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Five Lands (Cinque Terre)
 
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The Cinque Terre (The Five Lands) include the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.
These five villages, with the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and all together are recognized as Unesco World Heritage.
Some of the residents rent one or more rooms of their houses or transform an old house on a farm holiday (agriturismo) and, although the demand is very high at any time of the year, the offer also provides a roof to those who don't have booked, except in August and Easter, the most crowded periods, when you should be more provident and less adventurous, even if you are traveling in motor homes because it's not easy to find a place to camp.
Let's begin to describe these lands from Monterosso.

From Monterosso a fairly arduous path leads to the sanctuary of Soviore, one of the most famous of all the Cinque Terre, with a church, restaurant and accommodation that were small dormitory cells for nuns. Some years ago the church, cells and restaurant have been renovated, but the complex has lost some of its charm. Now the restaurant is cold and impersonal, the food seems industrial, prices are high and the rooms are small and gloomy enclosure cell. But if you are not married with a regular religious rite, the overnight stay is not granted, you can only eat at the restaurant is because you don't have to produce your documents.Fortunately the panorama has remained unchanged, it is always beautiful and worth a ride, sit a few minutes on a bench under the oak trees of the sanctuary and watch the sea from the top.

At Lavaggiorosso there is a great place to eat: By Zita. Lavaggiorosso, is composed by a group of houses perched on the hill in the valley in front of Levanto, where Zita has trasformed his home into a restaurant, with a veranda attached. The atmosphere is familiar and you feel part of it, the cuisine is authentic, with only few cheap dishes but of high quality. Since this is really a small two rooms apartment, it is essential to book in advance to avoid to get up there, thinking up a place to park your car (the lanes of the village barely allow the passage of pedestrians) and remain with your stomach empty. The signpost for Lavaggiorosso is immediately after Levanto, on the road to Bonassola, no address for Zita, she is simply 'Zita a Lavaggiorosso'. No much tourism here, bur foreigners, you know, go to Zita.

Bonassola is a charming village with a great beach lapped by an emerald sea. It's just after Levanto, towards Deiva, and you can reach it by car or train. Once in Bonassola, after a series of tight turns, the road ends; to go somewhere else, you must return to a crossroad where a signpost says: Le Cinque Terre sono 5, ma Bonassola è una sola (The Five Lands are 5, but Bonassola is only one). And actually these words are rather true. From the village, following a staircase that leads to a deconsecrated church, now home to art exhibitions, there is a path that winds up among pine trees and vineyards, and suddenly opens on a platform of a few square meters over the sea without a fence: it is called il salto della lepre (the jump of the hare). It is always windy up there, and you have the impression of watching the coast from the sky. Bonassola is by a half-hour of easy walk, affordable, and also if you have vertigo, do not say no. Children should be kept on hand.

Monterosso is the pearl most frequented by tourism, perhaps because it is the most flat, or because the train arrives in front of the sea and its beaches are the largest. No wonder if suddenly a huge coach materializes, with its guide with microphone and recognition flag. The beaches are extended from the old village, where a small bay in winter is often the place of my readings, to Fegina, the 'new' village. The last beach in Fegina, next to the sailing club, is also dubbed as Il Gigante (The Giant), because of a big sculpture of concrete and iron above the reef, 14 meters tall. The statue, which depicts Neptune, was built in 1910 and is now dented because of the bombing of the II WW and a devastating rough sea that in the sixties ruined it. The water that washes all the Cinque Terre is a transparent emerald and its bottom is full of fish. Punta Mesco, a natural park, offers underwater wonders that are really able to surprise anyone who still does not know the area. During the summer you can choose not to spend your time rubbing sticky sun cream into your skin on the crowded and chaotic beaches, but to go snorkelling in the emerald sea. Another solution to avoid to become demoralized on the water's edge crowded by a mass of half-naked bodies, is the canoe, to go from place to place by the sea, maybe stopping sometimes to try to see some dolphin in the open sea.

