Posted: 2009-09-28

The Cinque Terre

We left the Peperita pepper farm on September 14 and headed to The Cinque Terre, located on Italy’s northwest coast between Tuscany and Genoa.  In Italian, “cinque” means “five” and “terre” means “lands,” and there are 5 little villages strung along the coastline that make up The Cinque Terre.  These villages are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.  The whole area is an Italian national park as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the aim of preserving the unique qualities of the place - the villages, the vineyards and wine production, the underwater ecosystems. 

The village of Manarola

Because of the special nature of The Cinque Terre, the villages are concerned with the environment and they make recycling easy

The businesses which are extra-“eco” get to put this sign out their front door - it’s kind of like the Green Business program in the SF Bay Area

We came here two years ago with Chad’s family.  In 2007, Chad and I had originally planned to stay for 4 nights, but we loved it so much that we extended our visit to 6 nights.  When we were planning this year’s sabbatical, we said, “Well, of course we’re going back to The Cinque Terre,” and we decided to stay for 2-1/2 weeks this time.  It is so beautiful and idyllic that we daydream about buying a house here. 

People swimming in the sea

Our typical Cinque Terre lunch - foccachia, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and meat - After 3 days of this I am ready for a salad

The coastline is mountainous with cliffs plunging down into the sea.  The pastel-colored houses of the little villages seem to grow right out of the rock.  The Cinque Terre is known for its white wine and dessert wine, and terraced vineyards march up the steep slopes of the mountains.  It’s also a great place for fresh-from-the-water seafood.  The restaurants each have a token meat item on the menu, but it’s really all about the fish, squid, octopus and mussels.

You can see the vineyard terraces in and around the houses of Manarola

Fishing boats in Riomaggiore

A typical street in Manarola

Stairs leading up to someone’s front door in Manarola

There is great hiking here.  A path along the coast links the five villages.  Parts of this path are an easy stroll and other parts really take some legwork.  It takes about 5 hours to walk the whole thing.  There is a train line that runs through and links the villages as well, so it’s easy to hike from one village to the next and then take the train home so you don’t have to walk back.  There are other paths which go up the mountains, through the vineyards and olive groves, to other villages on the hilltops.  Even if you don’t walk any of the trails, you still get plenty of exercise, because the villages themselves are pedestrian-only.

Chad on the trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola

Chad on the trail between Manarola and Corniglia

A swinging bridge on the coast trail between Manarola and Corniglia

This trail marker for Trail 2 made us laugh because someone added the outline of a maple leaf under the 2 and turned the marker into a Canadian flag

How’s this for a picnic spot?  Not too shabby…

-Julia Abbott


Pinky Khatri

The place looks fabulous. You know if you do buy a place there you will have lots of company!!
Glad to see you are having a great time.


oh this brought back some fantastic memories thank you ! I want to go back

Donnie Wooten

Nice to follow your journeys

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