The Cinque Terre

In Italy, in Liguria, there is a unique place that at least once in life is worth visiting, the Cinque Terre National Park.

Five beautiful villages overlooking a cobalt blue sea, with very clean waters. From west to east they are: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Behind the villages rise hills and rugged mountains, which man has been able to tame, creating land for cultivation and so for survival.

All the villages overlook the sea except Corniglia, which is located at the top of a cliff about 328 feet above sea level, but, thanks to its raised position, offers a breathtaking view.

Corniglia

Corniglia © pcdazero

 

The Name

Once upon a time the five villages were almost completely isolated from the world and could only be reached by sea or winding paths. The name Cinque Terre (Five Lands) refers both to the five villages, and to this isolation that made them appear to be realities detached from the rest of the world, distant “lands”.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore © Raul Taciu

 

History

Around the year 1000 the population of the Ligurians began its descent towards the sea, modeling the steep hills. They began to clear and to build miles of dry stone walls, pebbles balanced on each other, without the use of any mortar to keep them standing.

Immediately they devoted themselves to the cultivation of the vine, which grew perfectly in such a dry and harsh soil and did not need irrigation.

This is why the Cinque Terre are considered a masterpiece of landscape architecture.  Approximately 4350 miles of low walls, distributed over about 12 miles of the far eastern coast of Liguria.

The stone walls, if placed one in a row to the other, would be comparable in length to the Chinese Wall.

The stone walls

The stone walls © la_sonix

 

Tourism

The Cinque Terre area is not a classic tourist destination. Especially in Manarola and Corniglia everything has remained as before and has not adapted to the new tourist vocation of the other localities.

Vernazza © Victor Mancini

The best way to visit the villages is by train, as each village has a railway station. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, hotels, private holiday homes. The territory offers many activities for the different types of visitors in every season of the year.

The Cinque Terre have many beautiful beaches, including that of Fegina or that of the old town in Monterosso al Mare, as well as the rather quiet one of Framura, or that of Guvano.

Monterosso

Monterosso © djdedi

History and art are not lacking. Marian shrines, Benedictine monasteries, remains of Roman villas and Romanesque architecture fill the streets and squares.

Hiking lovers have access to the famous routes that link the five villages, once the only land connection between them.

The Sentiero Azzurro (blue path) is about 7 ½ miles long and divided into four sections. It connects the five villages.

The Via dell’Amore (path of love) is a pedestrian street overlooking the sea just over a ½ mile long. It’s famous all over the world for its beauty and its breathtaking views.  It takes its name from the writing that an anonymous local inhabitant wrote on a wall at the beginning of the path and soon became a destination for young lovers.

Via dell'Amore

Via dell’Amore © Twice25 & Rinina25

Food & Wine

Of course, as in all of Italy, there is no lack of gastronomic tradition. Pesto, savory pies with vegetables and fish, especially anchovies, salted, fried or marinated. All the dishes are always enriched with aromatic herbs that grow throughout the territory.

You cannot understand these lands if you do not understand their wine. Particular and complex vines grow and produce a white wine – the Cinque Terre Doc – and the liqueur Schiacchetrà, produced from raisins.

To discover more about this beautiful destination please call us, your Travel Specialist to Italy.

Or book a tour of Cinque Terre leaving from Florence now:

Guided tour (winter)

Guided tour (summer)

Cinque Terre and Portovenere

Click here to read more about the region of Liguria