Cinque Terre is a World Heritage Site, nestled along the Northern Mediterranean Coast in Italy. As in its name, it is made up of 5 towns connected by hiking trails spanning 7 miles end to end. Originally no roads connected the towns, only trails, and all other transportation came by boat. Traditionally, these are fishing villages but around 1200, vineyards were planted and the region became known for white wine (Vermentino plus a few other exclusive varietals, and dessert wine). The 5 towns, South to North are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. All towns have a port except Corniglia (where we stay) which is built on top of a rock 900 feet above the sea. With the ports, tour boats come in every 10 minutes and drop off tourists by approx 100 people per boat. This clogs the streets of all of the towns except portless Corniglia which keeps the town relatively peaceful in comparison. Corniglia has about 250 permanent residents.
Here are pics of the five towns, taken from our hiking trails (in fact all pics are taken from the hiking trails):
Riomaggoire and Manarola above. Here is Corn., Vernazza and Monterosso:
Monterosso just above, is the largest town, and has a true beach. Not much to blog about here, mostly pics of beautiful hiking scenery. The main town of Volastra where wine is produced is up on the main road, about 2000 feet above the sea. We hiked up to it, of course, and covered all 5 towns in 2 days. Here is Volastra, looking back along the trail as we headed toward Manarola:
The UNESCO designation came from the terraced hill sides covered with Vineyards (The wines are so so.). It is difficult to see just how steep and cliff like these hills are. A few more shots:
The pic above is of Corniglia as we hiked up toward Volastra.
CT is a magical place, largely over run by tourists from May to October. However, our small town of Corniglia calls out to us and I am sure we will back. Sharing this experience with Brett and Teri made it that much better. We ate pizza on our deck overlooking the sea and put together a pasta dinner that was accompanied by one of three Grand Cru wines from Bordeaux. On to Lucca for a night, just inside of Tuscany. See you soon!