You can reach Fegina by the old side of Monterosso through a tunnel and the waterfront recently renovated. Tourists who do not spill on the beach walk watching the sea or sit down to contemplate it from the benches, someone continues to the Capuchin Monastery that overlooks the sea visually embracing all the Cinque Terre. Few tourists climb up to the Cemetery, which can be easily reached in ten minutes through a steep path from the waterfront, or going up a path between the gardens and dry stone walls, leaving the old village in front of the policemen barracks. In the cemetery once stood a castle, completed in the eighteenth century, now it remains only the ruined walls of the longest side. There, in the cemetery, there is an authentic atmosphere, you can watch the scene far from the commercial aspects of the country, you can sit on a low wall to contemplate the nature, the silence, and reflect on the course of time.

From Fegina, who accepts to do some hard work, a path climbs to lead in forty minutes to the ruins of an old abbey, San'Antonio al Mesco, immersed among the Mediterranean parfumes of Punta Mesco, that offers a rather extraordinary scene. The route goes slightly down in the shade of a thick pine forest, that does not hide glimpses of the open sea; you reach Levanto, beautiful small city, winter home for surfers and functional fulcrum with supermarkets, libraries, shops of all kinds, cinema: for those who just can not completely give up the metropolitan lifestyle . . .

From Monterosso Vecchia starts a path to Vernazza (unfortunately now you have to pay a ticket for this and many other paths). This is a fairly long path that winds between orchards, olive trees and lovely homes, often in rebuilding, some used a b&b. A beautiful experience is to stay, but mostly to spend the night, in the B&Bs located on the paths between the olive trees and the broom on the slopes. The night, the silence is at least as thick as darkness, broken only by the sounds of small animals, noises that we are no longer used to distinguish, who remember our childhood, synesthesias. . .

Vernazza is on the hill, it has a couple of square meters of beach, some rocks and a small harbor. Particular is its architectural structure, full of arcades and loggias vertically developed, with houses built next one to another, and dominated by the cylindrical Belforte tower. It's a place that I like to go in winter when the sea is rough, because the waves rose vibrant and fall in the middle of the esplanade that is at the same level of the sea, where people usually walk or sit to watch the horizon.

Mandatory is a trip to Madonna di Reggio, through the ancient trail used by the fishermen of Vernazza as a links with the hinterland, a mule track that became Via Crucis with its colourful chapels that are still preserved. After the initial steep climb you will arrive quickly at high altitude (300 m) between well maintained grapevine terraces. The route is not too used and in an hour you come to the shrine, which dates back to the eleventh century, surrounded by a large square where you mast sit own to enjoy the shade of the age-old oak tree and to watch the scene. You can see the boats on the sea, which come and go down there like an apparition in a painting. The silence in this place is so intense that you clearly perceive your breath, the breath of the wind, the sound of an insect. Usually you are alone here, but everyone that you meet here, will move on tiptoe . . . and for not breaking the spell, will greet you with a smile.

The route linking Corniglia and Vernazza is not too short, but also not particularly challenging. Corniglia can be reached by car, but it is difficult to find a parking place unless it is November. . . The train does not arrive in the village, but next to Spiaggione, a beach made of large white rocks, a little uncomfortable, but at least in the summer season does not become a ground for deckchairs, umbrellas and cabins. . . From the station, to lead the country, you should go up a staircase of 377 steps because Corniglia stands on a promontory at least a hundred feet high, and this is his charm. Along the road that runs across the coast, after a turning point you unexpectedly will see Corniglia; for me it's not a new scene, but I remain always dazzling as if it were still a surprise. The Church of St. Peter in Corniglia is worth a visit, it is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings of the Cinque Terre. The Square in Corniglia is a place where you always stop to eat or drink something, there are small tables, a couple of bars and several cats. But what makes this village perhaps my favourite is the simultaneous presence of tourists and locals, lovely old men who have not resigned to give their land to foreign backpackers.

On Sunday morning the old men are in the square with a glass of white wine in one hand and the walking stick and the other, you can sit beside them to talk about the weather. An alternative to the seaside Spiaggione is Guvano, the naturist beach, where nudism is permitted and widely practiced. Difficult to reach by land from Corniglia, you have to walk up to a dark tunnel, cold, dirty and pay (euro 5!), or follow the path that leads to Vernazza to a well-marked junction, there you go down to the sea between dense and scented broom. The bay worth at least one visit, even for the most modest. Of course it is not required to get undressed until the last layer of skin . . . Another target not to be missed near Corniglia is San Bernardino, there is a bench where you can enjoy a unique place in the front row, ahead of a show whose sacredness enters strongly in competition with that of the sanctuary that gives his name to the village: to lie down on the bench and to space with your eyes on the horizon, really makes you in contact with the Absolute.

