A palpable form of beauty, a scenery so picturesque that you would feel in contact with nature. Cinque Terre is a group of five villages namely Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore located in the Liguria region to the west of the city of La Spezia along the western coast of Italy. We took a Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence this time, though I strongly feel that next time I may be spending 2-3 days minimum to explore it more thoroughly.
The natural beauty of Cinque Terre attracts tourist, travelers, visitors from around the globe. Each of the villages has a profound history and its own personality. Once particularly fishing villages, a great livelihood has been built by the residents here out of an otherwise difficult terrain.
Grapes are grown here on almost vertical slopes. The economy of the region relies absolutely on tourism. A combination of Italian culture and nature, Cinque Terre is a jam packed with sunburned travelers and lazy tourists.
Main attractions in the village include hiking across the cliffs from village to village, sunbathing, swimming and relaxing on the beaches and of course enjoying the famous seafood of the area.
Absorbed in antiquity, these villages still preserves some of its castles and Parish churches from the medieval times. It has an intricate network fields and gardens that are a delight to visit. Aerial view of the city is mesmerizing and colorful with the rugged, steeply terraced cliffs of the huts shining brightly and the magical combination of sea, sun and the sand.
This is one destination for a fulfilling and enchanting holiday experience. The landscape of the village is so pure and refreshing while the air is absolutely rejuvenating, Cinque Terre shouldn’t be missed while you are exploring Italy’s hidden gems.
As I said in the beginning, this was my first time in Cinque Terre. We made our base in the city of Florence and decided to take day trips to nearby locations. We realized later that you require more than a day trip to actually soak in the beauty of Cinque Terre. But this time it worked well in our favor as the weather was playing total spoil-sport and the sea was rough for those 2-3 days. Maybe next time if I go there I will be able to see those pristine and calm blue waters and may be sail in the sea for some time 🙂
We started the Cinque Terre day trip from Florence at around 7.30AM from Florence train station, from where all tour operators ply for various day trips. First stop while passing through the harbour of la Spezia and a short bus ride while climbing to our first stop was Vernazza. It was raining incessantly, but the view from la Spezia to Manarola takes your breath away, pastel colored buildings against cool blue of the mediterranean sea is a delight that you just want to just hold on to, until you move ahead.
Our first stop was beautiful village Vernazza. People Often call Vernazza the jewel of Cinque Terre. Beautiful church perched on the cliff on one side and small colorful boats moored along the small natural harbour on the other side dotted with little colorful umbrellas.
You can easily spend one whole day while sipping the wine and eating delicious gelatos. This is what we actually did there, due to rough sea and continuous rains we decided to settle down at a cafe in the side and had a delicious Italian breakfast of croissant, coffee, bread, and wine (Well don’t judge, on vacation you are allowed to indulge 😛 )
Riomaggiore is the biggest of the five towns, dating back to 13th century Riomaggiore is a fascinating sight, tangle of pastel homes, old Nazi bunkers, and hilltop botanical garden. Riomaggiore is also famous for its wines.
Corniglia, which we missed because is one of these five Cinque Terre villages which is not on water, in fact you have to climb 365 steps to reach to the Corniglia. And due to heavy rains our Guide informed us that authorities do not allow anyone this hike or climb so we had to give it a miss along with boat ride which we were supposed to take from Monterroso to Manarola.
Monterosso is Cinque Terre’s only resort town. You can spot some cars, small hotels, beach, and crowds. We stopped here for late but delicious lunch of Seafood (for husband) and some salads and warm fresh veggies with crusty bread all washed down with local wine which was crisp and delicious. After lunch we tried out famous ‘Limoncino ligure’ in one of the quaint wine shop while exploring the city in the rain.
Our last stop for the day was Manarola, which is the second smallest of these 5 villages. Manarola is oldest and characterized by Genoese style ‘case-torri’ is easily the most beautiful in Cinque Terre region. I was actually surprised to see the colorful boats parked outside the homes in the mazes of cobblestone alleyways. This is also a one-street town, with a small harbor where you can swim.
Our Tour guide informed us that now bustling with tourist activities and booming economy due to a large number of tourists, these Cinque Terre villages were quaint and remote fishing villages that were hard to reach. But locals have still maintained their traditions and each of these 5 villages has a distinct dialect.
Though we had a short time in our hand so I could catch the beautiful glimpse during this day trip to Cinque Terre, but next time I can very well imagine to devote some time to the passeggiata and watching the sun go down, while I leisurely sip my wine and dig in absolutely delicious dinner.
Ciao, till we meet again !