Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, located on the Italian riviera along the Mediterranean coast in northwest Italy is famous for five centuries-old villages that have colorful houses built on steep hillsides, creating some of the most spectacular coastal scenery on the planet.

The five villages of Cinque Terre are:

1. Riomaggiore: One of the most peaceful and quiet villages in Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore has a cluster of multi-colored houses on a steep hillside that overlooks a tiny natural harbor.

2. Manarola: One of  the most photographed of the five villages, Manarola has a tiny harbor with a boat ramp, picturesque multi-colored houses facing the sea, and a tiny piazza with seafood restaurants. It is also the starting point of the scenic “Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Lane)” hiking trail that connects Manarola with Riomaggiore.

3. Corniglia: Located in the middle of the five villages, and situated on a cliff 100 meters high, Corniglia is the only village with no direct sea access. It is connected to the other five villages only by footpaths and by train. One of the key sights in Corniglia is the “Belvedere di Santa Maria” lookout, the only viewpoint in the region from which one can see and photograph all five villages.

4. Vernazza: Home to a small harbor, which is the only secure landing point in the region, Vernazza is the most quaint and steepest of the five villages. The main cobbled street (Via Roma) links the train station with the seaside Piazza Marconi which is lined with several restaurants and bars. There are also a few bed and breakfasts and private rooms for rent in the town.

5. Monterosso al Mare: The largest of the five towns, Monterosso al Mare is split into two parts. The old part of town is linked with the new part, Fegina, by an underground tunnel. Fegina has several hotels, while the old part of the town has several seafood restaurants and shops. It also has the only sandy beach in the area.

Car access to the villages is extremely limited. It is best to visit the villages by train or by boat. A train runs from the town of La Spezia to all the five villages. There is also a passenger ferry that runs from the towns of Levanto and La Spezia which stops at each of the villages in Cinque Terre, except Corniglia, which does not have a landing point.

There are also several beautiful hiking trails in the area that connect various villages. The most famous of these is the Sentierro Azzurro (Blue Trail), a narrow and precipitous 7.5 mile path with spectacular coastal scenery. Only two sections of the trail are currently open. The first section from Monterosso to Vernazza is 1.8 miles (3 km) long, and takes up to two hours to trek. The second stretch from Vernazza to Corniglia is 2.5 miles (4 km) long, and requires around 90 minutes to complete. 


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