From Corniglia you reach Manarola through a path always near the coast, quite short and easy, no more than an hour, ending at the heart of the country. Also for children it is not considered demanding. A short frescoed tunnel, always crowded with people that comes and goes, leads from the station to the village center, perched on a spur of rock that emerges from the sea and that faces with its houses on a small charming port. The main street, under which flows the river Groppo, is colored by the boats parked along its course with enviable skill. From the harbour, you can proceed uphill, toward the cemetery, or take a walk near the sea engraved from the rocks, with small walls and benches where you can stop to rest or to watch the passer-by, tourists of all genders, ages and tastes. Later, a few steps leads to a couple of green terraces, where you can have your pic nic and then have a nap, in all seasons. Or simply watch the sea from above. Above the terraces, there are public toilets and a playground area for children. In Manarola there is no beach, but in summer, nothing stops you from plunging from a cliff and enjoy the clear water. In Winter they assemble a big luminous Nativity Scene that covers a hill overlooking Manarola. It was designed and built by a resident using waste materials, and it is composed of dozens of figures placed on the terraced vineyards, offering a very special exhibition, especially in the night.

In the hinterland, less than one kilometre from Manarola, about 300 meters above sea level, stands proudly the little jewel of Volastra, destination a little outside the circuits of the tourist coaches equipped with television and a guide who speaks to the microphone. This is a country of about 200 inhabitants, circular structure, whose oldest part is not visible from the sea. Volastra can be reached by foot in about an hour from Manarola, through an ancient mule track that passes through vines and olive trees cultivation. Or you can take advantage of a transport service that from the bus station of Manarola leads in ten minutes at the entrance of this village, where an age-old olive tree welcomes you.

Near Volastra, at Groppo, there is the Cooperativa Agricola of the Cinque Terre, where you can taste and buy the wines of the area, including the famous 'Sciachetrà', made with past grapes. Recently, the Cinque Terre National Park has renovated and reopened an old mill for the pressing of olives.

The last land of the Cinque Terre is Riomaggiore. The path to arrive here from Manarola is the most popular, easy and short: la Via dell'Amore (the Way of Love). During the past ten years it has been paved, it can be practically covered with the utmost ease also pushing prams and strollers full of children. An alternative walk is the short climb to the Colle di Cerricò, where the ruins of the castle, or the beautiful trail that starts from the small beach in the country, and cuts vertically the cliffs overlooking the sea to reach the Torre Guardiola that stands on the tip of Montenero, stretched out into the sea south of Riomaggiore and characterized by an interesting botanical garden.

The most difficult path is the one that leads from Riomaggiore to the Sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero: before you havo to climb along the valley of the Rio Maior, and then along the coast and the ancient terraces you arrive exhausted at the panoramic terrace of the shrine. From the coast road of the Cinque Terre you reach the shrine in just 20 minutes, but by calling the Comune of Riomaggiore, you can organize an ascent with the curious rail trains used by the farmers in the area to move along slopes and stone walls.

Some routes may also be run across by bike, at the stations of Riomaggiore and Manarola there are rental services. Riomaggiore is perhaps the land, among the five, who has retained most of its original reserved character. Above the country runs a quiet street, where a bar offers a few tables for people who want to stop, even in warmer winter days, to discover that life here runs a less frenetic pace. . .

Although mathematics is not an opinion, the number 5 of the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) has emerged to be uncertain. . . Someone say that the Lands are not 5 but 7: the other two would be Tramonti di Biassa and Tramonti di Campiglia, last inhabited places in the far east of Liguria, after, continuing to Portovenere, only the harsh rocks of Albana (The Reds) and Muzzerone (The Black) stands upright on the sea, designing small and inaccessible beaches by the crystal sea.

Whether the lands are five or seven in my opinion doesn't matter, but Campiglia worth a visit. Border point between the Cinque Terre National Park and Portovenere Regional Park, is the center of a network of narrow paths and mule tracks. It can easily be reached by car and there is a bus service from La Spezia. By walking you arrive through the trail number 1, whether you come from Portovenere, or from the opposite direction, Monte Telegrafo, then Biassa. In front of the church, the path number 1 intersects with many other less known and popular paths, where widespread in the wild are the saffron plants, typical of the whole Tramonti territory. The paths near the sea are used by farmers to achieve the cultivation of vineyards and olive trees and are essential for the terrace restoration programs.

