Cinque Terre in a day.
By Stella Ward.
Cinque Terre means Five Lands in English. It's a collection of five vibrant villages on the cliff side coastline of the Italian Riviera. Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
Each town is quite different, having its own specialty dish and heritage, proud of it's individuality. However these pretty towns still share the colourful traditions of the Ligurian lifestyle, with houses cascading in all directions. The Cinque Terre holds the magic of simplicity and beauty within the Italian Riviera.
Visitors do not flock to this World Heritage site for the luxury shopping or the bustling night life but rather to appreciate the connection between man and nature and to enjoy the simple pleasures of the Italian lifestyle.
Cinque Terre is easily accessible by either train, ferry or foot. The famous walking track Sentiero Azzurro is 12 km long and mostly flat. There are so many stunning photo opportunities that it's hard to keep a gallant pace and not constantly stop and take in the breath taking views. Larger towns nearby such as Rapallo and Portofino are a mere €10 train ticket away and a one hour’s journey away from Monterosso. So it makes it a very easy day trip and a definite must on your itinerary. If you would like to visit all five towns then you can easily catch a ferry from town to town. Easy to do even on a hot summer's day.
Take the opportunity to wander along the cobbled stone streets, as you may find a boutique that has a one of a kind piece. A little memento to bring back home. You may also discover a family run gelato store, where the gelato is like no other, the first lick of the lemon flavour and you will taste what has taken many generations to perfect. The geletaria will also sell house-made cannoli that you would sell your right arm for, it tastes that good. What is most surprising with the many tourists that flock to these charming villages, is that they still manage to retain their charm. There are still no cars in any of the towns of the Cinque Terre. This has made these places feel like history has stood still and time forgot.
So with your gelato in hand, wonder the many alley ways in one of the towns in the Cinque Terre. Gaze up and view the rocky cliff tops, look around and admire the classic architecture, smell the salt of the Mediterranean Sea wearing the scent of Salina. Perfect, as it combines the scents of lemon peel, marine salt and pine needles. This perfume is the ideal combination of sea water and sunny nuances for this Mediterranean holiday.