Cinque Terre Villages
The Cinque Terre, are five small villages on the "Costa Ligure of Levante". The villages from north to south are: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Since 1926, the Cinque Terre towns have been part of the province of La Spezia.
This territory was long isolated and the characteristic Ligurian culture has been conserved. The five villages were only reached by the outside world about one hundred years ago, when the railway line was built.
The chain of mountains that surrounds these villages runs parallel to the "Appennino Mountains" and creates small insenature, steep valleys where the towns are situated. This makes for a unique landscape, different from the rest of the coast. Right in the center of this landscape during the centuries was placed the man Ligure, always in struggle and always in love with its territory. The result of this geography is the typical houses liguri, the narrow bands and the knoll in terrace built on the rocks.
The Cinque Terre is a National Park and territory protected by UNESCO. This zone is characterised by the presence of typical steep slopes cultivated with vines thanks to terraces, unique witness of the transformation of the territory carried out by mans hard work.The suggestive kind of coast falling sheer to the sea, with cliffs which are often vertical, alternated with small creeks and enchanting beaches among rocks, with depths rich in fish, make this territory a real Natural "work of art".
whc.unesco.org/nwhc/pages/doc/mainf3.htm: the UNESCO web site
The climate is mild, the summer is long and warm. Afternoons are mitigated by the sea breeze of mistral, the winter almost always introduces a mild climate and ventilated, among the sea winds there are: from east/south, Scirocco; from west/south Libeccio, violent and almost cold, but of brief duration. The Grecale wind falls violent and cold and takes back more power in the brief valleys. Usuallly the average winter is around 12-14 degrees. The spring is usually moderate and introduce temperature until 25 centigrades. Autumms according the years can be beautiful or enough rainy. See our Weather page for more weather information.
See our page on Levanto for all the information about that town.
Monterosso has the best beaches of the Cinque Terre villages and the most wine shops, artisan shops, hotels and restaurants. The village is divided into two parts from San Cristoforo hill and the old part of the village, protected by a rock spur, still presents the maritime village.
We suggest to visit the church of Capuchin Father, from which one can admire a wonderful panorama of the village and the promontories which enclose the Cinque Terre. The church has a painting of the Cambiaso and a "Crucifixion" attributed to Van Dyck.
Vernazza has a natural pier with a amphitheatre shape making it perhaps the most picturesque village of the Cinque Terre. Vernazza was a Roman installation and had a big strategical importance during the age of the Maritime Republics in Genoa. It was also famous for its carpenters.
We suggest a walk in the village that is dominated by a watch tower and the "Castello" remains. In the small square, overlooking the seaside, there is the church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia.
Placed on a steep promontory, with two exclusive small beaches at its sides, Corniglia can be reached from the railway through a long flight of steps leading to the village (an elevator is being built).
We suggest a visit to the Church of San Pietro (1334), which is considered one of the most significant monuments in the gothic-ligurian style of the Cinque Terre and a view the Belvedere, an enchanting terrace on the seaside.
The village of Manarola is surrounded by vines and is situated along a stream. The wine of Manarola is very famous and the "Via dellí Amore" starts here: an easy to walk, paved path a distance of two kilometres, connecting Manarola to Riomaggiore.
In the upper side of the village, we suggest to visit the church of San Lorenzo (1338) with its beautiful rose window dating back to the 14th century.
Riomaggiore, which is the most eastern and the nearest village to La Spezia (connected by a scenic road), is named after the stream crossing it. Itís interesting to see the seashore and the upper side of San Giovanni Battista, with its two wonderful twin doors made of marble, which are placed in its southern side and which date before the church itself. Above the village, the Sanctuary of "Madonna di Montenero" stands out, built on the homonymous promontory and which is the last of the gulf the Cinque Terre. Tramonti areas, which goes from Portovenere to Riomaggiore, has been made into National Park of Five Lands and into a park for marina life together with the flora and fauna.
The five villages of the Cinque Terre plus the town of Levanto give you many excursion possibilities.
To explore further south to Portovenere, you will need a car. The train does not go there. From Riomaggiore, the southern most Cinque Terre village, the road goes to La Spezia then, following the inner western side of the gulf, ends at the tip of the headland, in the village of Portovenere, another of the treasures in Liguria di Levante. The nearby island of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto are also possible destinations for local excursions.
Quotes about the Cinque Terre
"A little piece of heaven, Cinque Terre", by Mary Paige Timberlake
"The view was like a vision described in novels; a tiny town that hovered on jagged cliffs and sparkling blue water, and by no means did the "visions" stop through out the day..."
"Destination: Cinque Terre", story and photos by Sergio Ortiz
".. just south of Portofino, five towns on the Ligurian Sea maintain the charm and character of Italian villages of the past. Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are the pastel towns that make up Cinque Terre (five lands). They are vintage settlements where life moves in the key of easy -- each town clinging to the rocky coast, defying gravity and, most of all, defying time....."
"Hidden Gems on the Italian Riviera", Los Angeles Times
"Few Americans have heard of these tiny villages, set like jewels into the Ligurian Coast and known as the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is one of those places people tend to read about once and then dream about forever. An isolated part of the northwestern Italian region of Liguria, the Cinque Terre is ruggedly beautiful stretch of coastline inset with five tiny villages perched between the Mediterranean and a range of steep coastal hills. The aura of romance about the place is enhanced by the very names of the five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The doorway is Levanto a beautiful town which is the right place from where is possible to start to visit the Cinque Terre."
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