Situated on the northwestern coast of the country, in the Ligurian province, somewhere below Genoa, on the so-called Italian Riviera, the Cinque Terre National Park annually attracts millions of tourists. And for this reason, a spring or autumn escape is more inspired than one in the summer, when you risk not having a leisurely enjoyment of the landscapes because of the crowds of visitors. The climate is mild in the second part of March, for example, with many days with temperatures above 16-18 degrees, often even 20 degrees.
The framework is not lacking in any tourist guide that wants to present the most attractive places in Europe. Cinque Terre or Five Lands, according to the translation, is one of the favorite destinations of those who want to see Italy, beyond grand palaces and historical monuments, but also beyond the urban bustle of the big cities suffocated by an economy now on the slide.
The villages have their own cliché, but the strengths of the landscape are Vernazza and Manarola, followed by Riomaggiore. Monterosso is the smallest and the only one with the beach, while Corniglia is farthest from the sea and is set up on the rocks. It is worth seeing all, and this can happen someday. There are, of course, variants of several days combined with accommodation in one of them, but it must be kept in mind that prices are higher in villages than in La Spezia or Pisa, much larger cities and multiple possibilities stay overnight.
Why is it worth visiting Cinque Terre? Because it is something of old Italy, I pray that in Italy almost everything seems old, in which part of the charm of the medieval fishing villages, preserved where nature created something unique, and the mountain collapses and its spurs in the Mediterranean Sea . The settlements are simple. A fairly narrow main street, the church, vividly colored dwellings built in block style, three four-storey, seldom with balconies, which paint was flushed by time, small terraces in which it talcates tactically from an espresso, Italians are drinking cam five times a day, and restaurants from which fish and calamari rides. There is no smell of pizza and pasta, limoncello flavor, and at least one glutton, able to bend even the most faithful enemy of ice cream. If not enough, Italian, white and purple wines, and cheese, olives and prosciutto plates, seasoned with a freshly baked focus, can convince you. Culinary temptations are countless, you are just in Italy.
At the end of each village, except Corniglia, there is the sea, in green-blue shades, with waves breaking into the rocks of undefined shapes. Implicitly, there are several boats in the landscape that locals take off almost all year round, except in winter, for personal use, ie fishing or hiking, for those who want to see the village offshore. Without wanting, you think that the one who prophesied the Dolce far notte has gone to Cinque Terre, and the dream of a quiet pension in a cottage with a lemon at the gate can not give you even a thrill of pleasure.
There are plenty complaining about the area becoming commercial, but the term is still exaggerated. It is true, in the summer season Cinque Terre tourists gems, undoubtedly many Asians, who can become upset when posing 500 times the same frame, but eventually tourism means free movement, and everyone can walk where he wants, as long as he wants and how it wants. It is impossible for such a destination to be a wilderness corner, in one of the most visited countries in the world, who knows how to bring out beautiful money from any stone, out of tourism. The connection between the villages is also done on foot. In fact, it’s much more attractive to take the step. From Riomaggiore to Manarola, the so-called path of love, Via dell amore, flows between the mountain and the sea. The route is not hard at all, or almost flat, and makes all the money. As an expression, because the walk is free of charge, that is, it enters the account of the 16 euro ticket, which gives you free access on any path and grooming. Only things in Manarola make things more complicated for those who choose to roam the paths above the sea, besides olive groves, rosemary shrubs and jasmine flowers, because the climb starts and it takes feet as solid as possible to cope . Truly difficult is just the segment between Vernazza and Monterosso, where the trail is often half a meter wide and any wrong step can cause great problems. It’s even recommended if you do not have hikking equipment, at least some serious shoes (except for footwear, sandals, ballerinas, etc.) and much attention, but the 75-90 minutes, maybe two hours, as long as you go along the trail, which views are wonderful.
By a decree of the President of Italy on 6 October 1999, Cinque Terre was declared a National Park with an area of 4,226 hectares and a population of 5,000. On the 3rd Saturday of May, the lemon festival is held at Monterosso, and tourists can dine with limoncino, lemon cream, lemon marmalade, lemon cake and other specialties. Among the culinary specialties in the area that can not be missed are: Sciacchetrà – a red and sweet wine made from dried grapes, Albarola variety, Acciughe -ansoa prepared in two ways: with lemon or in brine and Pesto – basil leaves, oil olives, parmesan and pine sprouts.
Cinque Terre is also reachable by the sea, with numerous mini-cruises in La Spezia or even Genoa, especially in the summer season. In the event of rain it is completely forbidden to cross the path, especially Monterosso and Vernazza. The road is accidental and landslides may occur. The advantage is that in the summer, after the rain, the soil dries very quickly. Portofino and Portovenere are two other picturesque locations that can be visited in a circuit at Cinque Terre.
Italy's Riviera: Cinque Terre
Rick Steves' Europe Travel Guide | Exploring Italy's most remote and romantic stretch of Riviera, we visit five tiny port towns: dramatic Vernazza, surrounded by ...