CINQUE TERRE - THE FIVE VILLAGES
Cinque Terre consists of 5 villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The villages are connected by a train track that runs along the coast through many tunnels. The walking trail that connects the villages is very spectacular, with many magnificent views on the coastline.
Considered one of the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy, Vernazza is located on an impressive cliff with mysterious alleys and multicolored red, pink and yellow houses. Today it is a tranquil seaside village, but historically it was a port used to defend the coasts from Saracens. Typical tower-shaped houses extend along a river valley up on the summit of a rocky outcrop hiding the view of the village core (with loggias, porticos and decorated portals) to anyone approaching from the sea. The village has a natural pier with an amphitheatre shape making it perhaps the most picturesque village of the Cinque Terre. The small natural harbor lies protected inside a rock wall. It is dominated by the Doria castle, lying at the top of a cliff. Vernazza is one the most touristic of the villages, in summertime it becomes crowded with tourists coming from all over the world.
We recommend that you reach Vernazza by sea.
The church of Santa Margherita of Antiochia and remains of ancient fortress: towers of XI century and Doria's castle, tower of friary of Padri riformati di San Francesco and tower Belfort. Wonder Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio has a tree lined square. It isn't easy to reach the Sanctuary - you'll have to walk a wild road among nature, but it is worth it!
Probably dating back to the Roman age (Manium Arula - little altar of the Mani Gods). The current village dates back to the 12th century. It is surrounded by vines and situated along a stream. The historical buildings are concentrated in a pretty square. From the station, a long tunnel leads into the main street, the Via di Mezzo. The wine of Manarola is very famous and the 'Via dell'Amore' (an easy to walk, paved path, a distance of 1.25 miles, connecting Manarola to Riomaggiore) starts here. During the Christmas period, a giant nativity scene can be admired here. The houses are in part grouped on a rocky outcrop and in part aligned along the valley of the Rio di Grippo stream.
The Church of St. Lawrence and Oratory, Ruins of fortifications, Groppo,start of Via dell'Amore, and the biggest Presepe (Nativity) in theworld.
With its original core founded by the Greeks in the 7th century, the village of Riomaggiore rises between two craggy hills that slope into the sea. It is located at the bottom of a narrow valley. Above the houses, the hills are terraced. Some of them are still used to cultivate grapes and olives. It is divided into two parts. North and South are linked by an underpass where a long tunnel leads to the railway station.
Riomaggiore is the first of the five villages, coming from La Spezia. The Via dell'Amore (well known part of the Blue Path), a very beautiful romantic footpath begins in Riomaggiore and finishes in Manarola. You'll walk among nature hearing the sound of waves breaking on rocks.
The Chiesa dell'Assunta; the Chiesa San Giovanni Battista; the Castle of Riomaggiore.
Monterosso is the most northern village of the Cinque Terre and the only one with a sandy beach. The town is split in two by a rock, with a castle on top of it. A lot of small shops and restaurants in the narrow alleys provide a pleasant atmosphere. The village is divided into two parts from San Cristoforo hill and the old part of the village. Monterosso has the best beaches of the Cinque Terre villages as well as the most wine shops, artisan shops, hotels and restaurants.
Church of S. Giovanni Battista, Oratories, Capuchin Monastery, Castle, walls and towers, The Giant or Neptune.
Corniglia is the village in the middle, the smallest and highest in the Cinque Terre. A vicinity of the town of Vernazza, probably of Roman origins (the toponym may refer to the Gens Cornelia). Corniglia lies high on a cliff above the coast. It is the only one of the 5 villages that does not have a harbor. This village stands sharply out from the others in Cinque Terre. It is situated on a three hundred foot high promontory sheer above the sea, and it is surrounded on the three internal sides by terraced vineyards. The old center has only one street, that leads up to the end of the cliff, overlooking the Cinque Terre coast.
To reach Corniglia from the train station you must take 382 stairs. There is also a bus which costs 1.50 Euro (included in Cinque Terre CARD), which bring you to the center of Corniglia (scheduled to time with the train arrivals). You can then return on foot.
Church of St. Peter, Oratory of the Flagellants of St. Catherine, Remains of the Genovese fortifications, big beach called 'Spiaggione' and one other little nudist beach called 'Guvano'.
La Spezia is your home base with our packages for your visit to Cinque Terre. You will arrive here by train or car (of your choosing). This is where you can park your car, sleep, get tourist information at the railway station, take the train to Cinque Terre (Cinque Terre card is valid from Levanto to La Spezia), or take the motor ship.