mardi, août 26, 2008

Cinque Terre


One couldn't live in Italy and not visit the Cinque Terre (Five Lands - a Unesco World Heritage Site) at least once. It is composed of 5 villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) perched on a cliff along the Liguria overlooking the Mediterranean sea. About 2,5 hours from where I live in Modena.

Ideally one should rent a room in one of the 5 villages to better take one's time to explore the region. But in August almost everything would be rented out not to mention be very expensive, so we decided to set out early at 7am and spend a full day there. In any case with the Babies we wouldn't be able to walk the 5 hours normally needed to cover all 5 villages by foot - one way. So we ended up covering 2-3 villages by foot and the rest by train.

I would recommend that one drive to Levanto and park there for free, buy the Cinque Terre Tourist Ticket (less than 9 Euros for adults, around 7 Euros for the over-70s and half price for children above 5) and visit the 5 villages from there. There's a train travelling from Levanto to La Spezia and the 5 villages are situated in between. We'll need a ticket to go onto the paths (part of the National Park) linking the 5 villages anyway. And the tickets provide free access to a few museums and also bike rental under certain conditions.

From Riomaggiore to Manarola


We drove all the way to Monterosso al Mare and parked our car in a covered and secured carpark for 15 Euros (full day). Then we took the train to Riomaggiore (the village furthest away) and walked to Manarola (shortest and easiest path - 20 mins) where we had lunch in this Michelin-recommended restaurant Marina Piccola overlooking the sea. They served really good home-made pasta with seafood and had reasonably priced local Cinque Terre wines. After lunch we walked to Corniglia (1,5 hours). From Corniglia we took the train to Vernazza which we found to be the prettiest of the 5 villages and had excellent ice cream near its Marina in this gelateria called Il Porticcerio or something like that. You may wish to know that there is almost no beach (except at Monterosso al Mare) in the villages and the sea is often very choppy, though it didn't stop people from spreading out towels here and there to sunbathe or jump into the sea for a dip. We finished our day at Monterosso again and had dinner at the restaurant Ciak Lampara which was good if a little too expensive.

Monterosso al Mare

MIL agreed with me that the villages looked better in pictures than in reality. When you are there, you will of course be impressed with the breathtaking scenery and the sheer ruggedness of villages perched on cliffs. Try imagining how life must have been tough and isolated for those living there in the past before they had the train etc. But the buildings are not elaborate or well-maintained and are often just plain concrete covered with a pretty (often peeling) coat of paint. After beautiful old cities like Verona, the Cinque Terre looks cheap.


Still, we really enjoyed our day there and are already hoping to return and cover the paths that we couldn't cover by foot on this trip. Definitely worth at least a visit.

1 commentaire:

Anonyme a dit…

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