Exploring the Cinque Terra (“Five Lands”) of Italy

Cinque Terre (“Five Lands” in English) is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the five towns, colorful houses and vineyards cling to steep terraces, harbors are filled with fishing boats, and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s famous sauce – pesto.
We took a private boat trip from our port in La Spezia around the southern end of Cinque Terra, home of Porto Venere. Heading north, we passed Riomaggiore, Manorola, and Corniglia before stopping in Vernazza (with the region’s only protected harbor) and then Monterosso al Mare (the largest of the five villages) where we had the opportunity to hike uphill for some nice vistas, and time to window shop and get refreshments. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and the region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

cinque-1Manarola (left) and Riomaggiore (center right) seem to blend into the massive hillsides of the rocky coast of Cinque Terra, Italy
cinque-2The stonework church on the point of Porto Venere looks like an extension of the land, hugging the far southern tip of the coastline of Cinque Terra, Italy
cinque-3Manorola, Cinque Terra, Italy
cinque-4The beach behind the protected harbor of Vernazza, under the town’s church, Cinque Terra, Italy
cinque-5A ferry boat that goes up and down the coast of Cinque Terra, Italy, pulling into a natural rock “pier” where the passengers literally jump on and off the boat
cinque-6Corniglia, Cinque Terra, Italy
cinque-7Riomaggiore, Cinque Terra, Italy

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