The village of Campiglia is 400 meters above sea level and its location offers without discounts a splendid view of two seas: the Gulf of La Spezia and the open Cinque Terre sea. When the air is clear you can see the Corsica, Capraia, the Gorgona, the island of Elba and the French coast. Hospitality in the country is offered by an old hotel, a couple of good restaurants and some inns, where you can make great snacks, even outdoors.

I like very much the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) because there are no parades in the evening in the center of the country or on the promenade, but you wear the boots and walk, there is fatigue and laziness to win, you contemplates the nature outside and into the sea. You forget the appearing culture, hidden by vines, sea, olive groves and sweat. . .

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PATHS
The path from Riomaggiore to Monterosso is the most famous and spectacular, it is 15 kilometres long and can be covered in about 5 hours. Traced over the centuries by those who used it to move from village to village, in some places is a real mule track. Here are listed the five segments of the path and by clicking them you can see the details on the map:
- Trek Monterosso-Vernazza (2 hours),
- Trek Vernazza-Corniglia (2 hours),
- Trek Corniglia-Manarola (u1 hour),
- Trek Manarola-Riomaggiore (1 hour).

Between Riomaggiore and Portovenere there are about fifteen kilometres, and you accumulate heights for 900 meters uphill and a little less downhill. You can do two trek:
- Trek Riomaggiore-Campiglia,
- Trek Campiglia-Portovenere (2 hours).

The path Vernazza-Drignana-Soviore is 7 kilometres long, easy, with a total of 250 meters to climb and 625 meters to descend. Here are the two treks:
- Trek from Vernazza to Madonna di Reggio (45 minutes);
- Trek from Madonna di Reggio to Madonna Soviore.

The trek Levanto-Montrerosso is 9.5 kilometres long with just over 500 meters in height difference between climbs and descents.

The Palmaria Island path can be covered in half a day going about 9.5 kilometers. There are several climbs and descents which together can easily add more than a thousand meters.

Further north we have a nice 5 kilometres walk that can be covered in about two hours following the ancient link Bonassola-Framura. The slopes are about 500 meters uphill and downhill. The route starts from the station of Bonassola and ends on the station of Framura.

Bell'Italia:
Cinque Terre, anzi sette. E dintorni
Da Camogli a Portofino
Five Lands (Cinque Terre)
From Camogli to Portofino
Gargano, Castel del Monte, Bari e la penisola salentina
Parco regionale di Montevecchia e della Valle di Curone
Sardegna: selvaggio blu
Sicilia, arte e mare
Sicilia, i luoghi della Mitologia e della Storia
Valle del Lambro: tragitti, ville, cascine e aree verdi

Tutte le nostre mappe:
InOgniDove, viaggi in città e luoghi del mondo
SempreInMoto, tour e imprese in motocicletta
SempreInBici, in bicicletta fuori porta (Lombardia)


Lavaggiorosso
Small, ancient village of the Cinque Terre, not too contaminated by tourism, shaped in concentric centers on different levels of the hill, where houses are set against one another and divided by 'carruggi' often connected with stone arches and vaults.  [photo: Art Simendinger]

Bonassola: Oratorio di Sant'Erasmo
Oratorio di Sant'Erasmo, placed on rock formations that close the beach to the west. Dates from the early sixteenth century and is dedicated to the patron saint of the sailors art (Arte dei Barcaioli). It looks like a very simple building, preceded by a small yard. The structure has been desecrated [...]  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Bonassola: church of Madonna della Punta
In the western part of the gulf, on a rocky promontory which gives its name, is located the little church of the Madonna della Punta, built by Poggi's Family towards the end of the seventeenth century. The church is accessible by land via a short and delightful walk from the sea and the Mediterranean bush.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Bonassola: the jump of the hare
Overhanging rock on the sea where the only danger is the dizziness. The bunkers, remnants of a not too far away past, provides good platforms to take a sunbathe. The easy track begins at Bonassola and winds up among pine trees and shrubs.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Bonassola: the jump of the hare
The name il salto della lepre (the jump of the hare) comes from a legend that tells of a hare chased by a hunter that chose to jump into the void instead of being humiliated by man.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Bonassola: town centre
Walkway in the center of the small country of Bonassola. You see the steeple of the Santa Caterina church, consecrated in 1668, very sober outside while inside is full of marble, paintings, wooden statues, shrines and other silver objects.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Bonassola: town centre
First part of the pedestrian path of Bonassola. On the left the arcade used for the game of bowls.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Levanto: church of Sant'Andrea
Close to the Cinque Terre, sheltered by a large hillside amphitheater, Levanto is a small town that offers large sandy beaches. The origins are probably pre-romans. The original part of the village has a seventeenth-century plan and a charming medieval town rich of historical signs and monumental. With its numerous well known tourist facilities, Levanto is an excellent base for those who choose to visit the area.  [photo: Claudio Camanini]

