Why get to know Cinque Terre?
The Cinque Terre (“Five Lands”) are one of the most pure and unspoiled Mediterranean zones in Liguria and Tyrrhenian coast. Five miles of rocky coast, connected by two promontories, five villages located in an area of difficult access and, precisely for this reason, these places managed to keep its characteristic charm over time. The viticulture, typical of the region, helped to create a unique landscape, in hills overlooking the sea. Why get to know Cinque Terre? Just because there is no place like this anywhere in the world! Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patricia you make the trip of your dreams !!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”.
The towns, from west to east, are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. As it was shown in the first historical documents about these marvels in Liguria, the first villages were Monterosso and Vernazza, while the others appeared later, during Genoa politic and military hegemony. The favorable and pleasant weather makes possible visiting Cinque Terre area not only in the spring and in summer, but also in the coldest periods.
The Beaches and the National Park
The sand and pebble beaches are located mainly in the towns of Monterosso and Rio Maggiore, but this area does not only offer a wonderful sea. What is most beautiful and worth doing is a walk on the wonderful trails overlooking the sea, stroll peacefully through its characteristic towns, take a beautiful boat trip along the coast, visit shrines and of course experience the delights of Ligurian cuisine with its excellent, high-quality wines.
The Cinque Terre territory is a National Park and has been part of the UNESCO Heritage since 1997, so to complete your experience, if you are a diver or want to try this sport, be sure to explore the depths of the marine area, which is also part of the UNESCO Heritage.
The five small towns
The five small towns that make up the Cinque Terre seem suspended between sea and land, on magnificent cliffs that make visitors amazed by the beauty that Mother Nature can give us, along with the works of man, who throughout the time also contributed to the formation of these lovely terraces. Shall we talk a little about each of them?
1) Why get to know Cinque Terre? VISIT MONTEROSSO
Located on hills covered with vineyards and olive trees, Monterosso al Mare has beautiful beaches with crystal clear water. The Aurora tower, on the hill of San Cristoforo, divides the old medieval village, developed along the banks of the Branco River, from the more modern and residential part of the village that stretches along the beach.
The old part of Monterosso is characterized by the presence of the remains of the Obertengo castle overlooking the sea, the typical fortresses crossed by narrow alleys. In the church of St Francis, there are important works, such as the crucifixion; this work is attributed, by many, to the famous Van Dyck. In the 16th century, Monterosso was delineated by thirteen towers; today, unfortunately, there are only three intact: the round tower in the castle, the medieval tower that is now the bell tower of the church of St John, and the Aurora tower.
Monterosso beach is the largest of all 5 towns, so the city is the one that receives the largest number of visitors, as well as the one with the largest number of hotels.
2) Why get to know Cinque Terre? VISIT VERNAZZA
Founded around the year one thousand, its name derives from “Gens Vulnetia”, an ancient Roman family that owned slaves who, once freed, founded the village of Vernazza. Once upon a time, it was the most flourishing town in the Cinque Terre, which is why it still has important architectural elements such as arcades and portals. The noble, elegant village unfolds along the Vernazzola torrent, currently covered.
Crossed by steep and narrow streets that lead to the main road that ends in a small square in front of the port, Vernazza is dotted with defensive buildings, tower houses, the Tower and Doria castle. Symbol of the economic importance this village had in the antiquity, it served to protect the Genoese against the Saracens and barbarian invasions.
3) Why get to know Cinque Terre? VISIT CORNIGLIA
Corniglia’s origins date back to Roman times, as evidenced by its name, from “Gens Cornelia”, the Roman family that owned the place. Corniglia is located on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, from where you can admire all the other four towns in the Cinque Terre. To get there, you have to climb the characteristic ‘Lardarina’, a long staircase formed by 33 ramps and 377 steps to reach the village, or the other road from which the train leaves.
This village is closer to the territory than to the sea, with an appearance more similar to that of urban centers in the rural interior, with lower houses. The village extends along Via Fieschi, houses overlooking the street on one side and the sea view on the other. Remember to pay a visit to the parish church of San Pietro, it is a beautiful Gothic-Ligure testimony of the Cinque Terre, built in 1334 on the ruins of an 11th century chapel.
4) Why get to know Cinque Terre? VISIT MANAROLA
Its origins are very ancient; it was founded perhaps by the Romans, its name comes from the Latin “Manium Arula”, that is, a small temple dedicated to Mani, but the historical information is not very precise, so there is not much certainty about its origins. Like the other villages, Manarola is characterized by tower houses atop a rocky headland of dark rock. Be sure to visit the main square where the religious buildings are concentrated, including the Gothic-style Church of St Lawrence, the Oratory of the Disciplined and the bell tower.
