Corniglia - Terraced Vineyards
Manarola (La Spezia)
Manarola (La Spezia) - View from the Sea
Cinque Terre - Monterosso al Mare
Cinque Terre - Monterosso al Mare - Statue of St. Francis of Assisi
Porto Venere (La Spezia)
Porto Venere (La Spezia) - A View from the Sea
Portovenere - Church of San Pietro
Riomaggiore (La Spezia)
Riomaggiore (La Spezia) - At Sunset
Vernazza (La Spezia)
Vernazza (La Spezia) - Nighttime View
Cinque Terre, Porto Venere and the three Island of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto are inserts on the UNESCO World Heritage List, chosen for being distinguished exemplars of the ways in which man has been able to model and transform the environment here, without, however, altering the beauty of the landscape.
Historic, spectacular, multi-colored borgoes overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, nestled between rocky reliefs and steep cliffs that are a sheer drop away from the coast, terraced hillsides where world-famous vineyards triumph – this is the Cinque Terre, in Liguria: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Seaside villages surrounded by agricultural terrain, they are rich in color, charm and simplicity, and make up part of the protected area of the Cinque Terre National Park.
Monterosso is a famous touristic locality, fascinating for its elegant villas and gorgeous Fegina Beach. Narrow streets – the so-called caruggi – that clamber towards the old center where the Gothic-style Parochial Church of San Giovanni Battista rises, along with the 17th-Century Church of St. Francis, annexed to a Capuchin Monastery. Monterosso is also the site of the “literary park” dedicated to the poet and bard of these lands, Eugenio Montale.
Vernazza is a beautiful borgo that developed around its little port, already well-known and frequented during the Roman Age.
Among its characteristic spots are the little piazza right on the sea and the Gothic, two-story church dedicated to Santa Margherita of Antioch. Dominating Vernazza from above is the Doria Castle, erected to defend against naval attacks. It boasts a lookout tower, considered the twin of a tower constructed on the walking trail leading to Corniglia.
Corniglia lies 100 meters (328 feet) above the sea on the rocky ridge of a promontory; it is connected to the beach by a 365-step stairway. The population in and around Corniglia traditionally occupy themselves with wine cultivation, as witnessed by the typical terraces that are characteristic of the terrain between Genoa and Tuscany. The grand abilities of Italians in cultivation and engineering since the Medieval Age also confirm themselves in this area.
Manarola soars over an enormous pile of black boulders, so that the colored houses seem to spring up right out of the rocks.
Other than for its beauty, Manarola is oft-noted for its excellent oil and sought-after passito wine, “Sciachetrà.”
The last Cinque Terre is Riomaggiore, the heart of the same-named Park. Riomaggiore is a picturesque fishing village, with high, narrow houses typically in pastel tones, and a breathtakingly natural chiaroscuro that is aided in party by the tight and winding caruggi.
The other location making up part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is Porto Venere. An elegant vacation and resort destination, it is a perfect union between nature and architecture, and features a delightful touristic port, similarly to the rest of its Ligurian neighbors. An infinite array of colors decorate its houses, precipitous staircases and tiny alleys. The pretty Church of San Pietro, peeking out over the Promontory near the Bocche sea, was built in the Paleo-Christian epoch, and eventually re-worked in the Gothic style.
From here visitors can take in a fantastic panoramic view.
Also rather particular are the Sanctuary of the White Madonna, previously the Romanesque Parochial Church of San Lorenzo erected in the 12th Century, and later restored and enlarged; and the Doria Castle, a majestic military fort.
Across the sea from Porto Venere sit the three Islands of Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto, all making up part of the Regional Park of Portovenere.
Palmaria is the largest and most-appreciated by tourists, especially to visit the Blue Grotto (or Grotta Azzurra) by boat. The magnificent villages of the Cinque Terre are abundant in historical and cultural prestige, and welcome visitors to their unique scenery with extraordinary vistas of the waterfront and of their singular natural endowments.
Province: La Spezia
Tourism in Liguria
Cinque Terre National Park
Natural Park of Porto Venere
Apt Cinque Terre
Commune of Riomaggiore
How to Get There
To visit the Cinque Terre Park it is advised to take the train, practical and ecological means that connects all the localities. During the summer season the local trains stop in every station in Cinque Terre. The Pisa-Genoa line begins in La Spezia, where all the long-distance trains stop.
The Cinque Terre Treno Card makes unlimited train rides between all the villages possible.
In spring and summer, ferries run daily from La Spezia, Lerici and Porto Venere. Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore are also served throughout the day by internal naviagation lines – the end of the line is always Monterosso.