Levanto: Bed & Breakfast near the sea
A beautiful experience at the Cinque Terre is staying in bed & breakfast located directly on the trails between the olive trees and broom on the sea. Not all the B&Bs are reported by the guides or the tourist offices; it is better to find them during the walks. Sometimes a farmer in a good mood can offer a good glass of wine to passers-by and can improvise accommodation offering hospitality for the night.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Shrine of Soviore
At 466 meters above the Monterosso sea (Cinque Terre) is the oldest shrine of Liguria. From more than 1200 years, here is venerated an image of Our Lady, famous for its miracles, and for the diligence and the number of pilgrims who frequent her shrine. It is a single block wooden statue [...]  [photo: George Dorsey]

Shrine of Soviore
From path number 9, that leads to Monterosso, you meet this chapel built just to witness the discovery of the statue of the Virgin Mary. More down to the half-way, is the Eremo (Hermitage) della Maddalena, stone structure belonging to a small private village.  [photo: Alessandro Mastino]

Monterosso view from Punta Mesco
A mandatory stop off at 314 meters above the sea, for a view that embraces all the coast of the Cinque Terre, and, on a clear days, the islands of Corsica and Tuscany. Accessible through the path No. 10 coming from Monterosso and the No. 1 that comes from Colle di Gritta by Levanto; it is located near the intersection between the two. Also the remains of the church of S. Antonio al Mesco are part of this magical place overlooking the sea.  [photo: Laura]

Monterosso
Monterosso al mare is the westernmost of the Cinque Terre, which stretches horizontally along the coast in an area less harsh than the other villages and therefore easier to access. The large coastline has facilitated, over the past years, a prolific building activity that has changed and partly mortified the characteristics of the ancient fishermen and farmers village. The current village is basically divided into two groups of which the oldest (Monterosso Vecchia at the [...]  [photo: Jennifer and Mike McDougall]

Monterosso
Monterosso is in the midst of a natural small bay, protected by a small artificial reef. West of the country is the village of Fegina, natural tourist expansion of the small original seaside village. Fegina is reached through a short tunnel; at Fegina there is the railway station, and the beaches that are somewhat more extensive than the narrow cliffs of the other villages of the Cinque Terre.  [photo: Claudio Camanini]

Monterosso: The Giant
The Giant of Monterosso is a sculpture of 1910 of cement and iron which is found at the bottom of the Fegina beach. Desired by two inhabitants of Monterosso returning from Argentina where they had luck. Neptune is 14 meters high and weighing 1700 tons. It was part of a splendid villa bombed during [...]  [photo: Jennifer and Mike McDougall]

Monterosso, Aurora Tower
Built around the year 1000, the Aurora Tower was annexed to the properties of the Republic of Genoa in the second half of the '200 and was fortified in order to resist the incursions of the barbarians and Pisani. Built in the past to defend the country from pirate attacks, it is located on the hill of the Capuchins. Today it is a private house and separates the old town from the modern.

Monterosso, harbour and Aurora Tower
Of the original set of fortifications built on the rocky outcrop that is located between the sea of Monterosso and Fegina, survived today the curtain with the Ghibelline battlements, and the Saracen tower, known as the Aurora Tower.

