|The Cinque Terre - heaven on earth!||| Print ||
|Written by Gianna Zinoforte|
Undoubtedly, The Cinque Terre [Italian translation: Five Earths] is one of the most beautiful places in the world owing to its natural landscape and its local flavor. It is a most charming and breathtaking place in Italy. The Cinque Terre, pronounced CHEEN|k weh TEHR|reh, consists of five small villages which cling to the Ligurian cliffs along Italy’s northwestern coast. They’re so close to one another that you can walk from the first to the fifth in a matter of hours but these are five different towns and with their own personalities.
The Cinque Terre was once a group of peaceful fishing villages whose residents managed their livings by growing wine grapes on the vertical slopes. But now, the place entirely relies on the tourism. The tiny towns are incredibly popular among American bags packers/budget travelers and German and British holiday makers.
The terrain is very steep that for many centuries the only way to get around was by using the footpaths. These paths provide beautiful views of the rocky coast tumbling into the sea, as well as access to secluded beaches and grottoes.
The coastal path which links all the five villages and which continues as far as Portovenere to the east and all the way to Sestri Levante to the west, has become one of Europe's most famous easy hikes.
The exposed geology dominates the beautiful scenes in the Cinque Terre .You can start in Riomaggiore and walk your way through Manarola, Corniglia and Vernazza to Monterosso.
The first stretch, the most famous part of the coastal path, takes 20 minutes and is known as the Via dell'Amore, a service path for railway workers. Sections of the path tunnel beneath overhanging rocks while the others brush past outbreaks of semi-tropical aloe, prickly pears (see picture on right) and oranges.
In Manarola, head to Punto Bonfiglio, the headland on the other side of the harbor from the main nest of houses. You will find the village cemetery, a pretty park with a summer bar and children's play area. It is also the starting-point for the short walk to Corniglia.
The inhabitants of these places had agricultural origins and lived on the hills. They came down to the coast, once the Saracens had finished invading, when the sea became safe and populated the villages at the mouths of the rivers along the shore. Because of their difficult access’ landscape, the villagers took fishery as their occupation and made wine from grapes. Despite of the tourism prevailing there, the inhabitants still are keeping their old traditions.
Each of the five villages has with a distinct dialect and proud cultural heritage.
There are a plenty of things which one could do in the Cinque Terre
1. Visit the beaches
The very refreshing glassy blue water may be surprisingly cold initially, but as you take a dip in the Mediterranean and explore the small sea of the land, you will warm quickly and enjoy the coolness of the water, along with the views of the town.
2. Hiking the Cinque Terre
Each town is situated in a perfectly picturesque manner which allows it to shine among the natural landscape. The hike is also lovely, every color is brought to life; the intensity of the blue water, the green vineyards, the many colored homes, the bright white sand, and the rich tan of the path. Walking through the vineyards gives you a sense of the community. The wine was born, cultivated, and harvested, and fermented to perfection at this place. Make sure you bring plenty of water and comfortable hiking footgear.
3. Savoring the local cuisine
Each town has a number of restaurants serving the fresh local cuisine. The pasta is often made locally and a specialty of Cinque Terre with the mouth watering sea food. Some of the specialties include squid and anchovies seasoned with some of the special herbs that grow in the region such as oregano and thyme.
4. Enjoy the waters with a kayak, boat, etc.
The cliffs seem larger and more drastic, the water a deeper shade of blue, and the towns larger than they appear from above. There is a waterfall between Monterosso and Vernazza which legend has it will give eternal youth to all who are bathed in its water. There are numerous boat tours, chaters, kayak rentals, etc. that you can do in this reion of Italy. Just ask your hotel concierge and they can tell lead you in the right direction.
So if you are looking for some incredible beauty during your visit to Italy, make sure you visit the Cinque Terre.
More tourist info on the Cinque Terre
Le Cinque Terre are 5 villages carved into the rock coastline on the Italian Riviera south of Genova. There is a stone path that stretches about 10 miles from Monterosso in the north to Riomaggiore in the south. In between are Vernazza, Manarola and Corniglia. Each town has its own personality. The villagers sit out in front of their houses and watch the tourists walk the path. Besides the path, you can reach each town via rail or ferry. This area is now very popular with American tourists and may be the only place mentioned here where you will meet other Americans. To get there, take the A26 to Genova and then the coastal road south to Monterosso.