The Pleasures of an Autumn in Italy III (Cinque Terre)

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December 7th 2010
Published: December 7th 2010
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Cinque Terre

We have arrived on the Ligurian coast to visit the beautiful region of Cinque Terre which consists of five villages within hiking distance of each other. We are staying in Monterosso, the largest of the villages and the only one with a beach.

Our host, Corrado, comes to meet us at the train station on his bike looking like Lance Armstrong. He calls a taxi and gets us settled in our room at his new place, Acquamarina ( The rooms are small but very clean and fresh.

There is new town area with restaurants, bars and hotels and the quaint old town section. We visit the old town for a delicious pesto dinner in a tiny trattoria.

You have to purchase a pass to walk the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail). We’ve got a perfect day for taking the train to Riomaggiore to walk the easy hike to Manarola. The town is perched on a rocky cliff with pastel houses sitting on impossible angles. It’s like walking into a postcard. The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via dell’Amore and is filled with thousands of locks. Apparently a movie made this popular and lovers
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End of season ripeness
come to seal their hearts on the path of love with a padlock. Along the short trail is Bar dell’Amore perched on the cliff with a spectacular view.

The trail to Corniglia is closed due to a landslide. A British family tells us to take the Manarola Vineyard Walk. We pass ripe tomato vineyards and lemon trees heavy with fruit and we can smell the rosemary, basil bushes and heather. We stop to sit in the sun and the smallest hummingbird buzzes through a flower bush behind us, gone before we can pull out our cameras.

It’s Sunday and I am not well today, so beg a day off to hang around Monterosso.
We meander the old town and sit at ocean side cafes to write postcards.

The cuisine here offers lots of fresh seafood, a multitude of flavors of focaccia and excellent pesto. If you visit, be sure to try the Pesto al Testaroli – it’s delicious.

The next day we hop the train to Corniglia. You can walk the seemingly endless stairs or a switchback road up to the smallest of the five villages. We stopped briefly at a cozy little café. The rain kept us from walking to Vernazza so we hopped the train. The town is charming and has a small, colorful cove. Apparently the rest of the hike is quite rigorous so we’re kind of happy for the excuse of rain today.

Of the five villages to stay in, we felt our choice of Monterosso was the best. We had a variety of restaurants to choose from and we enjoyed both the old town and new. For a relaxed visit to Cinque Terre, stay at least three to four nights.

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Cinque Terre

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