Haven’t heard of the five-village Italian wonder perched on the Ligurian coast? What a pity! But it’s time you did, and the odds are that you’ll be blown away by its bewitched charisma insanely. You’d better book your last-minute holiday there, as this captivating spot is beyond what you used to call a vivid place and it is literally the definition of the most colorful of beaches. Pristine Cinque Terre can be found in the northwestern part of the country, and as the name suggests, it is made up of five fully Italian and of course, picturesque villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, all ofthem nestled among Italian hills and steep grape fields. This is definitely a place worthy of being part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With its marvelous rugged beauty, vivid hued terraces, fierce waves crashing and whirlpooling the surrounding cliffsides, this is not a place to find sandy shores scattered with decaying coconuts, nor is the beach fledged with palm trees. This is rather a haven where savage waves meet the gentle caressing of the breeze, and where an aged robustness blends together with that Italian joyfulness and celebration of the moment. Cinque Terre is the ultimate vacay-spot for anybody having a penchant for adventure: they are to catch a wind of the coastal area while skinny dipping the rampant Ligurian Sea, losing sight of the shore while swimming with a gaggle of sprightly-exotic fish, hiking the windswept trails that lead stragglers through villages, sunbathing in the blistering heat and forgetting yourself amid the seagulls’ raucous clamor or even getting lost on the stoops of rocky, indented coastlines. To put it bluntly, keen adventurers will swoon with delight exploring the paradise-like mainland and the blue-of-all-shades water alike.
For those who aren’t driven with delight by the craziness of savage roads or by adrenaline pulsing through their veins, but would rather keep relaxing, lounging and poking around in rock pools or simply wanting to get away from it all, they will have lots of beauty to behold here. This natural high-art masterpiece can easily become a feather in anybody’s cap, particularly in view of the fact that natural robustness pairs here with traditional cutting-edge architecture and sportive hued-houses on rocky terraces dominate everywhere you look. What is more, it might be needless to add, but the Italian dining with its stunning veritable fandango of flavors will offer your gourmet tastebuds some momentos of absolute indulgence. Basically, only local eateries will come your way – you’ll bump into them in each corner – you’ll see an abundance of closet-sized restaurants and gelaterias, the best are to be found in Manarola and Monterosso. Since Italy is the home of pesto, devouring part and parcel of thefinger-licking meals made with pesto and with great love is really a must – pesto pasta, pesto pizza, pesto on breadsticks – all of them are equally tempting, and nobody regretted taking a few jars home. Along with pesto, of course, you’ll find the freshest pasta, pizza, seafood, and the sweetest gelato, not to mention the good old local wine, harvested from the fields of the valley encompassing the coast. Chitchatting with your go-to travel buddies in one of the villages over a glass of red vine and tucking in your local pizza is undeniably a match, especially while watching the sunset beyond the fascinating sites.
This segmentof the Italian Riviera is indeed a charming gemstone, while being the land where the ‘Dolce Vita’ is devoted to ancient traditions. If you are up for adventure and you prefer to go for a rather active holiday, paying a visit to this dreamland would surely be your cup of tea.
The 5 villages:
Riomaggiore is the first village near La Spezia, a city close to Cinque Terre. Spending a day there should be on the top of your bucket list, since this small village, that is somehow carved into the valley, is famous for its unique fishing boats laying in a bay-like pool in the turquoise water. Closet-sized restaurants offering scrumptious seafood and boutiques laden with keepsakes specific to this place can be found whenever you go. A romantic pedestrian road on the cliffside, called Via dell’ Amore, overlooks the sea and connects Riomaggiore to Manarola, the next village of Cinque Terre. This pathway is worth calling the shots, and it is an awesome way of getting from one village to another on foot as well. The view is simply breathtaking from a bird’s eye view perspective that you can get by strolling down the pathway.
Manarola, the oldest village, is the ultimate favorite of most tourists among the five villages that are almost equally luring. This amicable village seems to be so friendly and warm, it truly represents that Italian light-heartedness. What isreally awe-inspiring about this spot is that people can swim peacefully in the sea as this shore is much safer than the others (they are much wilder). Even a skinny dip at night could be fun here if one endeavors something out-of-the ordinary. Another really enjoyable thing about this place is that tourists are allowed to jump off some lofty hills right into the salty water. Moreover, sipping a glass of rosé with your close-knit pals on the hillside of Manarola should be among your to-do list priorities as well.
Corniglia has quite a pensive atmosphere, it is physically the loftiest of the villages, and since, in order to get there, visitors have to climb an abundance of stairs. What is a fact of life about this picturesque place is that it is really not that safe to swim in its waters, as this shore is rather a wild one, yet wildlife cannot be contested or fought against. From a personal experience, I only recommend catching a glimpse on the shore rather than actually swimming among its whirlpooling and hard-mouthed waves. Be aware of the fact that you can easily spot some jellyfishes, as well as be attacked by them, and your beautiful holiday could turn into a true nightmare in a matter of seconds, not to mention that this injury can turn out to have sepulchral consequences as well, due to the killing venom of the animal. However, the prettiness of the place will haunt you forever, a stroll through its streets will leave you out of sight and out of mind.
Vernazza is famous for its main square, part and parcel of it being a signature Italian one where visitors can find an enormous market offering avariety of local products, that range from from a marvelous array of jewelries to pieces of clothing and various condiments. I highly recommend purchasing some local, handmade hats as the blistering heat and the all-pervading, smoldering rays of the sun can easily play havoc with the tourists if they don’t consider covering their heads. What is more, these local artifacts complete one’s holiday looks in an amazing mediterranean fashion.
Monterosso al Mare
Last but not least, the fifth village is called Monterosso al Mare, a paradise for the sunbathers and swimmers alike. No wonder then, Monterosso is a little bit over-crowded and noisy, but a little hustle and bustle every once in a while means nothing when you can enjoy the panoramic view of all mere beach, without a background.
La Dolce Vita in this magnificent corner of the world means having a whale of a time while sometimes getting lost, just strolling around, tasting a pesto pasta and savoring the best of Italy in a cone – eating gelato is mandatory here. Such a journey can really be carved and petrified in the keen traveler’s heart. So, pack in, don’t be afraid to fall head over heels in love with the magic of Cinque Terre, and spread some Italian joy wherever you go!