Monterosso: cemetery
In the cemetery area stood a castle, completed in the eighteenth century; now there are only the ruined walls of the longest side. At the cemetery you arrive through a steep path from the waterfront or from a path between gardens and dry stone walls, leaving the old country before the policemen barracks. The castle dates back to when Monterosso was a fief of Obertenghi. To date, you may still note some sections of the wall and of two towers.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Monterosso: cemetery
Asphalt road leading to the cemetery from Monterosso. There is, among the dense vegetation, part of the castle, whose walls protect the silence and peace of the place.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Monterosso: cemetery
Monterosso Nuova from the cemetery: you see the rail, a parking and the bay of Fegina near Punta Mesco.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Madonna di Reggio
From the esplanade in front of the church of the Madonna di Reggio, under the shade of a secular oak, you can see, in the quiet of the place, a scene of enchantment.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Vernazza
Founded around the year thousand, Vernazza is the country of the Cinque Terre that most of the other retained the appearance of a sea village, with its comfortable and secure natural harbor, which soars above the cylindrical Belforte tower, and a seafaring tradition known since ancient times. The country, in addition to the typical terraced houses grown one lean the other for defensive scope, in the upper town has arcades, porches, narrow and steep streets, connected by [...]

Vernazza
The village, like the other villages of the Cinque Terre, testifies greatly the hard working of the farmers that shaped the steep slopes to build the many terraces, where today grows lush olive groves and vineyards, as well as rich fragrant vegetable gardens. In 1997, Vernazza, and the other four villages of the Cinque Terre were declared by UNESCO 'World Heritage'.  [photo: Franca Zamponi]

Vernazza - Santa Margherita di Antiochia
The church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia 'Saint Margaret of Antioch' was buit in 1318 in Ligurian Gothic style. Expanded between 1500 and 1600. It stands on a cliff overlooking the sea protected by a row of rocks. According to an old legend, along the coast it was found a box of finger bones of [...]  [photo: Jennifer and Mike McDougall]

San Bernardino
The small and peaceful village enjoys a privileged position and a beautiful sea view, very panoramic. It houses the shrine of Nostra Signora delle Grazie 'Our Lady of Grace', the result of a restructuring, which occurred in 1800, of an existing chapel. The venerated image depicts the Madonna col Bambino 'Madonna and Child', but what you can see today is not the original representation. The old canvas portrayed Our Lady between St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Bernardino of [...]  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Corniglia, view from San Bernardino
From the Shrine of Nostra Signora delle Grazie - whose feast is celebrated on 8 September - you can enjoy a magnificent view of Corniglia.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

San Bernardino: cableway
Small plaza in front of the church of Nostra Signora delle Grazie, which has a magnificent view of Corniglia and a vast stretch of coastline. From here starts a small cableway used by the vine growers.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Guvano
Corniglia, one of the Cinque Terre that doesn't have direct access to the sea, perhaps houses paradoxically the most beautiful beach, famous for nudists in the seventies and the hippies. The beach, made of sand and stones, is protected by a rich and fragrant vegetation of brooms and washed by the waters of inviting transparency.  [photo: Laura]

Guvano, pedestrian tunnel
Guvano beach - located in an enchanting bay between Corniglia and Vernazza - can be reached by land in two ways. Or descending to a well-marked crossroads on the path that comes from Corniglia, continuing for one hour between rich scented broom, or, by a less painful but less impressive alternative, going for 15 minutes through the old and disused railway tunnel Genoa-La Spezia. (Update: the tunnel is now free but it is no longer illuminated. Better to bring a flashlight.)  [photo: Marvin Tam]

Corniglia
Corniglia is the middle-way village, the smallest and the highest of the Cinque Terre and the only one who does not have direct access to the sea. It is located on a rocky promontory 100 meters high above the blue, which spurs from the mountain range that spreads almost parallel to the coast. More [...]  [photo: Anita Skibenes]

Corniglia
The piazzetta 'small plaza' of Corniglia is a place where you always stop to eat or drink something, and in summer there are tables, a couple of small bars and several cats. From the square you can admire the church of Santa Caterina and the war memorial, located right in the middle. [...]  [photo: Marvin Tam]

