The feeling I’m having these days is that the more items I tick off on my places-to-visit bucket-list, the more items I add to the places-I-need-to-visit-again one. The sort of vicious circle you really want to be in.
For this trip I decided to be based in La Spezia for a number of reasons. I knew it was very easy to reach by car or train, it would provide me with a greater selection of accommodation and restaurants, and it was only a 2 minute train ride to Riomaggiore, the closest of the 5 Cinque Terre villages. All in all I was very pleased with the choice I made, I only wish I’d had more time to visit La Spezia and its surroundings. I guess I need to go back anyway …
A couple of words beforehand …
For some reason, and I could be totally wrong about this, I am under the impression that Cinque Terre ( which incidentally translates into Five Lands ) is particularly famous and dear with foreigners. The last ten years has seen a spike in tourism after Cinque Terre was Unesco World Heritage Site. The fact remains that it’s utterly breathtaking and should be visited during the off-peak season. IMHO.
Only a couple of minutes from La Spezia Central Train Station ( by train ), it is the southernmost of the five villages that are collectively known as Cinque Terre. One of the most scenic villages, and indeed the most arduous to climb with its very steep staircases along the cliffsides. Needless to say that the view is absolutely stunning which makes it worth every drop of sweat.
Founded in Roman times, this colourful fishermen village is also famous for its outdoor nativity scene, brought to life by some 15000 lights. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s magical, but if you happen to be in the vicinity in December, it may be a good idea to see it just after sunset. While you are at it, don’t forget to hike though the vineyards along the hillside. Prepare yourself for quite the climb but I promise you the view will be breathtaking.
As is the easiest to reach by car, Monterosso, the northernmost of all, is probably the village of the quintet that has retained the least of its original character. Nonetheless, it is well-worth visiting with its beautiful beach and seafront promenade. It is very popular with the younger generations as it enjoys many more entertainment activities when compared to the other 4. The San Francesco Church and the Saviore Sanctuary are a must on your list.
This is a paradise for landscape photographers, and why not, for those in a romantic mood too. The tiny harbor of this small fishing village is not the only charming feature of Vernazza; along with the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch in Romanesque style are the picturesque houses in pastel colours, the beautiful terraced olive groves and the tower of the Doria Castle, to mention a few.
It’s so easy to step back in time when you’re in Vernazza. This little village is a thousand years old, so get every chance to explore it. The Castle with the trail above it offer the best views of Vernazza, as well as the trail that leads to Monterosso.
What happened to Corniglia ?
Sadly, I did not get the chance to visit Corniglia. And that is a good enough reason to go back, wouldn’t you say ?
Hope you enjoy the my pics.