The Italian Riviera is a magnificent experience and Cinque Terre is the jewel.
Leaving Milan on a fast train we headed to the Western coast line and the Italian Riviera. In all I believe the trip took around 4 hours including our transfer at Genoa. We eventually found ourselves in the Cinque Terre region and I managed to miss a stop so we wound up exiting the train at La Spezia and then catching another one back to Vernazza, our home for the next 4 days.
Vernazza is the only village with a natural port and in centuries long ago served as a naval base for the northern coast. It’s had it’s fair share of boom & bust periods and currently tourism drives the engine. In 2011 torrential rains caused a flood which buried parts of the town in up to 12 feet of mud! The church dates back nearly 1,000 years and there is a true sense of history within the walls. Imagine the prayers that have been said there.
Cinque Terre or “Five Lands” is a world heritage site that stretches from Monterosso al Mare on the northern end down through (in order) Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Connected by hiking trails and a coastal train line that runs through cliffside tunnels each village has a unique charm to offer visitors. Corniglia is the only one we did not visit and I regret not taking a couple of hours to visit. Getting to any of the villages by vehicle is extremely difficult and I can only recall seeing one or two cars (delivery vans) the entire time we were there.
One common theme throughout Italy is the presence of locks. They are everywhere. I can’t think of a single location we visited that I didn’t see locks attached to something. In one space, the lock was too small to go around the metal rod and so it was attached with a zip tie. Who walks around with a zip tie?
One of the most photographed scenes in Cinque Terre is the village of Manarola at sunset and just after. It was on my Bucket List of images I wanted to capture on this trip and I was fortunate the weather cooperated and I was able to create the image below. One of the things I love most about it is that if you zoom all the way in, there’s a little gray speck at one of the tables and it was Chris, patiently waiting on me to finish “taking pretty pictures”.
I really enjoyed exploring the little paths and walkways off the main street. You never knew exactly what you would find around the next corner and residents did their best to decorate their space in quaint manner. Cats were frequently found on doorsteps or wandering the paths and were all friendly and looking for a bit of attention. We enjoyed Cinque Terre and would go back for the beauty but our stay would probably be limited to a day or two based on our experiences elsewhere including the Amalfi Coast, the next stop on our Italian Visit! Click HERE to see more images of Cinque Terre!