Recently I was fortunate enough to spend 3 weeks travelling around beautiful Italy with another awesome travel blogger Megan from Meganotravels,during this trip we visited many truly amazing and historical sites,from the eery bone crypts,catacombs and other unique things in Rome,to the beautiful city of Florence, the birthplace of the renaissance,but what really blew me away was an area I did not expect.
Located in Italy’s Liguria region on the west cost of Italy near the city of La Spezia, is a rugged mountainous piece of coast called Cinque Terre,the name mean’s “The Five Lands” and it is made up of five picturesque villages built into the steep surrounding hillsides of, Riomaggiore,Vernazza,Manarola ,Monterosso al Mare and Cornigli. This place is a photographers dream, between the natural beauty of the coast and the charming colored buildings that cling to the cliff sides, By the end of your visit you will be itching to get back home and get printing your photos to share the beauty of Cinque Terre with friends and family.
Guide to Getting there and between the villages
Cinque Terre is accessible by car or train from the city of La Spezia,However train is advised as some of the villages are not accessible by road. The train runs regularly between all of the five villages from La Spezia to Genoa and is by far the easiest way to travel between them. If you want more of a scenic view you can take one of the small boat ferries that goes between the town’s giving tourists a better view of the cities themselves, Or if you feeling more adventurous there is a hiking trail between the villages called Sentiero Azzurro.
The first town you will encounter is the village of Riomaggiore, dating back to the early thirteenth century, it is best known for it’s character and the wine that is produced in the village. This is the town I stayed in, there are various bars,shops and restaurants that sell delicious seafood by the cone.
Cornigli unlike other villages in Cinque Terre is not directly adjacent to the ocean. Instead it’s on top of hill 100 metres high, surrounded by vineyards and terraces on three sides, with the fourth steeply dropping down into the sea. Corniglia is characterized by its really narrow roads and over 33 flights of stairs making 382 steps in total to get reach the city.
Vernazza is the fourth town heading north and has no car traffic, so your going to have to get here either by train,ferry or walking. Visitors here can enjoy the many shops, restaurants and bar’s and visit the beach off the main Piazza Marconi. Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia is also worth a visit with its unique east facing entrance way, There is also Doria castle which was built in the 15th century as a lookout tower to help spot pirates.
Monterosso al Mare
Get your beach towel ready because the next village is Monterosso al Mare and offers the only extensive sand beach in all of Cinque Terre, making it very popular during the summer months with tourists. Another thing that makes this town interesting is that it is divided into 2 distinct parts, the old town and the new town, with just a single tunnel linking the two.
Last on the list is the oldest town in Cinque Terre, Manarola, The primary industry in this town traditionally is fishing and wine-making. With the local wine called Sciacchetrà being especially famous. But what makes this village really stand out to me is that it is one of the most colourful and picturesque villages in all of Cinque Terre, Especially around dusk, Making for astonishing photo opportunities.
Another interesting trivia fact for all you nerd’s out there, In the video game Half Life 2: Lost Coast, there is a strikingly similar town to Manarolla with a monastery on the hill looking over the town.
What’s the most photogenic city you have ever visited?