The Beautifully Preserved Cinque Terre, Italy

The Cinque Terre is a gorgeous coastal area in the Italian region of Liguria. The area, which means “five lands” in English, dramatically overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, and is even made more beautiful by the surrounding mountainous landscape. Cinque Terre connects five charming villages that welcome visitors to experience their culture, to taste their local cuisine, and drink wine from their terrace vineyards. Together with a protected marine area, the region is classified as the Cinque Terre National Park, a fitting UNESCO World Heritage Site, which possesses an environment and cultural characteristics worth preserving.

Getting the national park status has helped Cinque Terre protect its cultural heritage and surroundings from the influx of commercialism. Motorbikes and cars are not permitted in the villages. Instead, electric buses populate the street and transport residents. The train, which runs through old tunnels, is the main transport mode that links the villages. If you plan to walk around the villages, it is advisable to do it in the early morning when the temperature is cooler and there are less people. Authorities tend to close walking paths if there are too many people walking around.

Monterosso, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza are the five villages that make up Cinque Terre. These villages are adorned with myriads of dry-stone-walled vineyards and olive grove. Levanto Town is the usual access point to explore these lovely villages. Except for Corniglia, which is nestled on top of a huge cliff; all four villages slope down to sea level. Monterosso is quite different from the other towns as it is divided into two sections. The new section exudes a more beach resort ambience. Here, you can find a big sandy beach complemented by a nice boardwalk. This part is populated by hotels, modern apartments, beach-side restaurants and cafes. The older section of Monterosso is similar to the other four villages, which still have the old-world appeal, highly evident in their traditional pastel colored house and narrow streets.

A visit to Cinque Tierre is not complete without tasting Linguarian food and the region’s homegrown wine. In fact, the dishes that hail from this Italian region are considered some of the tastiest in the country. So while here, do not miss the chance to dine at one of the village restaurants, and try famous herb cuisine like the pesto pasta, focaccia, minestrone, sea bass fillets top with asparagus sauce and stuffed basil leaves. Compliment your sumptuous meal with the region’s fragrant white wine called Sciacchetrà.

After exploring the towns’ interiors, you can also choose to spend a day or two at some of Cinque Terre’s many bays and small beaches. If you possess an adventurous and romantic spirit, then follow the trails that lead to panoramic views of the sea and the slopes. It is customary for the hotels in most villages to close from November to March or April. If you are traveling around this time, you have the option of renting a room in a village residence. You will find that there are many villagers who offer rooms to visitors. In Riomaggiore village, you can also ask an accommodation booking office to assist you in securing a room for the rest of your stay.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!