Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cinque Terre


We'd had the Cinque Terre on our "going to get there one day" list for a long time and we weren't going to visit Italy without making the trip to this remote stretch of coastline.  We were not disappointed.  Yes, it has certainly been discovered and during the day it can be very crowded in the five villages that make up the 5Terre.  But after the day trippers leave, the character completely changes and it becomes a quiet, peaceful, and breathtakingly beautiful paradise.   

We chose to base ourselves in Vernazza and our thought, like everyone else who comes here to hike the trails running between the little towns, was that we would trek to each. Unfortunately, some of the trails are currently closed due to  rock slides.  We were able to hike between three of the villages (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia) and we took in the other two (Manarola, Riomaggiore) by train.  While each town is a bit different in character (and we've read that each even has its own dialect) they all have one thing in common - they are dramatically perched upon the edge of rocky cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea and undeniably unforgettable. 

This shot is taken from Vernazza looking southward.  In the distance you can see Corniglia.

Also taken from Vernazza, looking north with a view of Monterosso in the distance.

A view of Vernazza's harbor.

Opposite view from the harbor to the village of Vernazza.

Vernazza's narrow main street is easily crowded during the day, but spend the night
and you have the opportunity to enjoy the town's more laid back nature.

This little jewel's for sale if anyone is interested!

Cafes offer alfresco dining harbor side.

The trail to Monterosso gave us a bird's eye view of Vernazza.  

Our hike to Monterosso began in the early morning sunshine but ended in a rainstorm.

In 2011 the Cinque Terre suffered from severe flooding due to receiving 22" of rain in four hours!
What remains of this house lies between Vernazza and Monterosso, the two towns hardest hit.  

Manarola's dramatic setting.

Without a harbor, Manarola's fishing boats launch off of the rocky shore.

The steep terrain is terraced for farming grapes and olives.

When it's time to harvest, these nets are unrolled and spread out to catch the olives. 

The rock work on the trails and terraces is impressive.

Trail side wild iris in bloom.

The array of wildflowers in bloom along the trail.

Towns and trails are steep and involve lots of stair climbing.

Not into hiking?  Trains run frequently from town to town through the tunnels cut into the rock.

When not in the tunnels, the train tracks hug the cliffs.



A last look at Vernazza.

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