Corniglia: church of St. Peter
The church of St. Peter, located behind the village, was built from 1334 to 1351. Its sober facade, built in local sandstone, is the most interesting part of the building, because over the centuries has maintained the appearance of the fourteenth century, adorned by the beautiful rose window above the portal. The cornice has a 'saw-tooth' shape, supported by arches, sometimes ending with small heads of animals.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Corniglia: church of St. Peter
The rose window, sculptured in 1351, in white Carrara marble, was made with exceptional skill and designed with elegant shapes, with different designs. In the central hole is depicted a deer, symbol of Corniglia.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Spiaggione of Corniglia
The name spiaggione (big beach) comes from the extension of the beach and even because it is made up of large white stones. The beach is alongside the railway station and can be reached by a ladder that cuts the long row of bungalows leaning the rock wall in front of the sea. Above this beach runs a part of the coastal path that leads to Manarola.  [photo: Raffaele Morgan]

Volastra
The village of Volastra is placed on a hill about 330 m. to the sea level. In straight line it is at less than 1 km from Manarola. The original circular shape suggests a probable Etruscan origin, the oldest part is not visible from the sea.  [photo: Claudio Camanini]

Volastra: Madonna della Salute
The church-sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady Madonna della Salute, celebrated August 5 - is located just outside the village. Built around the twelfth century, probably on a pre-existing structure, was recently restored with the important help of local volunteer. There is a large open space in front of the shrine. The church is met before to advance to the circular shape village of Volastra. The church was built around the twelfth century with sandstone blocks of incredible [...]  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Volastra: Madonna della Salute
Inside view of the church and shrine dedicated to Nostra Signora della Salute. The church, built around the twelfth century with sandstone blocks of incredible size and characterized by a mullioned window in white Carrara marble, it was recently restored with the important help of local volunteer.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Groppo
Halfway between Manarola and Volastra rises this small country where there is the headquarter of the 'Cooperativa Agricola delle Cinque Terre': Here are conveyed the grapes grown in the vineyards of the Cinque Terre and bottled the white wine Cinque Terre DOC and the famous sweet wine Sciacchetrà.  [photo: Anita Skibenes]

Groppo
Example of a monorail used by growers.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Manarola
The country, completely surrounded by hills cultivated with vineyards, is perched on a spur of rock that emerges from the sea, and faces with its houses on a small and colorful harbor. It is structured around the course of the stream Groppo, now covered. In the upper side of the country there is the 'piazza' that concentrates the religious buildings, including the parish church of San Lorenzo (1338) in Gothic style, the oratory and the bell tower.  [photo: Claudio Camanini]

Manarola
The village of Manarola has very ancient origins and was founded by the inhabitants of Volastra, like other countries of the Cinque Terre, but here there are defensive tower-houses. Curious is the white concrete pyramid that rises between the houses, Trigonometric signal for sailors. Suggestive the promenade excavated in the rock that connects to the path to Corniglia.  [photo: Marvin Tam]

Manarola
Christmas at Cinque Terre: the boater who comes from the sea from December 8 to January 28 can enjoy a unique spectacle. A huge Nativity Scene composed of 240 statues, natural size, illuminated by more than 15,000 multicoloured light bulbs, and that extends on the hill of the Three Crosses of Manarola. The idea of this artwork was by Mario Andreoli that with recycled materials built the characters typical of the Nativity Scene, then the illumination with bulbs connected one [...]  [photo: Laura]

Manarola: terraces
At Cinque Terre there are miles of terraces on steep hillsides planted with vineyards, and behind a curve suddenly appears the villages perched on the spurs of rock; this is Manarola seen from the trail 6D.  [photo: Claudio Camanini]

Manarola: terraces
Winter version of terracing behind Manarola.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Riomaggiore
The easternmost of the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, is gathered around the narrow valley of the Rio Maior. The village was founded around the eighth century when a group of Greek refugees settled there to escape persecution of Leo III, the iconoclast.

Riomaggiore
The eastern suburb of the Cinque Terre is located in the narrow valley of the Rivus Maior, now covered, and structured by steps. According to the tradition the country dates back to the VIII century and was founded by a group of Greek refugees fleeing from persecution of Leo III. The houses, painted with typical Ligurian colors, follow the pattern of the tower-houses, developed in height on three or four storeys, linked to each other in parallel rows. Access to homes is [...]  [photo: Gianmarco]

Via dell'Amore (Riomaggiore)
In Riomaggiore begins la Via dell'Amore (the Way of Love), which leads to Manarola, through a short and easy pedestrian street with its splendid landscapes, close to the sound of waves breaking on the rocks and the salty air.  [photo: Claudio Camanini]

