Planning a romantic Italian vacation? The “Cinque Terre” (5 lands or 5 towns) is possibly the most enchanting maritime coast in the world, featuring 5 stunning hamlets along the Liguria coast.
There’s the exotic scent of the Mediterranean forest coming down from the hills and pervading the environment. Pines and Scotch pines over the hills and down towards the sea.
You can walk on romantic tracks halfway up the hill between the last mountains of the Appennines and the salt scent of the sea.
Cork and chestnut trees will show all around you in an awesome land stolen piece by piece from the sea through the hard labor of ligurian people.
Now you can enjoy the magnificent sight of small terraces shadowed by the vines with their large leaves.
Here a fantastic fortified wine is born: the “Sciacchetrà”, the exclusive wine of “Cinque Terre”.
Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
These are the names of the five villages of “Cinque Terre”, probably the most gorgeous stretch of sea of Italy, if not of the entire world…
“Il sentiero dell’amore” (The Way of Love)
The small hamlets runs from the west to the east, nestled between the steep rocks that dive into the Mediterranean sea.
All these small wonders are included in the National Park of Cinque Terre, a protected natural area where people go for excursions: the Blue Path that cross all the Cinque Terre, from Monterosso to Riomaggiore.
If you want to go through the entire pathway you have to walk for 5 hours.
The train is the fastest way to move from one hamlet to the other. In few minutes it crosses the mountains showing you magnificent views of the italian sky.
Another great way to visit this awesome italian seaside is by boat from Portovenere to Cinque Terre.
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Romantic Italian Vacation: Monterosso al Mare – 5 Terre
Monterosso al Mare is the most western village of the Cinque terre. “Punta Mesco” (Mesco Point” separates the eastern part from the western one.
If you arrive here by train (its easier than by car…) you are in the western part where are the bathing facilities and “la Statua del Gigante” (the statue of the giant), built in the 1910 by the sculptor Arrigo Minerbi e the engineer Levancher.
Made of solid concrete and iron it’s the support of the Belvedere (viewpoint) above. As you can see in the picture, this impressive sculpture, 14 meters high and 1700 quintals heavy marks the end of the Fegina beach.
The shell shaped basis was used as a dance floor for the magnificent adjoining Villa Pastine that was damaged during the WWII.
Beyond the small hill named “Colle dei Cappuccini”, to the east, you will enjoy the awesome view of the ancient hamlet of Borgorosso with its pretty beach, the medieval tower and a few multicolored houses: a little paradise on earth…
You will eat, probably, in a small lane where sit one of the many charateristic Italian eateries.
Wonderful and romantic!
Here fish is the king and the best wines can make your dinner exquisite… Just try to drink it right.
Romantic Italian Vacation: Vernazza – 5 Terre
Not far from Monterosso lies Vernazza, probably the most romantic hamlet of Cinque Terre. The small bay with its pastel colored houses is enchanting! Nearby you can visit the ancient Doria castle with an impressive watch tower. Another astounding place to visit, the hamlet of Vernazza is a maze of “arpaie”, steep slate stairways.
Romantic Italian Vacation: Corniglia – 5 Terre
Go down a little further south to get to Corniglia. You will recognize it because it stands on a promontory with terraced vineyards all around. To get to Corniglia you have to climb the long staircase called “Lardarina”, climbing 382 steps.
The alternative is to follow the road that starts from the train station. Through via Freschi you arrive in the “carruggio” (narrow street) of Corniglia, which leads to the center of the village that lies around a nice small square, “Largo Taragio”, a few meters away from the panoramic sea view.
On this square you will find the oratory of Santa Caterina, and, behind it, a steep staircase leads to another little square known as “Il Fosso” (The Ditch).
Next to it there’s the Tower, the last remains of the ancient Genoese fortifications. On its top you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the open sea.
The last two destinations of our trip are Manarola and Riomaggiore. The two villages are joined by the “Via dell’Amore” (the Love Road), a romantic pedestrian street overlooking the sea, known throughout the world for its panoramic views.
Romantic Italian Vacation: Manarola – 5 Terre
Manarola is the second smallest of the five hamlets after Corniglia. A lump of small houses is concentrated on a small promontory, on the stunning background of the green terraced vines.
The patron saint of Manarola is San Lorenzo: every 10 August, on the evening, a procession dedicated to this patron saint crosses the streets of the village.
Romantic Italian Vacation: Riomaggiore – 5 Terre
Wedged between two steep terraced hills that descend steeply to the sea lies Riomaggiore.
In this hamlet, the Genoese tower houses stand out with their stunniung range of colors in the blue of the Marina. The oldest part of the town has been founded in the VIII century.
In the upper part of the historic center you can visit the Castle, built in the thirteenth century for defensive purposes. Its clock tower marks the time of Riomaggiore and of the other villages.