I visited Cinque Terra on a tour of Italy with friends from the Carolinas. We had planned only one day to visit the five villages.
It was an absolutely glorious, yet overcast, day filled with stops at the beach, shopping and gawking at villagers and tourists. Because of bad weather a few days earlier, there was a landslide in one of the villages so there was no passage by rail and no tourist boats were sailing to another. So we explored three of the “five villages” — Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Monterossa.
Here’s what your tour guide won’t tell you: one day in Cinque Terra isn’t enough. I would have liked more time and we only saw three villages.
After leaving the chartered bus in La Spezia, my friends and I boarded a train for Riomaggiore. Getting to the village on a foggy, cool day was a bit disappointing. We were hoping for sunny skies. However, the beauty of the quaint hillside town more than made up for the clouds and sprinkles of rain.
By the time we reached Corniglia by train the clouds had lifted and the sun came out to give us an excuse to head for the beach. This was the ideal village for lounging at a seaside cafe and watching people, my favorite pastime.
Nothing prepared me for Monterossa. From the multi-colored houses to the dramatic coastal cliffs, this village is one to underline in the memory book. Interestingly, now that I have only photos to remind me, it’s hard to believe these came out of my camera. It is truly real.
See what I mean? It’s pretty spectacular.
I hear the villages we didn’t see–Vernazza and Manarola– may be the most beautiful and interesting of all. For sure, if I can get there again, I’ll do more research on visiting Cinque Terra. Perhaps a hike from one village to another is in my future.