Sunday, July 12, 2009

Italy - Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is in the Italian Riveria and consists of five villages:





Monterosso al Mare:
We stayed in Manarola. Here's the lemon tree garden in the back of the hotel:

And here's the view from Manarola. In the distance you can see a bit of the hiking paths that go from village to village. In the foreground, you can see a small swimming area. I took a quick dip there (never been in the Mediterranean before).

Cinque Terre is a fairly popular tourist desination and the thing to do is hike between villages and enjoy the scenery (if walking isn't your thing, you can also take the train or a ferry). By the way, you need to buy a ticket to access the trails. Our first day there, we walked the Via Dell'Amore to Riomaggiore. This is the easiest path -- 20 minutes, flat, well-paved. Then, we walked back and went the other way, to Corniglia, which probably took an hour.

A little bridge on the path!

One stretch of the path ran through a row of abandoned one-room shacks. What the shacks were for, who would want to live there, I have no idea.

These cool flowers were everywhere. It's hard to tell, but the 'petals' are just like leaves.

When you get to Corniglia, you have to climb some 380 steps to get up to the village at the top of the cliff.

The second day, we took the train to Vernazza.

I thought Vernazza was maybe the nicest of the villages. It has a little beach (there's a (larger) beach at Monterosso too, but it's much more beach resort-y there). And we wandered steep, little streets with stairs, like this,

up to this castle (you could even climb to the top of the very narrow tower),

which had some nice views. I think I took this picture of the ferry from there.

From Vernazza, we took what is supposedly the most difficult trail to Monterosso (then took the ferry all the way back to Manarola where we had the best gelato ever). The trail was probably 2 hours and has a lot of steps at the beginning and the end. Here you can see the trail ahead of me along the mountainside:

And, as I mentioned, stairs:

The trail, while not super tough, was definitely more rustic. At places, it was very narrow and basically consisted of the top of the retaining wall for the mountainside terraces.


Tim said...

yay cinque terre! I was there in 2003, I think for 1.5 days or something absurdly short. Totally beautiful. I remember swimming in the harbor at Vernazza - also my first time in the Mediterranean.

Jackie said...

We were only there for a little less than 2 days, but I think that it's small enough that you can really feel like you've seen it in that amount of time.

Eugene said...

so purdy!