corniglia, a farming village, is the most remote of the Cinque Terre villages and the only one not directly on the sea. There are plans to build an elevator from the railway; until this happens to get there you must conquer 337 steps in 33 flights of stairs.
A beautiful harbour, with the old village wrapping back into the steep hillside, and like the others offering the Italian lifestyle as we know it. Vernazza is the only natural port of the five villages and became wealthier than its neighbours. Consequently, its architecture is more elaborate.
The other mode of transport if you want to explore the five cliff hugging towns is the very regular train service that connects the coastal towns with Genoa in the north and La Spezia in the South. If you base in one town, these little trains are a great way to get to the others without the walking, of which there is plenty, with pathways in various degrees of ease or difficulty. Some not for the feint hearted as you walk around the steep hillsides amongst vineyards and hill hugging lemon & olive groves. There are some super nice places to stay around Monterosso including Agriturismo’s in the hinterland which we use in our tours now, just to add to the local experience.
Monterosso is known all over the world for its uniqueness, it’s a colourful town clinging onto the cliff & facing the rugged beauty of the rocky shores, historically renown as a fisherman village and still serving some of the best seafood fresh from the fishermen daily.
The Cinque Terre is where one of our tours is based and we meet some amazing producers of local product, participate in cooking classes and travel the region discovering the Italian Lifestyle, more details on our tours page https://www.wineandfoodtraveller.com/tours/Cinque-Terre-Spectacular