Cinque Terre

Le Cinque Terre is made up of five ancient towns within a 5 kilometer stretch of coast along the Ligurian Sea. These towns retain their original charm and authenticity due, in large part, to the designation of the entire area as a world habitat site by UNESCO. The surrounding lands are a national park and provide a challenge to those who choose to hike the often steep and primitive footpaths between the five towns rather than take the train or ferry between them. ┬áThere are so many elements of visual eye candy, it is hard to figure out how to show them all. As a comparison, it is not as if our three pictures of Siena and our words totally captured its essence, or that our reported experiences in any other city really gave you an accurate impression. It is just that today we visited five very old and established towns in one day. How do we convey an experience of that significance in a few short paragraphs and a few photos? These are very small towns – hamlets really – but they have a lot more character than their size would suggest.
They are each unique and engaging in their own right. When combined, they are fantastic. I am posting what I think are five of my best attempts to capture each town. So, in order from north to south:

Montorosso al Mare – the beach town. Everything revolves around the beach (and the tourists).

Vernazza – the prettiest town with amazing views from the Cinque Terre walking path in the Italian National Park.

Corniglia – so small and vertical that when the train stops in town, part of it remains in each end of the tunnel. This town is not reachable by car.

Manarola – sunbathers on the boat ramp. Actually, everything is on the boat ramp. I don’t know how they fit it all in.

Riomaggiore – diving and boating. There are a couple of dive shops and the premium parking on the “street” is filled with boats, not cars – which are not allowed in town.

I’ve seen lots of places and sites hyping these five towns. I had high expectations, and I am surprised that they have been exceeded. I would encourage anyone who is interested in northern Italy to visit Le Cinque Terre. I noticed that most of the towns have quite a few rooms to let. I never saw one on the inside but I imagine (based on the lobbies) that many of these are not quite two-star level. I would check into it carefully before making a reservation.

Tomorrow (Monday) we leave for Lake Como. We’ll be there Monday afternoon and Tuesday before we leave for home on Wednesday morning. I expect we’ll make one more post from Como before we leave.

After we return, I’ll be adding a number of photo libraries to the photos tab of this blog. In addition, I expect that we’ll add some additional posts, make some clarifications to earlier notes, fix some of the images that were limited by poor internet bandwidth, and after reflection, recap some of our journeys.

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