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Cinque Terre

Manarola, one of the five coastal villages in the National Park of the Cinque Terre.

The Cinque Terre are five coastal villages in the province of La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy. "Discovered" by foreigners in the late 20th century they have come to be among the most touristed areas of Italy. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all encapsulated in a national park of the same name. The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The five villages are, from west to east (i.e., from Genoa towards La Spezia):

Transportation and tourism

A local train line from La Spezia to Genoa connects all the five villages. The train connecting the five villages runs in what is mainly a tunnel for the full distance between Riomaggiore and Monterosso, emerging from the rock infrequently for quick glimpses of the Mediterranean down the hill. Train service is quick and frequent although it can get busy on the weekends.

There is a passenger ferry service running between the five villages, providing a different vantage point to see the rugged coastline and the shore line at each village. The boat leaves from either La Spezia, Lerici or Portovenere.

There are well-laid out walking trails connecting each village to its neighbors. The path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is called the Via Dell'Amore (roughly, "Lovers Walk"). This winds along the shore, is very picturesque and is very easy to hike. The stretch from Manarola to Corniglia is also easy to hike although the main trail into Corniglia finishes with a climb of 368 stairs. The trail from Corniglia to Vernazza is steep at certain places. The trail from Vernazza to Monterosso is by far the steepest. It winds through olive orchards and vineyards and is rough in some places but offers the best views of the bay and the spectacular approaches to both Monterosso and Vernazza. There are nominal fees to use the more popular walking trails, but the less frequently travelled (and most arduous) are free of charge.

All the villages have small hotels or inns, as do some of the smaller villages near the Cinque Terre. There are many bed and breakfasts throughout the area that offer excellent service and frequently beautiful views of the Mediterranean and the surrounding hills.

Food and wine

Given its location on the Mediterranean, seafood is plentiful in the local cuisine. Anchovies are also a delicious local specialty. The mountainsides of the Cinque Terre are heavily terraced and are used to cultivate grapes and olives. The Cinque Terre forms the southern-most part of the Liguria region, so pesto is a common local dish. Focaccia is a particularly common local bread.

The grapes of the Cinque Terre are used to produce two locally made wines. The eponymous Cinque Terre and the Sciacchetrà are both made using Bosco, Albarola, and Vermentino grapes. Both wines are produced by the Cooperative Agricoltura di Cinque Terre (“Cinque Terre Agricultural Cooperative”), located between Manarola and Volastra.

Other towns near the Cinque Terre

External links

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