Another interesting monument to see is the white concrete pyramid, a trigonometric sign for sailors. In addition, in Manarola you can enjoy nature with relaxing walks, especially along the famous Via dell’Amore, which joins Manarola and Riomaggiore, a wonderful trail overlooking the sea, really super charming and romantic place, obviously remember to go with a comfortable shoe!
5) Why get to know Cinque Terre? VISIT RIOMAGGIORE
Riomaggiore is the easternmost of the Cinque Terre villages, the first town you will find coming from La Spezia, located in the narrow valley of the Rivus Maior, now covered. Built in the 8th century, founded by a group of Greek refugees fleeing the iconoclastic persecution of Leo III of Isauric. The houses, painted in typical Ligurian colors, follow the pattern of tower houses, built vertically on three or four floors, connected to each other in parallel rows. Access to the houses is possible from the main entrance as well as from the back of the upper floors.
In the upper part of the city is located the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, built in 1340, the Oratory of the Disciplined from the 15th-16th century, while in the opposite part we will find the ruins of the 15th-16th century castle. In Riomaggiore, the Via dell’Amore trail towards Maranola starts, a very suggestive pedestrian street, where you can admire beautiful views with the sound of waves hitting the rocks in the background!
Curiosities about Cinque Terre
- The Cinque Terre are: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore: they all have a sea view, except Corniglia, which sits on top of a cliff 100 meters above sea level.
- Corniglia is the smallest of the five villages, but the one that has best preserved its nature over time!
- Monterosso al Mare has the largest number of the most beautiful beaches. The beach that deserves the most attention is Praia Fegina.
- In 1997, the Cinque Terre became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the peculiarity of its landscape and the value of the interaction between nature and human activity.
- The Cinque Terre are famous for their fantastic landscapes, houses with colorful walls, crystal-clear water, a splendid sea, nature and sunsets: all this in any city on the 12 kilometers of sea in the Cinque Terre.
- In the past, these villages were very isolated and could only be reached by sea and by winding paths immersed in nature, that is: only those who knew the area well could reach the cities. The cities were called Lands, as they seemed to be very far apart. When it was noticed that they were, in fact, very close, they called them ‘the five lands’, in Italian: the Cinque Terre.
How to get to Cinque Terre?
1) How to get to Cinque Terre? BY TRAIN
The best way is by train, each village has its own station that is easily accessible and trains depart every 15/20 minutes; tickets can be purchased directly at the station and you can also buy an all-day ticket. Trains depart from La Spezia station, so it’s a good idea to arrive in Cinqueterre from La Spezia. The average ticket fare is around 2 euros, while the full day ticket costs around 16 euros and you can take the train as many times as you like.
Did you know?
Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of railway transport? Also find out ” What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.
2) How to get to Cinque Terre? WALKING
You can also visit them on foot, going from town to town along the trails, but I recommend this option only for people who have time and energy!
3) How to get to Cinque Terre? BY BOAT
The last way is with a boat; in summer, the Golfo Paradiso company operates ferries between Genoa and Cinque Terre.
Servizio Maritimo del Tigullio runs between Santa Margherita and the five villages. To take the boat, just go to the port of any of the villages, with the exception of Coniglia, which does not do this service, as it is on the top of the cliff. You can buy the ticket at the same time, to go from one place to another (average price 6.50 euros) or for the whole day (average price 25 euros). This service only works on days when the sea is calm, so, if you’re lucky, one idea would be to go from one village to another by boat and return by train to see the cinque terre from two different angles. How about that?
4) How to get to Cinque Terre? BY CAR
You will only be able to enter up to part of it, then you will have to leave your car parked and walk at least 15 minutes, as the villages have few streets. That’s why either you drive in the various cities, park where you can and walk in, or leave your car directly in La Spezia where you can take the train that leaves for all the various villages.
Traveling by car in Italy
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Why get to know Cinque Terre? Because the Cinque Terre’s charm is unforgettable! It’s easy to fall in love with these timeless villages. The villages are in fact an extraordinary testimony of natural beauty, together with an excellent gastronomy. For seafood lovers, Cinque Terre will be paradise: anchovies, snapper, sea bass, squid, cuttlefish and octopus are the main ingredients in many dishes.
What are you waiting for? Come and discover the beauty of this very special place!! Dive in the crystal clear waters, stroll peacefully through the villages where time seems to have stopped!! Be enchanted by these angles of paradise in Italy!
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