Five Villages Attractions Cinque Terre
SituationThe very picturesque coastal region known as the Cinque Terre, fringed by tall and precipitous cliffs, lies between La Spezia and Levanto on the Gulf of Genoa, the so-called Riviera di Levante, with the five villages ("cinque terre") of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, of which Monterosso al Mare, a medieval fishing village, is the largest.Landscape of the CinqueterreThese picturesque villages, linked with one another only by a narrow winding country road but accessible individually by road, railroad or boat, have in consequence of their remoteness preserved their old-world aspect. With their beautiful setting and their pleasant climate they have a charm and a character all their own. The inhabitants live by agriculture (vines, olives) and fishing.WalksThis charming coastal stretch should be explored on foot. Numerous footpaths link Monterosso al Mare with the other villages of the Cinqueterre. The walk par excellence is the Sentiero Azzurro from Monterossa to Riomaggiore (Blue Walk; 12km/7.5mi), a stretch which is well sign-posted.
Monterosso al Mare, Italy
The main features of the pretty chief village situated behind the railroad line are the Loggia del Podestà (14th century) and the tower of the parish church of San Giovanni Battista, built as a Genoese watch-tower. High above Monterosso, on the road to Vernazza, lies the pilgrimage church of the Madonna di Soviore which is worth a visit (magnificent view).
Vernazza, undoubtedly the prettiest of the five villages, snuggles behind a rocky cliff in a cleft in the valley. A piazza with colorful houses opens onto the small harbor. In 1182 Vernazza fought on the Genoese side against Pisa. A few sections of the old Genoese fortifications, walls and a round tower have been preserved.
Corniglia, the only one of the Cinqueterre lying above sea-level (193m/633ft), is laid out similarly to the villages in the Ligurian hinterland. The little road from Vernazza to Corniglia crosses a narrow mountain ridge on which is perched the hamlet of San Bernardino. San Bernardino, with the pilgrimage church of the same name (good view of the whole region), can be reached from Corniglia in an hour.
Riomaggiore, the easternmost place in La Spezia and the easiest to reach, has expanded considerably as the result of tourism. It became known largely because of the painter Telemaco Signorini who often stayed here from 1860 onwards and painted the village several times. Inside the parish church of San Giovanni (14th century) are a pulpit with marble reliefs and a wooden crucifix; above the Renaissance doorway can be seen a 15th century triptych. On a hill in the northwest of the village are remains of the 15th/16th century castle.