Riomaggiore: view from the hill
Very panoramic view over Riomaggiore and the coast to Punta Mesco. On the road there is a small bar with a terrace overhanging the scene. [By the way of sanctuaries towards La Spezia (SP-370) continuing beyond Groppo, after a short tunnel you reach the junction leading to Riomaggiore; choosing the other way, continue for a short distance, here on the edge road, the small bar].  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Riomaggiore: view from Torre Guardiola
The village of Riomaggiore seen from Torre Guardiola. In evidence la Via dell'Amore (the path of love) following the coast until the next village of Manarola.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Riomaggiore: view from Torre Guardiola
To the horizon the Palmaria island seen from Torre Guardiola.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Riomaggiore: Torre Guardiola
The promontory overlooking Cape Montenero, known as Torre Guardiola, formerly a Royal Navy fortification known as 'Batteria Racchia', has been object of an arduous process of recovery. The area, commonly known by the inhabitants of Riomaggiore as Batteria (the battery), had already been made available by the Park as a botanical garden and sighting area for Bird-Watching. The bunkers, transformed into modern facilities and study rooms, now welcome visitors and students. You [...]  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Biassa
Pleasant village above Spezia, which can be easily reached along the coast road leading to the Cinque Terre. The village of Biassa is behind the construction of the Coderoni castle ruins erected around 1000-1300 AD Among the maze of his carruggi rises the church of S. Martino with a [...]  [photo: Meaghan Massoth]

Biassa
Christmas in Cinque Terre: an evocative winter image of Biassa.  [photo: Gianmarco]

Monesteroli
The stone staircase leading to the little village of Capo Monesteroli.  [photo: Sante Boschian Pest]

Monesteroli
The beach and the summit of Capo Monesteroli with the rock of Montanaio.  [photo: Sante Boschian Pest]

Fossola
Fossola staircase leading to the sea at Punta Merlino. From Fossola starts the trail 4b, restored and reopened in October 2007, it arrives at Monesteroli (crossing path 4d) and continues to Campiglia through the St. Antonio pass.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Campiglia: menhir of Tramonti
Discovered in 1922 by Ubaldo Mazzini, an historian of La Spezia, the menhir of Tramonti is 2.50m. tall, a rock that probably in Roman age already had some astronomical function. On June 21, summer solstice, the menhir shadow is exactly projected in the middle of Posa Grande, a dry wall of stone [...]

Palmaria (Portovenere)
Palmaria Island, seen from the Genoese fort in Portovenere.

Church of San Pietro (Portovenere)
The Genoese fortress and the church of San Pietro, built between 1256 and 1277 on the occasion of the victory over the Pisani over the ruins of an ancient pagan temple dedicated to Venus.

Portovenere
The beautiful village of Portovenere gets its name from Venus Ericina that in Roman times had a temple dedicated to her on the promontory of St. Peter.  [photo: Lotta Holmström]

Isola del Tino
As illustrated in the picture, Tino Island is characterized in on one side by high cliffs, which does not allow access. On the other side there is a small port that is the only access point. At the top there is a lighthouse and in the north there is an ancient monastery. In the north-west are the remains of a battery of War II. The island is military territory and can be visited only September 13 for San Venerio, who lived here for a long time, and the following Sunday.  [photo: Raffaele Morgan]

Corniglia station
The staircase that descends from the village to the railway station and to the great beach. [...]  [photo: Marvin Tam]

Manarola station  [photo: Meaghan Massoth]

Trek Corniglia-Manarola  [photo: Franca Zamponi]

Trek Vernazza - Madonna di Reggio
On the trail between Vernazza and Madonna di Reggio you meet the colorful chapels of the Via Crucis leading to the church of San Bernardo.  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Trek Madonna di Reggio - Madonna Soviore  [photo: Manuela Cancian]

Strada dei Santuari  [photo: Manuela Cancian]
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All pictures are copyrighted by Animated Web unless otherwise noted (Alessandro Mastino, Anita Skibenes, Art Simendinger, Claudio Camanini, Franca Zamponi, George Dorsey, Gianmarco, Jennifer and Mike McDougall, Laura, Lotta Holmström, Manuela Cancian, Marvin Tam, Meaghan Massoth, Raffaele Morgan, Sante Boschian Pest)